740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–745: Telegram

No. 429
The Political Adviser in Germany ( Murphy ) to the Acting Secretary of State 1
us urgent—niact

130. There was a second meeting of the Berlin Kommandatura this afternoon in Berlin at Marshal Zhukov’s headquarters attended by Zhukov and his staff, General Clay, General Weeks representing the American and British control groups, Sobelev and myself. The purpose of the meeting was a discussion of some of the practical aspects [Page 631] of the occupation of Berlin and the organization of the Kommandatura. Zhukov presided.

The agenda included discussion of the (1) status of each nationality in its own sector of Berlin; (2) joint, common policies for military government in Greater Berlin, (3) coordination of military government in all sections of Berlin at three operational levels: (a) regular meetings of all Berlin sector commanders (Kommandatura), (b) regular meetings of chief military government officers of all sectors of Berlin (G–5’s) and (c) frequent meetings of military government technicians of all sectors of Berlin (welfare, legal, engineers, etc.); (4) responsibility for supply of food for civil population of Greater Berlin; (5) responsibility for supply of fuel for civil population and installations of Greater Berlin.

Prior to our arrival a slight misunderstanding had arisen between the Commandant of our sector, Major General Parks and the Soviet Command. Parks had mistakenly believed that the military government of the US sector was vested solely in the United States. The Soviet Command had referred Parks to the contents of paragraph 5 of the agreement of Sept 19442 providing for the establishment of an Inter-Allied Council charged with the joint administration of the district of Greater Berlin. The meeting confirmed the latter point of view.

It was agreed that according to the terms of the governmental understanding of September 12, 1944, the Berlin area would be governed by joint direction on a quadripartite basis. When we first used the word “quadripartite” Zhukov jocularly inquired whether there would be French participation and as everyone agreed that there would be, it was also understood that until French participation had been formalized by the governments, that provision would be made for a French liaison officer or officers to attend meetings. It was agreed also that the chairmanship of the Kommandatura would rotate every 15 days.

Zhukov described the administration of Greater Berlin as consisting of 17 depts plus 1 for religious matters. His suggestion that an equal number of quadripartite committees be organized by the Kommandatura to supervise and control the work of these German administrative units was approved.

Zhukov also insisted, and it seems to me quite correctly, that the administration of the district of Greater Berlin should begin with the organization of an Inter-Allied Council. He proposed that the [Page 632] Supreme Commanders should reach full agreement on matters pertaining to food supply, services to be rendered by the municipality to the garrison and the city, establishment of garrison regulations, fuel supply, and other important matters governing every day life of the garrison and the city of Berlin. He maintained that the administration of the district of Greater Berlin should not begin with the removal of Soviet military government agencies which are handling such matters.

Food supply. This imperative question was the first subject of debate. Zhukov blandly stated that now that the American and British authorities were occupying their sectors of Berlin, they had assumed responsibility for the feeding of the German civilian population in those areas. According to Russian figures there are approximately 787,000 German civilians in the American sector and approximately 900,000 in the British sector. In the Soviet sector there are about 1,106,000. According to Zhukov the normal system of food supply to Berlin is completely broken down in the absence of transportation and also because there is no food in the outlying districts of Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, and Saxony which ordinarily supply about 93 percent of Berlin’s food. Zhukov said that Soviet authorities would continue to supply their sector in Berlin but that he considered that their responsibility ceased in respect of the British and American sectors. If this position is maintained our authorities are faced with an almost impossible supply problem. On the basis of rough calculation (this is under active study by our military authorities) this would require the American military authorities to lay down in Berlin monthly a minimum of 21,000 tons which might supply the barest essentials of life for the population in our sector. Even if the supplies were available and we were willing to provide them, present lack of rail transport might prevent us from doing so. Our military authorities are now engaged in an intensive study of this question, which was laid over for a further meeting on July 10.

Discussion of the fuel supply elicited some illuminating comments from Zhukov. Berlin requires for its present population of some 2,800,000 a daily supply for minimum utilities (not including domestic heating of course) [of] an estimated 7,500 tons of coal. General Clay pointed out that as the American zone provides no coal the supply would have to come from one of the other zones. Zhukov stated that there remained only the Ruhr and the Saar. Weeks inquired regarding Silesia as a possible source. Zhukov said that as the Silesian coal deposits were now in another jurisdiction, i. e. Poland, they were not available. I expressed surprise, stating that it was my understanding that Silesia formed part of the Soviet [Page 633] zone of occupation of Germany. Zhukov corrected me, saying that Germany did not exist and that everyone knew that the Crimea Conference established the Polish frontier along the Oder and Neisse rivers.3 I replied that I had been laboring under the impression that for the purpose of the Control Council for Germany the territory whose resources would be available was as described in the agreement on zones of occupation recommended by EAC and approved by the govts. Zhukov left no doubt in our minds that any resources east of the Oder–Neisse line are not available in the joint administration of German territory. I would appreciate the Dept’s immediate advice on this point.

After a description by Weeks of the present difficulties surrounding the production and transportation of Ruhr coal it was agreed to postpone further discussion until July 10 permitting consultation with the govts. When Weeks informed Zhukov that the lack of skilled miners was one of the impediments to Ruhr coal production, Zhukov said that he would be glad to supply 50,000 German men from the Greater Berlin area. Weeks inquired whether they would know anything about mining, Zhukov shrugged his shoulders and said they would be capable of labor and could be trained.

. . . . . . .

  1. The gist of this message was included in telegram No. 11 of July 10 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 740.00119 Potsdam/7–1045).
  2. i. e., the protocol relating to the zones of occupation in Germany signed at London, September 12, 1944. For text, see Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 3071; United States Treaties and Other International Agreements, vol. 5, pt. 2, p. 2078; Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 118.
  3. Cf. Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, pp. 680, 716, 777, 792, 869, 898899, 905906, 974.