April 23, 2017

1949. A Possible Price for Settlement of Europe's Postwar Problems

The Friction That Has Divided the World
A large portrait of Stalin looms over Unter den Linden in Berlin, June 3, 1945 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

November 6, 1949

Rumors of peace in the East-West Cold War are circulating in Germany today. Rumors say that Joseph Stalin has transmitted to the Western Powers Russia's price for settlement of Europe's postwar problems and an end to the friction that has divided the world.

West Berlin newspapers are basing their speculation on the forthcoming meeting of the American, British, and French foreign ministers in Paris this week—and on the projected meeting between Secretary of State Acheson and Russia's Andrey Vyshinsky.

According to unconfirmed reports published here, the Kremlin is promising a worldwide modus vivendi between the East and West in exchange for economic assistance to the Soviet Union and the nations in the Communist sphere of influence.

This is not the first time that such rumors have originated in this worried city. They appear at practically every major international conference. However, at the last Paris meeting this spring, the peace rumors were borne out; for out of that conference came the modus vivendi agreement on Berlin.

The East German Communist government has joined the chorus of the faithful, and today leaders of the new puppet administration have sent their notes of congratulation to Moscow on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It has been a weekend of receptions in East Berlin to demonstrate the new German-Soviet friendship. Ceremonies will continue through tomorrow, and the Communist-directed Radio Berlin will carry an unprecedented program: a broadcast of the military demonstration from Red Square in Moscow.

One of the problems facing the East and West German governments has been what to do about a national anthem. No one wants the old "Deutschland über Alles." Well, today the Communist state has solved the problem by publishing a new national hymn.

Its composer is Hanns Eisler, brother of Gerhard, the fugitive Communist. Eisler formerly composed film music for Hollywood.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.