862.01/534: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman ) to the Secretary of State

114. At the Moscow Conference the Soviet Government stated that its support of Free German Committee18 in Russia had been from its inception a propaganda move designed to weaken German resistance and that the statements of Free German Committee were not expressions of policy of Soviet Government. Subsequent developments including discussions at Tehran have supported that statement. Such copies of Freies Deutschland 19 as Embassy has received since Moscow Conference have indicated a change in the propaganda line. They have ceased to hold out hope to the Germans that the German Army might be maintained intact after Hitler’s overthrow and intimate time when such an outcome was possible has passed and that the overthrow of Hitler is now necessary for salvation Germany itself and preservations of lives of the troops in rapidly weakening German Army. Also the Kharkov trial clearly showed intention of Soviet Government to hold individual Germans responsible for crimes committed by them during German occupation of Soviet territory.20

It is believed that Department in revising or amplifying its airgram A–34, November 24,21 will wish to keep in mind foregoing although fact should not be overlooked that Soviet Government at the Moscow Conference expressly asked that its attitude toward the Free Germany Committee be kept secret.

Harriman
  1. In regard to the founding of the “Free Germany” National Committee in Moscow under Soviet auspices on July 12, 1943, and its activities, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, pp. 552605, passim.
  2. Newspaper published by the “Free Germany” National Committee.
  3. In regard to the trial and sentencing of German war criminals and the Kharkov trial, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, pp. 845 ff.
  4. Ibid., p. 602.