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Soviet-German Communiqué (August 23, 1953)

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In the course of the negotiations, both sides reached agreement regarding the putting into practice of a series of political and economic measures aimed at rendering assistance in the further development of the national economy of the German Democratic Republic as well as in improving the material well-being of her population. It was taken into consideration that the German Democratic Republic has during the past years conscientiously fulfilled her obligations towards the Soviet Union and that, thanks to the efforts of the German democratic forces, the German Democratic Republic is an important factor in the struggle for peace in Europe.

The decision of the Soviet Government envisages:

The termination of reparations removals from the German Democratic Republic from January 1, 1954; the transfer, without compensation, to the ownership of the GDR of the plants of the Soviet joint-stock companies in Germany; the reduction of the obligations of the GDR to make payments in connection with the presence of the Soviet forces on the territory of the German Democratic Republic, so that the annual total does not exceed five percent of the revenue of the state budget of the GDR; the release of the GDR from the payment of such debts in foreign currencies as have arisen as occupation costs since 1945; the release of Germany from the payment of postwar state debts to the Soviet Union.

About the agreement reached in this connection the two parties have signed a Protocol whose text is published below.

In the course of the negotiations, agreement was also reached on certain other questions relating to the consolidation and development of economic, cultural, and scientific-technical collaboration between the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic.

Among other things, it was agreed that the Soviet Union will deliver to the German Democratic Republic during 1953, over and above the value of the current trade agreement, commodities to a value of approximately rubles 590 million, including foodstuffs, hard coal, rolling mill products, copper, lead, aluminum, cotton, and other goods.

The Soviet Union grants the German Democratic Republic a credit to the amount of rubles 485 million, including rubles 135 million in freely convertible currency. The credit is granted at a rate of interest of two percent per annum and is to be repaid over two years from 1955.

At the request of the Governmental Delegation of the GDR, the following was agreed:

In accordance with fixed procedures, measures will be taken in order to free the German prisoners of war from serving the remainder of the punishment to which they have been sentenced for crimes committed during the war, with the exception of those guilty of particularly grave crimes against peace and humanity.

Desirous of strengthening and developing further the friendly relations existing between the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, the bulwark of the struggle of the German people for a united, peace-loving, democratic Germany, the two parties have agreed to raise the status of the Diplomatic Mission of the U.S.S.R. in Berlin and the Diplomatic Mission of the German Democratic Republic in Moscow to the rank of Embassies, and to exchange Ambassadors.

Source: Joint Communiqué of the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic (August 23, 1953); reprinted in Documents on Germany, 1944-1959: Background Documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a Chronology of Political Developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956. Washington, DC: General Printing Office, 1959, pp. 112-14.

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