Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Exchange of Letters Between the President and Chancellor Adenauer of Germany Concerning Aid for the People of the Soviet Zone.

July 10, 1953

My dear Mr. Chancellor:

The receipt of your letter of July 4, 1953, in which you outlined the serious situation existing in the Soviet Zone of Germany concerning the supply of food for the population, has confirmed reports which I have received from High Commissioner Conant and which have been of considerable concern to me over the past few weeks.

I am, therefore, anxious to respond affirmatively to your appeal that this Government join you in aiding the people of East Germany in this hour when many of those demonstrating are demanding more food.

I have, therefore, today instructed the American Charge d'Affaires in Moscow to offer the Soviet Government shipments of food for distribution to the population of East Germany. I have suggested that arrangements for the distribution be made between the staffs of the United States and Soviet High Commissioners in Germany and that consideration be given to distribution through German religious institutions.

I sincerely hope that this effort on our part to relieve the plight of the people in East Germany will be welcomed by the Soviet Government.

Sincerely yours,


Note: Chancellor Adenauer's letter follows:

- My dear Mr. President:

During recent months, I have discussed with Dr. Conant, the United States High Commissioner for Germany, on repeated occasions the position of the population in the Soviet-occupied zone. The Federal Government watches with serious apprehension the steadily increasing political pressure to which the Germans living there are subjected. Apart from that, the steadily deteriorating food supply in the Soviet-occupied zone fills the Federal Government with growing anxiety. It is true that the events of 17 June 1953 have prompted the rulers of the Soviet Zone to announce, in this particular field, certain relaxations, but according to information received by us, it is extremely doubtful whether the Communist rulers are actually willing, or able, to fulfill these promises. Therefore, the food supply of the Soviet Zone must continue to be regarded as definitely endangered.

As it is, the Federal Government is, unfortunately, unable to remove the political pressure weighing upon the people in the Soviet Zone. However, it feels itself under an obligation to do everything in its power to at least protect the population from hunger as far as this will be possible.

The Bundestag, too, dealt with this question, during the last few days and requested the Federal Government on 1 July by a resolution to take all possible measures to ensure as speedily as possible an adequate supply of food for the distressed Soviet Zone and East Berlin.

The Federal Government, therefore, intends to make available funds on a large scale for food supplies to be sent to the Soviet-occupied zone. The churches and charitable organizations will be entrusted with the implementation of this action so as to ensure that these food supplies are used for the intended purpose.

I should much appreciate it if the United States Government, too, were prepared to participate in this aid action which is in the interest of the entire Western world.

Sincerely yours,


See also Item 134 and note.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Exchange of Letters Between the President and Chancellor Adenauer of Germany Concerning Aid for the People of the Soviet Zone. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231767

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