In preparation for his trip to the United States, Fries met with Stasi officer Hoffmann on March 12, 1981. According to the handwritten report that Hoffman completed on March 13, 1981, the meeting took place in the town of Neuhaus. The report appears in its entirety below.
Service Unit Department XX/7Date 3/13/81
Report on Meeting
Category/Code Name IMB “Pedro Hagen” V/MOG/72
Staff MemberParticipation by Supervisor
Preparation for meeting
Planned meeting to prepare the IM for his trip to the USA; see the attached preparation for meeting. In the discussion meeting the IM will be made aware of special problems that are related to the trip. The IM will be provided with a cover address and money in an EG-container.
Evaluation of meeting
The meeting proceeded according to plan; the individual problems of the assignment were explained in detail to the IM during the meeting.
In this connection it was ascertained that the IM was himself working actively on preparations for the trip. He had worked out a good line of argumentation for possible questions relating to GDR authors who have left the GDR. He was informed in particular about investigating Dr. Zipser, since according to the information now on hand he will also travel to Oberlin. According to Dr. Zipser’s own account, he works at this university. He does not know the person issuing the invitation, Dr. [Otmar] Drekonja. [At that time, Dr. Drekonja was a professor of German at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in central Minnesota. He inivited Fries to visit CSB/SJU, Catholic liberal arts colleges for women and men respectively, and make a presentation. This invitation was very important to Fries, as it provided an official rationale for his trip to the US. Fries had hoped to visit Oberlin College, which would have put him in the company of Christa Wolf, Ulrich Plenzdorf, Jurek Becker, and Stefan Heym, who gave a public lecture at Oberlin in November 1979.]
The IM related that a woman [blacked out] from the International Friendship League visited him and presented a list of addresses in the USA that the IM can call upon. [The mission of the International Friendship League of the GDR, founded in 1961, was to build and cultivate friendly relationships with countries and individuals sympathetic to the communist GDR state.] The IM wrote down some of the addresses; it supposedly has to do with persons who view the GDR favorably. Over and above that, the person mentioned asked him to generate interest among Americans for the magazine “Panorama,” which is going to be published by the GDR in the future. The IM will not be engaging in this activity because no copies of this magazine are available.
At 7:30 a.m. on 3/17/81, the IM will fly from Schönefeld [Berlin Schönefeld Airport] to Copenhagen and from there to New York. He will take along copies of literature published in the GDR.
He will be returning on 5/4/81.
The IM was handed 500 West German marks in an EG-container; he was given instructions on how to go about opening and destroying the container. [Presumably, the special container with the 500 West German marks would be recognized by the East German border guards and not taken away from Fries. After arriving in the West, he would be able to open the container, exchange the marks for US dollars, and then destroy the container. This sort of container could be a toothbrush case or a stuffed animal, something small that would not look like it contains money.] The IM acknowledged receipt of the 500 West German marks in writing.
In addition, he was provided with the cover address “Käthe Martin” and instructed to send a postcard from every place he stays, if at all possible.
The IM was given a copy of E. Honecker’s book, “Aus meinem Leben” [“From My Life”], as a present. [As I read this, I had to laugh and wonder what Fries did with this book after arriving in the West; he probably threw it away.]