July 4, 1953
Telephonogram from Soviet High Commission Officials Miroshnichenko and Lun'kov to High Commisioner V. Semenov
[The following excerpt is from a 4 July 1953 telephonogram from Soviet High Commission officials Miroshnichenko and Lun'kov to High Commissioner V. Semenov.]
"In connection with the events of June 17, the movement of all types of transport and pedestrians across the sector border between East and West Berlin, as well as between the GDR and East Berlin through West Berlin, was halted.
At present in East and West Berlin, the metro, the city railroad and the tramway run separately, which causes dissatisfaction on the part of the GDR and East Berlin population. Up to June 17, 83 thousand workers and white-collar workers, who live on GDR territory adjacent to the western sector of Berlin but work in East Berlin, used the city railway. Now they use a bus, steam train or some other form of transport to get to their place of work, making several stops on the way. Such trips, which previously took 30-40 minutes, now require up to 2 or 3 hours one-way.
Workers and white-collar workers and other strata of the population express serious discontent with these circumstances, and turn to the government of the GDR with the request that it change the existing transport system. In connection with this we consider it expedient to carry out the following measures on the morning of July 6:
1. In the morning and evening hours, to organize electric train traffic from the GDR to East Berlin and back without stops in the western sectors of the city.
2. In order to improve the travel of the populace living in western sectors and working in the eastern sector of Berlin, and vice versa, to open five check-points on the sector boundary in addition to the existing three points.
3. For the residents who live in communities in the GDR located close to the western sectors of Berlin but work in West Berlin, to organize electric train traffic from the GDR to certain stations of West Berlin.
[Our] friends (com. Ulbricht) fully agree with the measures we are proposing and request that they be informed about the decision taken on these proposals today, in order for them to be able to announce the decision on the radio and to calm the population.
In relation to the decision by the SED Politburo to request the High Commissioner of the USSR in Germany to open the sector border, Ulbricht stated that this issue could be examined after the implementation of the aforementioned measures.
We ask for your instructions."
Miroshnichenko and Lun'kov consider it expedient to ease travel for commuters between east and west Berlin by improving public transport.
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].