The Political Adviser in
Germany (Murphy) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Clayton)1
74. Secret for Clayton.
With reference to the Dept’s 25, June 24, 6 p.m.,2 I thought you might be interested in the following informal summary of the Ruhr coal situation.
Stocks on hand now total between six and seven million tons on the surface.
Production has jumped to 60,000 tons of marketable coal daily. This, of course, is in addition to the coal consumed at the mines for operations and is the equivalent of about a million and a half marketable tons monthly. It is estimated that this production will be increased to four million tons monthly within two months. I am informed that one of the earlier reasons for delay in production was an unhappy choice of British military personnel selected by 21st Army Group which allocated something like 4000 officers and men for this purpose. According to my information this group rather interfered with the German personnel instead of inspiring production. This situation I am told has now been rectified by the designation of well-qualified British mining engineers and management staff. You will also be interested to know that today two French representatives will arrive to assist in this problem.
Labor. As you know approximately 325,000 miners were normally employed in the Ruhr area. Of these probably 50% were imported miners. However, the labor situation in this respect is not unfavorable. According to my information approximately 175,000 German miners are now at work and additional personnel is rapidly being obtained from released German prisoners of war. The fact also that [Page 622] the Ruhr industries are for a large part at a standstill has released labor which is being inducted into mining.
Transportation would seem to be the ceiling rather than production. The key to this for the moment is the waterway system of the canals and the Ruhr and the Rhine. Rail transport is now well developed to the Rhine. The key port at Duisburg is in fairly good condition.
On the basis of the information available at present, it would appear that the ten million ton figure can well be met by the end of this year and I should say that there should be no great difficulty in obtaining required fifteen million tons by the end of April 1946.
This situation is far better than many had anticipated.
There is one problem which will have to be met and that is food for the miners. The calorie rate now permitted apparently is too low. At the same time there is great reluctance on the part of those here to import food for Germans. The British as I understand it are pressing for the release to that area of a certain tonnage of imported wheat. However, a careful investigation is being made of this situation and in any event an effort will be made to meet the local Ruhr food requirements out of German stocks and delay if possible any importation of food for German consumption.