National Security Archive Update, August 12, 2011 – THE BERLIN WALL, 50 YEARS AGO

12 August 2011 — National Security Archive Update, August 12, 2011

While Condemning Wall in Public, U.S. Officials Saw “Long Term Advantage” if Potential Refugees Stayed in East Germany

Three Days Before Wall Went Up, CIA Expected East Germany Would Take “Harsher Measures” to Solve Refugee Crisis

Disturbed By Lack of Warning, JFK Asked Intelligence Advisers to Review CIA Performance

For more information contact:
William Burr – 202/994-7000

Washington, D.C., August 12, 2011 – Fifty years ago, when leaders of the former East Germany implemented their dramatic decision to seal off East Berlin from the western part of the city, senior Kennedy administration officials publicly condemned them. Nevertheless, those same officials, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, secretly saw the Wall as potentially contributing to the stability of East Germany and thereby easing the festering crisis over West Berlin. Indeed, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union Llewellyn Thompson had written that “both we and West Germans consider it to our long-range advantage that potential refugees remain [in] East Germany.”

This surprising viewpoint from Thompson and Rusk, among others, is one of a number of points of interest in declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive.

Visit the Archive’s Web site for more information on today’s posting.


THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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