Assessment by the Stasi of the espionage of the main Western secret services in East Germany based on its investigation of cases of spying in 1961.
GERMANY (EAST). MINISTRY FOR STATE SECURITY (STASI)
Berlin (Germany)–International status
Berlin Crisis, 1961
Digital ArchiveInternational History Declassified
JANUARY 09, 1962
EAST GERMAN MINISTRY OF STATE SECURITY, ‘BRIEF ASSESSMENT OF THE INVESTIGATION RESULTS ACHIEVED IN 1961 IN WORK ON CRIMES OF ESPIONAGE’
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Brief assessment of the investigation results achieved in 1961 in work on crimes of espionage
The investigation results achieved in 1961 in work on cases of agents of the American, English, and French secret service as well as the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) prove again that until 13.8.1961 West Berlin was the main base for the organization of espionage against the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the other Socialist states. New agent connections were, as a rule, created by means of threats and blackmail using people who had left the territory of the GDR illegally, during visits by citizens of the GDR to relatives in West Berlin during trips to West Berlin to take care of personal matters. Controlling, training, giving instructions, and remunerating agents likewise took place at meetings in restaurants, hotels, and safehouses in West Berlin.
While, compared with 1960, an increase in the number of arrests of BND agents has been recorded, the numbers of agents of foreign secret services fell, which obviously resulted from a change in their methods of operation or an improvement in their intelligence connections.
As could be determined by work on spy cases, particularly those of the BND and American secret service, the main focus of the increased subversive activity carried out from West Berlin is directed at putting into effect the aggressive plans of the Bonn Ultras and the most aggressive imperialist circles of the USA and other NATO states to undermine the power of workers and peasants so as to create prerequisites for a military attack on the GDR.
Thus it should be recognized that the agents of the most active imperialist secret services – the American services and the BND – are being prepared to a particularly large degree for their employment in war.
This finds expression in the increased tasking to gather information of a military-strategic nature, such as determining the load-bearing capacity of bridges, the significance of railway junctions, the flow capacity of streets, railways, and waterways, as well as the extent and employment of transport space.
Without exception, the agents of the American, English, and French secret service, as well as the BND, have been employed to inquire thoroughly into the military potential and the defence measures taken by the government of the GDR. The focus of the military spying in the activity of the American secret service and the Federal Intelligence Service lies above all in the collection of intelligence about the units of the Soviet army temporarily stationed on the territory of the GDR. In this their agents predominantly concentrate on spying on missile units and on the construction of air defence bases and storage depots.
For example, the agent of the American secret service [name blacked out] and the BND spy [name blacked out] tried to find out such information in a large number of towns on the territory of the GDR.
The concentration of the secret services, particularly the American services and the BND, on creating agent groups must also be evaluated in connection with the preparations for war against the GDR of the West German militarists, in combination with NATO, were intensified in 1961.
In accordance with the instructions and general orders which were obtained, these groups, predominantly equipped with radio-technical aids, were, among other things, to report on the mood and condition of the population, signs of discontent, starting fires as well as other acts of sabotage and subversion, imbalances in the people’s economy, particularly shortages in the provision of goods, and on the situation in agriculture.
The main task of the agent groups created consists of collecting and transmitting intelligence about troop movements and other military operations to increase the defence preparedness and striking power of the armed forces of the GDR. Closely connected with that are orders to ascertain the situation among the civilian population, the provision of goods, and the readiness of the population to support the armed forces.
Thus it was possible to liquidate a large number of groups, above all of the BND, in whose possession were, altogether, 22 high-performance radio sets and converters suitable for war conditions, which would serve to transmit information in case of war. Most of the radio-technical devices seized in the course of investigative actions were smuggled into the territory of the GDR from West Berlin by couriers like the arrested BND spies [name blacked out] and [name blacked out]. Some were deposited in so-called far and near hiding places. Some of the radio sets meant for use in war were transported into the GDR by the agent radio operators using means of transport made specifically for this purpose. Musical instruments, liquid containers, and tools were chosen as hiding places for transporting the radio sets. Until 13.8.1961 these agent groups transmitted the information they gathered to their controllers almost exclusively at personal meetings as well as using invisible ink and prepared paper via covert addresses in West Germany.
