Remarkably, the very same people do not say a word about how weapons and their responsible bodies receive blessings in imperialist countries, about the spiritual counseling in the military in the FRG, or about the existence and work of military bishops and pastors in the capitalist countries.
Therefore, it is particularly necessary to talk with members of church circles at all levels, especially pastors, synod members, parish council members, as well as active members of the parishes in the counties, cities, and communities. Based on the aforementioned information, it is especially important to explain convincingly and conclusively how the GDR, in firm alliance with the Soviet Union and the other states of the socialist community, is fighting to banish the threats to world peace coming from the aggressive circle of imperialism, especially the present government of the United States and NATO. The influence of destructive positions must therefore be resolutely opposed.
For this political outreach to the masses, orientation should be sought especially from the “Christian Circles” study groups in the county committees of the National Front of the GDR. The Union Friends* of the CDU and other friendly parties, and not least the theologians and church officials who are members of the Peace Council of the GDR, who support the peace policies of the GDR, should also be integrated more effectively into these persuasive efforts.
We kindly ask you to inform the chairmen of the councils of the districts and counties about the content of this letter.
Berlin, April 16, 1982
* Members of the CDU in the GDR referred to themselves as Union Friends. – trans.
Source: Telex by Erich Honecker to the First Secretaries of the SED District and County Leaderships and to Heinz Keßler, Chief of the Main Political Administration of the National People’s Army Berlin (April 16, 1982), in SächsHStA Dresden, BT/RdB Dresden Nr. 45071; reprinted in Anke Silomon, Schwerter zu Pflugscharen und die DDR. Die Friedensarbeit der evangelischen Kirchen in der DDR im Rahmen der Friedensdekaden 1980 bis 1982 [Swords to Ploughshares and the GDR. The Peace Work of the Protestant Churches in the GDR in the Context of the Peace Decades 1980 to 1982]. Göttingen, 1999, pp. 327-29.
Translation: Allison Brown