Strengthening Berlin Wall

Foreign Office report describing the strengthening of the Berlin Wall, November 1961. (Catalogue ref: FO 371/160572)




  1. Category AC telegram. Paraphrase NOT required
  2. A telegram which contains a reference to any classified telegram or correspondence must itself be classified.
  3. The ministry of Defence Cypher Office must be consulted if it is desired to distribute or release this telegram, or any part of it, to a person or nation who would not normally be authorised to receive it.



OPERATIONAL IMMEDIATE                                      …

19th November, 1961.

Please pass this information to General Baker at SHAPE [Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe].

This is a LIVE OAK message. Special handling required. Releaseable only to authorised representatives of France, Germany, U.K. And U.S.

At approx.191700Z East German authorities commenced construction work at the Brandenburg Gate. The aim of the work would appear to be to create an anti-visual screen. The work is being carried out by civilians under supervision of the engineers of the East German army. There are approx.150 EGA soldiers guarding the wire boundary whilst the work proceeds. Additional construction work is taking place at the Potsdammer Platz where the main effort would seem to be the digging of a deep ditch around the Platz. Construction work is also taking place in the Wilhelmstrasse and a loudspeaker is proclaiming that this is all being done as a result of the belligerent efforts of the West. Friedrich Str. Crossing remains open.

British Force. We have alerted Tiergarten Coy [Company] and 1 Section and 2 APCS is fwd keeping situation under observation.  Normal patrolling of border sector continues. Latest report as at present time of origin is that the anti-visual fence is now approx. nine feet high. The ditch at Potsdammer Platz is estimated to be 6 feet deep and in addition to the loudspeaker propaganda stating the belligerent West is to blame they have also stated that this will be a night to remember. However, all the action at present is of a defensive nature. Work has also been repeated from Bernauer Str. in the French Sector and anti-tank obstacles are also being sited in the area of Friedrichstr but the crossing point remains open.


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