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Masterpieces of History

Svetlana Savranskaya
Thomas Blanton
Vladislav Zubok


Document No. 80: Memorandum of Conversation between Oskar Fischer and Vyacheslav Kochemassov, September 7, 1989

Traduction de Christiaan Hetzner

Texte intégral

  • 1 Hutchings, American Diplomacy, 80, 380, footnote 90.

1In this discussion, East German Foreign Minister Oskar Fischer seeks reassurance from the Soviet ambassador to East Berlin in the midst of the refugee crisis precipitated by Hungary’s decision to open its border with Austria. Ambassador Kochemassov tells Fischer that his colleagues are in fact actively rebuking both the West Germans and the Hungarians. In particular, Moscow’s envoy to Bonn, Yuli Kvitsinsky, is a hard-line holdover who has been blasting the FRG for encouraging the East German emigres, and “condemn[ing]” repeated statements by politicians to the effect that the GDR’s days are numbered. The latter remark comes in the wake of highly-publicized comments by the U.S. ambassador to the FRG, Vernon Walters, in the International Herald Tribune predicting the speedy reunification of Germany.1


2Comrade Kochemassov provided information first of all about the activities of the Soviet ambassador to Hungary aimed at influencing the appropriate Hungarian comrades and afterwards preparing a detailed report on the course and results of the discussions conducted between the Soviet ambassador in Bonn, Comrade Kvitsinsky, and the chancellor’s Office minister, Seiters. Therefore, Comrade Kvitsinsky expressed on behalf of the Soviet Foreign Ministry their serious apprehensiveness concerning the line being pursued by the West German authorities and mass media in regard to GDR citizens’ attempts to illegally emigrate to the FRG. He stated that continuation of the situation could lead to a limitation of contacts between citizens of both German states, especially since the GDR controls these possibilities. […]

3Referring to the repeated statements by Bonn politicians that the days of the GDR are numbered and the reunification of Germany is on the agenda, Comrade Kvitsinsky condemned such a course and called for realism in view of the understanding that the GDR has a place in Europe. If the FRG is endeavoring to limit the influx of refugees and not to bury the GDR, it must recognize GDR state citizenship and put an end to immigration from the GDR through economic aid. It makes martyrs out of these so-called “cross-settlers,” however, warriors fighting against socialism. […]

4It was agreed that Comrade Oskar Fischer and Comrade Kochemassov should remain in continual contact, and, as needed, keep one another promptly informed.

5[Source: Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR-Bundesarchiv. Translated by Christiaan Hetzner.]


1 Hutchings, American Diplomacy, 80, 380, footnote 90.

© Central European University Press, 2010

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