A total of 2,500 delegates and 750 guests from 92 nations attended the opening of the ninth East German Communist Party Congress in East Berlin on Tuesday (18 May).
GV EXTERIOR Palace of the Republic (2 shots)
LV & CU Delegates arrive by coach and enter building as children run forward and present the delegates with flowers
SV Children wave flags as delegates enter
Black African delegates enter
CU Soviet army officers enter
GV INTERIOR Delegates seated applauding
SV Stoph speaks
CU Portraits of Marx and Lenin
SV Stoph finishes speaking and receives standing ovation (3 shots)
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Background: A total of 2,500 delegates and 750 guests from 92 nations attended the opening of the ninth East German Communist Party Congress in East Berlin on Tuesday (18 May).
The Congress was opened by the Chairman of the East German Council of State, Herr Willi Stoph. Delegates stood in tribute to party figures who had died since the last Congress in June 1971, with Walter Ulbricht the first name read out by Herr Stoph. Herr Ulbricht helped to found the East German state in 1949 and was leader of the party until his death in 1973, a month after his 80th birthday.
He was replaced by the present party chief, Erich Honecker. In his address to the Congress on Tuesday, he pledged his country to a strengthening of the bond with the Soviet Union. He called for unity and solidarity within the Socialist countries and the Communist movement -- under the leadership of the Soviet Union.
At the time of the last party Congress, East Germany had only been recognised by 30 countries. Today it is a member of the United Nations and has diplomatic relations with 121 countries, including all the members of the Western-based North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Herr Honecker said that this must be seen as an achievement of world socialism.
Delegations to the Congress in the 'Palace of the Republic' include party leaders from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria. China and its European ally, Albania, were the only Communist-ruled countries that have not sent representatives to the five-day meeting.
SYNOPSIS:The roads around the new Palace of the Republic in East Berlin were closed to traffic on Tuesday as delegates arrived for the opening of the ninth East German Communist Party Congress. 2,500 representatives and 750 guests from 92 nations are attending the five-day meeting.
Security is tight and the only journalists from western countries allowed into the Palace are those form Communist publications. The rest will follow the proceedings on closed-circuit television in another building, a short distance away.
The delegations have come to Berlin from all over the world. But the Soviet party leader, Leonid Brezhnev, is not attending and is represented by a member of the Politburo, Mikhail Suslov. China and her European ally, Albania, are the only Communist-ruled countries not to send special delegations to the meeting.
Loud applause greeted the opening speech by the Chairman of the East German Council of State, Herr Willi Stoph. Delegates stood in tribute as Herr Stoph read out the names of party figures who had died since the last Congress in 1971.
One of them is Walter Ulbricht, who helped to found the East German state in 1949. He was replaced by the present party chief, Erich Honecker. In his address to the Congress, Herr Honecker pledged his country to the unity and solidarity of the world Communist movement, under the leadership of the Soviet union.