While only a small proportion of the arrested radio agents transmitted the information collected by radio, most, however, regularly received instructions using converters and, in the case of the American secret services, by means of the shortwave frequency of radio sets.
The fact that it was only possible in one case to find a radio set in the possession of an agent of the American secret service is evidently to be put down to the smashing of the courier department in 1960 and to the not-yet-completed supplying of new sets connected with that. While none of the arrested agents of the French secret service had been equipped with radio-technical aids, it was possible to seize a radio set and two converters of the English secret service.
The fact that people who have left the GDR illegally are recruited for spying in West Berlin and West Germany and sent back to their hometowns to gather information on defence preparedness is also to be evaluated in connection with the concentration of the secret services on preparing an attack on the German Democratic Republic. Since mid-1959 the American secret service has to a greater extent gone over to recruiting people in West Germany for the purpose of conducting espionage against the GDR and other Socialist states, training them thoroughly, equipping them with forged identify papers, and, abusing the air corridor, flying them from West Germany to West Berlin and from there infiltrating them into the territory of the GDR.
More agents were smuggled over the Western state border into the territory of the GDR and likewise told to gather information of a military-strategic character. These conclusions are based on the investigative results reached in the cases against the agents of the American secret service [three names blacked out] among others.
In 1961, though, it was possible to arrest a series of agents of the American and British secret services as well as BND agents, who had managed, owing to negligent cadre work, to infiltrate state and social institutions and gather information on the defence preparedness, foreign policy measures of the government of the GDR, and other political tasks, as well as on key political-economic elements of the Seven Year Plan.
The arrestees [name blacked out] and [name blacked out], exploiting their work, respectively, as Head of Secretariat and member of the Criminal Police in People’s Police district offices, stole secret instructions, analyses, and other material, which, among other things, provided information on the training, equipment, and defence preparedness of the Kampfgruppen, as well as the Order Groups of the FDJ (Freie Deutsche Jugend – Free German Youth movement). These they photographed or copied and passed on to their controller, the American secret service, using their wives. These documents also enabled these secret service headquarters to alter the work of the Military Mission on the territory of the GDR as well as the smuggling of agents and the exploitation of revanchist events in West Berlin to recruit agents.
Furthermore, they handed over information about the MfS, of which they had obtained knowledge by reason of their work for the police.
As the results of the investigations into agents of the American secret service prove, the organization of extensive spying in the political sphere is a very important element in the subversive activity of this secret service.
This year, the agents of the American secret service [name blacked out], [name blacked out], and [name blacked out] were arrested, from whose testimony the tasking of the American secret service with regard to inquiring into the political situation in the GDR is clearly identifiable.
Therefore, the American secret service is particularly interested in finding out about the international connections of all GDR state and social organizations and institutions, about the political, economic, and cultural connections of the GDR with other countries, in particular with the independent national-democratic states, about the work of central institutions of the democratic parties and mass organizations in the GDR, about central state offices, and about the mood of the population concerning particular political events.
Similar conclusions were likewise reached in handling cases of spies of the Federal Intelligence Service.
The aim of this work of the American secret service and the BND is to undermine the moral-political unity of the population of our state.
Among the imperialist secret services, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) especially concerns itself with the activity of democratic parties and mass organizations on the territory of the GDR so as to obstruct all-German contacts and their all-German work.
In the course of last year it was possible to prove that the Iranian secret service, exploiting Iran’s diplomatic representations in West Germany, is engaging in intensive agitation and subversion against the elements of the Tudeh Party which have emigrated to the GDR; this it does in close collaboration with organs of the West German BfV.
For the purpose of organizing measures of ideological subversion, the BfV’s work also focuses on inquiring into the political situation in the border areas and the mood of various strata of the population.
With the same intensity as last year, the secret services are concentrating on finding out about the economic potential of the GDR.
