East Germany Table of Contents
The Secretariat is the "staff" of the Politburo, in charge of implementing the policy and personnel decisions of the Politburo, with which it is closely linked. All major political decisions are made by the Politburo and the Secretariat. Unlike the CPSU, the members of the SED Secretariat usually are also full or candidate members of the Politburo. In 1987 there were ten secretaries, nine of whom were full Politburo members and one, a woman, a candidate member. At the Eleventh Party Congress in April 1986, the East Berlin district party chief, Schabowski, was appointed a Central Committee secretary. The average age of the secretaries was fifty-nine. Each secretary directs a personal staff of three to five individuals. Politburo members who also are secretaries manage staffs consisting of Central Committee members, who in turn supervise smaller staffs for special assignments. The Secretariat is in charge of the daily work of the party; it supervises internal party affairs and directs the state and government apparatuses. The specific responsibilities of the Secretariat include managing elections, formulating cadre policy, operating party schools, and drafting and implementing the directives of the Politburo to the leaders of the SED district and county organizations.
The Secretariat also directs the working organ of the Central Committee, the Central Committee apparatus, which consists of over 40 departments with approximately 2,000 members as well as the central party institutes (the Central Committee's Academy of Social Sciences, the Institute for Marxism-Leninism, the Central Institute for Socioeconomic Management, and the Karl Marx Party College). These departments work closely with the individual ministries of the Council of Ministers. Critical mechanisms by which the SED maintains ongoing contact with the CPSU are the various departments of the Secretariat,
which are expected to maintain close working relations with their Soviet counterparts, as well as those of the other "fraternal parties."
Data as of July 1987