Shortly before my departure for Berlin, Ms. Miller asked me to provide her with the names of some GDR writers I would like to see again before heading to Leipzig. She was planning to have a cocktail party and buffet dinner in my honor at her residence in Berlin Niederschönhausen, an upscale neighborhood where many diplomats lived. According to the formal invitation still in my possession, the social gathering was scheduled for 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, March 7, 1985. The party not only gave me an opportunity to reconnect with some writers I knew well, it also gave Ms. Miller an opportunity to expand her contacts with writers in an informal way. Invitations to events held at the US Embassy were viewed with suspicion in those Cold War days, so East German writers and artists were hesitant to attend. I imagine that all the writers were surprised to receive the invitation, which I have reproduced below.
According to the files, the following persons attended the reception: Ulrich Plenzdorf, his wife Helga, and their son; Fritz Rudolf Fries and his wife; Martin Stade and his wife; and Eberhard Scheibner from the GDR Writers’ Union. Because the invitations were sent out only a short time before the event, some invitees—including Stefan Heym, Christa and Gerhard Wolf, and an editor from the Henschel Publishing House by the name of Schuch—were unable to attend.