By way of example, as appears from the cases of the agents of the American secret service [name blacked out], of the English secret service [name blacked out], and of the BND spies [two names blacked out], the main focus of the economic spying is inquiring into the key economic sectors of the GDR, like energy, mechanical engineering, and the chemical industry. Both the American secret service and the BND are very interested in these industrial sectors. Substantial attacks of the hostile secret services are also directed at central institutions of the GDR economy. For example, the agent of the English secret service [name blacked out] had the task of handing over or photocopying all the research papers on economically significant projects, in particular on electronic devices and other important instruments, which were available to him in the Institute for Instrument Construction of the German Academy of Sciences and which were in the economic and political interest of the GDR to be kept secret.
Under the cover of academic consultations and interviews to research academic studies, the CIA agent [name blacked out] made a wealth of contacts with leading economic officials in the GDR in order to compromise them through the betrayal of matters to be kept secret and to blackmail them into cooperating with the American secret service.
The spying of [name blacked out] extended to a considerable degree to the entire foreign trade activity of the GDR, particularly to investigating important matters and interrelations concerning trade relations between the foreign trade organs of the GDR and trading companies of capitalist and socialist countries.
The aim of this extensive spying is the preparation of an economic blockade of the GDR in connection with the conclusion of a peace treaty.
The protection measures taken by the government of the GDR on 13.8.1961 on the state border with West Berlin gave rise to a considerable obstruction to the subversive work of the secret services, particularly owing to the substantial elimination of West Berlin as a base for spying on the German Democratic Republic.
The change in the situation brought about after 13.8.1961 caused the imperialist secret services to adapt and reorganize their working methods.
It was not possible to reach any conclusions on the basis of investigative proceedings about the activity of the English and French secret service in this period.
In their spying after 13.8.1961, the American secret service and BND give their main attention – apart from renewing connections which had been broken off and making new contacts – to greater inquiring into any military movements on the territory of the GDR and to the investigation of the opinion of the population about the security measures of the government, about the border incidents and provocations on the state border with West Berlin which have been organized by the Bonn Ultras in conjunction with the West Berlin Senate and USA Occupiers, and about difficulties which have arisen supplying the population with consumer goods. The aim of this work is the creation of prerequisites for the organization of counter-revolutionary activities, as a reason for an aggressive war by Bonn militarists and NATO against the GDR.
Characteristic of the uncertainty and mood of panic which has set in in the offices of the secret services in West Berlin in connection with the measures of 13.8.1961 is the fact that – according to the testimony of the CIA spy [name blacked out] – American citizens living in West Berlin have been sent into Democratic Berlin to observe troop movements, gatherings of people, and unrest expected by the American secret service in Democratic Berlin.
Over and above that, for example, the instruction and training of the arrested agent of the American secret service [name blacked out] was broken off prematurely and precipitately after the security measures came into force. [Name blacked out] was smuggled illegally into the GDR and received instructions to inquire into the military situation on the territory of the GDR.
It is to be concluded that the number of spies of the American secret service smuggled over the state border (West) increased.
According to investigative results of cases of spies of the American and West German secret service, the main method of maintaining the connection is radio activity.
Basically, tasks and spying instructions are transmitted by radio, whereby the American secret service uses the “Ilmenau 210” radio sets which are available for purchase [in the GDR] and the BND uses shortwave converters which are specifically meant for radio reception.
Some of the arrested radio agents of the BND were already reporting by radio the observations they had made to the regional radio headquarters of the Federal Intelligence Service.
A further method of reporting to the secret service is the exploitation of the post using cover addresses and varied means of secret writing.
This method is – as the cases [three names blacked out] and others prove – used both by the BND and the American secret service.
In proceedings against two agents of the American secret service, a married couple, it was possible to obtain facts on additional new methods of cooperation.
Thus the agents are supplied with money and spying aids from West Berlin by couriers via so-called dead letter boxes which are only used once and the location of which is made known to the agents by radio.
With regard to the majority of its agents, the BND planned to supply money and so-called barter goods as well as spying aids by exploiting the parcel traffic between West Germany and the GDR, whereby the goods were to be hidden in foodstuffs and pieces of clothing.
The American secret service in particular is interested in meeting its agents in capitalist and other socialist countries.
 This is, above all, a reference to the main American secret services running spies in East Germany; the CIA and the two services of the US Army, the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and the Counter-intelligence Corps (CIC).
 Workers’ militia.