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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • September 25, 1953

    Draft Instructions to Chuikov and Semyonov

    In March 1953, Moscow had declined Ulbricht’s request for tightening up the sector border in Berlin, then the major loophole in the SED leadership’s efforts to seal off East Germany. In the aftermath of the demonstrations and unrest in Berlin, the SED leadership apparently tried to reintroduce the idea of increased “border security” in Berlin. Eager to salvage whatever was left of its political position as a champion of German unity, Moscow again held such measures as politically “disadvantageous” and “unacceptable.” Certainly, the Kremlin was also aware of the continued widespread resentment among the Berlin and GDR population which made any more restrictive measures a risky undertaking. Instead, the Soviets urged the SED to increase its “fight against hostile elements” in West Berlin—an issue that would become more and more the focus of Soviet attitude on Berlin.

  • January 19, 1954

    Central Intelligence Agency, NIE 12.4-54, Probable Developments in Eastern Germany Through 1955

    Estimating the current situation and probable developments in East Germany through 1955.

  • March 13, 1956

    German Concerns about Free Europe Committee Balloon Leaflet Operations

    West German Ambassador Heinz Krekeler shares his government’s concerns about Free Europe Committee (FEC) balloon operations with Deputy Undersecretary of State Robert Murphy and FEC President Whitney Shepardson.

  • November, 1958

    East German Ministry of State Security, 'New Methods of Operation of Western Secret Services'

    Assessment by the Stasi of changes to operations made by the main Western secret services in response to Khrushchev's November 1958 diplomatic note to the United States, Britain, and France demanding an end to the occupation of West Berlin.

  • December 04, 1958

    Comments on the Preparation of the Steps of the Soviet Government Concerning a Change in the Status of West Berlin

    East German ambassador to Moscow, Johannes Koenig summarized information he gleaned from various Soviet Foreign Ministry officials about the process leading up to Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev’s speech of 10 November 1958 and notes of 27 November 1958, which launched the Berlin Crisis.

  • February 24, 1959

    Charles Douglas Jackson’s Views on Eastern Europe

    C.D. Jackson, in a personal letter to Allen Dulles, suggests reviving the concept of liberation of Eastern Europe.

  • May 26, 1959

    Note about a Conversation between the DPRK Ambassador in Berlin Comrade Pak Il-yeong and Comrades Kohrt and Demel on 26 May 1959 at 1500 hours

    Discussion on organizational problems with South Korean students in western countries, who intend to live in North Korea, and about German reunifcation.

  • January 18, 1961

    Letter from Ulbricht to Khrushchev

    Ulbricht writes to Khrushchev regarding proposals for a peace treaty/ non-aggression pact to resolve the West Berlin issue. He also discusses further plans for economic development in the GDR to "catch up" with West Germany.

  • May 19, 1961

    Letter from Ambassador Pervukhin to Foreign Minister Gromyko on the German Problem

    Ambassador Pervukhin reports to Russian Foreign Minister Gromyko on the position of the East German government regarding the possibility of a peace treaty between the Soviet Union and East Germany and a resolution to the ambiguous status of Berlin. The report also discusses the possibility of enforcing better border controls between east and west Berlin in order to "close 'the door to the West.'"

  • May 20, 1961

    Telegram from Ambassador Schneidewind on the Situation in Korea

    GDR Ambassador Schneidewind discusses anti-communist demonstrations in North Korea and South Korea's military coup.

  • June, 1961

    Letter from Ulbricht to Khrushchev

    Ulbricht writes to Khrushchev discussing a peace treaty with Western powers. He mentions that the Bonn government threatens to repeal its trade treaty with the GDR if the peace treaty is concluded with both German states, and the economic problem this would pose for the GDR.

  • June 14, 1961

    Telegram from Gaqo Paze, the Albanian Ambassador to the GDR, to the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Albania

    The Chinese ambassador to Berlin expressed to Gaqo Paze that the participation of Cuba in the conference of non-aligned countries, which is to be held in Belgrade, is a positive act because the Cuban representatives will speak out against American imperialism. In addition, the Chinese ambassador said that the act of organizing the conference is not a positive development.

  • June 17, 1961

    Summary of Meeting between Ambassador to Arab States Kiesewetter and General Secretary Belhocine and Head of Bureau Waker

    Summary of a June 17, 1961 meeting between Algeria (represented by General Secretary Belhocine and Head of Bureau Waker) and East Germany (represented by Ambassador to Arab States, Kiesewetter). The two sides discuss the suspension of the Evian negotiations between France and Algeria, East Germany's assistance for Algerian refugees in Morocco, and GDR-Algerian governmental relations. Ambassador Kiesewetter also expresses GDR's desire to peacefully coexist with West Germany in Berlin.

  • June 20, 1961

    Free Europe Committee Proposal to Exploit Berlin Crisis

    FEC Directors C. D. Jackson and Whitney Debevoise discuss with State Department officials their ideas on using RFE to pressure the Soviets during the Berlin Crisis

  • July 04, 1961

    Letter from Ambassador Pervukhin to Foreign Minister Gromyko on the Peace Treaty with East Germany

    Ambassador Pervukhin sends the views of the Soviet embassy in East Germany regarding the negotiation of a peace treaty between East Germany and the Soviet Union. It notes that "the most difficult issues which will arise after signing a peace treaty are the practical exercise by [the] GDR organs of effective control over the links between West Berlin and the FRG and the establishment of a regime over the movement of the population between West and Democratic Berlin."

  • August 01, 1961

    Notes on the Conversation of Comrade N.S. Khrushchev with Comrade W. Ulbricht on 1 August 1961

    Transcription of a meeting in Moscow between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and East German leader Walter Ulbricht on August 1, 1961. They discuss plans to close the border between East and West Berlin. The document shows Khrushchev’s and Ulbricht’s deliberations about the reasons for sealing the border in Berlin, the timing for sealing the border and some of the difficulties they expected to arise therefrom.

  • August 03, 1961

    Khrushchev's Speech at the Opening of the Meeting of Moscow Conference, 3-5 August 1961

    Khrushchev makes the opening statement to the secretaries of the CC's of Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries at a conference in Moscow. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the preparation and conclusion of a German peace treaty.

  • August 03, 1961

    Walter Ulbricht's Speech at the Moscow Conference, 3-5 August 1961

    Ulbricht speaks at the Moscow Conference of Secretaries of the Central Committees of the Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries for the Exchange of Opinions on Questions Concerning the Preparation and Conclusion of a German Peace Treaty.

  • August 04, 1961

    Excerpts from Khrushchev's Comments at Conference of First Secretaries of CC of Communist and Workers Parties of Socialist Countries

    Selected excerpts from Khrushchev's concluding speech at a conference of Warsaw Pact leader, focused on the building crisis over the status of Berlin.

  • August 05, 1961

    Record of a Conversation between Deputy Secretary Huang Zhen and the Polish Ambassador to China

    Huang Zhen and Jerzy Knothe discuss the socialist bloc's foreign policy coordination.