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June 19, 1953

Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin, 19 June 1953 (2)

[The following excerpt is from a telephonogram sent by V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin on 19 June 1953.]

"We inform you about the situation in Berlin and in the GDR at 11 o'clock in the morning of 19 June.


In Berlin and in the GDR, the overwhelming majority of striking workers returned to normal labor. Only the small remnants of strikes in some comparatively minor points throughout the Republic were left.


So, in the morning, 1200 workers in the "Pelse" factory, Erfurt district, struck. The strike lasted for about one hour. There was a short partial strike at the factory "Lova" (city of Gotha). In Erfurt workers in the "RFT" factory (800 persons) struck during the morning, putting forward the demands - announce the names of those who were shot in Berlin;-we do not want war.


The organizers of the disturbances, seeing the failure of public speeches [vystuplenii] in Berlin and the large cities, are scattering their agents in small cities and villages where our troops are not stationed, trying to incite strikes and disturbances there. In particular, the fact has been established that enemy provocateurs have been sent from Potsdam to small cities, and also that enemy activists have been scattered from enterprises in large cities, where strikes have ended, to factories located in small villages and cities, where the German police is weak and our troops are not present. We are taking counter-measures, above all by mobilizing and sending activists of the SED and organizers from the districts and large centers to these localities.


In the district of Magdeburg strikes have started in the population centers of Stassfurt (about 1500 workers), Wernigerode (1500-2000 persons), [and] Burg (300-400 persons).


In the district of Halle, strikes are continuing in the Mansfeld copper-smelting complex, at the factory "Ifa" (up to 1000 persons), the boiler factory (1500-2000), and strikes have begun at some enterprises and mines in the regions of Sangerhausen, Eisleben.


In Berlin at almost every factory, normal order has been restored. Only at isolated enterprises are cases of partial strikes taking place.


In Berlin and in the Republic no efforts are being made to conduct demonstrations. Everywhere, normal life is quickly being restored.


During the night of June 18 and 19, the Soviet sector of Berlin was fired upon with cardboard shells filled with leaflets. At the border between the American and Soviet sectors, motor vehicles with loud-speakers appeared which called upon Germans not to irritate Russian soldiers and not to allow clashes with them.


Testimony by persons arrested by the organs of the MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs] gives evidence of the very active organizing role of the American military in the disturbances in Berlin. Those who have been arrested testify that American officers personally gathered in large numbers West Berlin residents whom they had selected and gave them instructions to organize disturbances, arson of buildings, and other things, in East Berlin. At the same time the Americans promised to distribute weapons, bottles with flammable liquid for arson, etc., at Potsdamer Platz (the border between the American and English sectors and the Soviet sector of Berlin). As a reward, the American officers promised money, and for people who showed the greatest activism-a three-month holiday at resorts, and so on. American military personnel personally gave instructions from motor vehicles with loud-speakers to the participants in the disorders at the House of the Government of the GDR on the border with the Soviet sector. In the provinces of the GDR there is also evidence of the dispatch there of American agents from West Berlin and West Germany. Further work on this issue is being done. We will inform [you] further of the details.


This morning we received a letter from three commandants of the Western sectors of Berlin addressed to the representative of the SCC57 in Berlin, Dengin, in which they declare their protest against the measures taken by Soviet troops to restore order in the Soviet sector of Berlin, the halting of travel [soobshchenie] between the sectors, and categorically deny the assertion that "a certain Willi Goettling, killed after a spurious trial, was an agent-provocateur working for the intelligence service of a foreign government." The commandants demand "in the interests of the whole of Berlin, the quick removal of the severe limitations that have been placed on the populace and the restoration of free movement inside Berlin."


At 11:30 in the morning, American officers handed us the Deputy Prime-Minister of the GDR, the Chairman of the Central Administration of the Christian-Democratic Union, Otto Nuschke. The representatives of the German authorities in the Central Administration of the CDU were present at the hand-over.


We will inform you about future events."




According to V. Semenev and V. Sokolovskii there were small remnants of strikes in some comparatively minor points throughout the Republic. In the provinces of the GDR there was also evidence of the dispatch of American agents from West Berlin and West Germany.


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AVP RF, f. 82, op. 41, por. 93, p.280, ll. 22-24. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.


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