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GDR Council of Ministers’ Decision to Seal the Border (August 12, 1961)

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For all these reasons, the Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic, in accordance with the resolution of the Political Advisory Committee of the Warsaw Pact on the securing of order European peace, for the protection of the German Democratic Republic, and in the interest of the security of the states in the socialist camp, has decided on the following measures:

To prevent the enemy activities of the revanchist and militaristic powers of West Germany and West Berlin, checkpoints have been installed on the borders of the German Democratic Republic, including the border to the Western sectors of Greater Berlin, as is common on the frontiers of all sovereign states. Along the borders of West Berlin, reliable surveillance and effective control will be ensured to block the path for subversive activity. Citizens of the German Democratic Republic may only cross these borders with special authorization. As long as West Berlin has not been transformed into a demilitarized, neutral Free City, citizens of the capital of the German Democratic Republic shall require special certification for crossing over into West Berlin. Visits by peaceful citizens of West Berlin to the capital of the German Democratic Republic (the democratic Berlin) are possible upon presentation of a West Berlin identity card. Revanchist politicians and agents of West German militarism will not be allowed to set foot in the capital of the GDR (democratic Berlin). For visits by citizens of the West German Federal Republic to democratic Berlin, previous control provisions will remain in effect. The entry of citizens of other states into the capital of the German Democratic Republic will not be affected by these provisions.

For travel by citizens of West Berlin along routes that lead through the German Democratic Republic and into other countries, previous regulations continue to apply.

For transit between West Berlin and West Germany through the German Democratic Republic, previous regulations are not altered by this resolution.

The Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Transportation, and the Mayor of Greater Berlin will be assigned the task of promulgating the necessary provisions for implementation.

This resolution on measures for securing peace, protecting of the German Democratic Republic, and especially the capital city of Berlin, and guaranteeing the security of other socialist states will remain in effect until the conclusion of a German peace treaty.

Berlin, the 12th of August, 1961

Source: “Beschluss des Ministerrates der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik” [“Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic”], Neues Deutschland, August 13, 1961; original German text reprinted in Jürgen Rühle and Gunter Holzweißig, eds., 13. August 1961 – Die Mauer von Berlin [13. August 1961 – The Berlin Wall]. Cologne, 1981, p. 95.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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