Truman Papers

No. 1046
President Truman to Generalissimo Stalin

Memorandum for Generalissimo Stalin

An acute coal famine threatens Europe this winter unless German coal in substantial quantities can be made available for export. Despite our own shortages of coal, internal transportation and ocean shipping, we are now shipping coal to Europe as an emergency measure in order to provide some relief in the present crisis. It is obvious, however, that with our large commitment of industrial and military resources in the war against Japan, the quantities of coal which we can make available to Europe will be inadequate to cover pressing European needs. To meet these needs all possible measures should immediately be taken to increase coal production in Germany and to make the maximum quantities available for export.

In order to avoid delay, I have directed the United States Commander-in-Chief1 to take the necessary measures in his zone of occupation. I understand that the British and French Governments have issued similar directives to their respective commanders in Germany.2 A copy of the directive to General Eisenhower is attached.

I am most anxious that a common policy in respect to coal should be followed by the four occupying powers, and I have therefore instructed General Eisenhower to discuss the policy set forth in the above directive at the Allied Control Council at the earliest possible date. I trust that the Soviet Government will see their way to joining with us in this policy. It is my hope that they will be prepared to instruct their Commander-in-Chief3 to take similar action in the portions of Germany occupied by Soviet forces, and to proceed with the formulation in the Control Council of a coal production and export program for Germany as a whole.

Harry S. Truman

Directive to Commander of U. S. Forces in Germany4

Unless large quantities of coal are made available to liberated Europe in forthcoming months, there is grave danger of such political and economic chaos as to prejudice the re-deployment of Allied troops and to jeopardize the achievement of the restoration of economic [Page 1029] stability which is the necessary basis for a firm and just peace. Adequate quantities of coal for the greater part of Europe cannot, as a practical matter, be obtained from any source other than Germany. It is a matter of great urgency that Germany be made to produce for export to other European nations the coal which they must have to support economic life on at least a minimum basis.

You are therefore directed in your capacity of Commanding General of United States Forces in Germany and as United States member of the Allied Control Council, to take all steps necessary to achieve the following objectives:

To make available for export out of the production of the coal mines in Western Germany a minimum of 10 million tons of coal during 1945, and a further 15 million tons by the end of April, 1946.
To the extent necessary to accomplish the export of 25 million tons of coal at the rate directed, to assign the highest priority to all matters pertaining to maximizing the production and transportation of German coal, in particular the provisioning of mining supplies, transportation facilities, and food supplies adequate to maintain mining labor at the requisite level of efficiency. This requirement should be subordinate only to the civil and military requirements necessary to insure the safety, security, health, maintenance, and operation of the occupying forces and to insure the speedy redeployment of allied forces from Germany.
To recommend to the Control Council (a) an assignment to the production and export of coal from Eastern Germany of an urgency as great as that implied in the required export of 25 million tons of coal from Western Germany by the end of April, 1946, and (b) the formulation of a coordinated program for Germany as a whole covering the production, distribution, and export of coal.
To assist in every reasonable way, efforts to maximize the production of coal in other zones of occupation than your own.
To recommend to the Control Council, and to follow in your zone of occupation, the principle that in allocating coal within Germany, the export of coal is to take precedence over the use of coal for industrial production and civilian purposes within Germany to the extent necessary to accomplish the export of 25 million tons of coal from Western Germany at the rate suggested and to comply with paragraph 3, above, subject only to the requirements set out in paragraph 2, above.
It is recognized that the following of this policy during the period of critical coal shortage will delay the resumption of industrial activity in Germany. It is also recognized that the carrying out of the above policies with respect to German coal may cause unemployment, unrest, and dissatisfaction among Germans of a magnitude which may necessitate firm and rigorous action. Any action required to control the situation will be fully supported.
To make available to the European Coal Organization full and complete details of coal production and coal allocations within Germany, in order that the member nations of the European Coal Organization may know the relationship that prevails between the [Page 1030] level of coal consumption in Germany and the level of coal consumption in liberated Europe.
To assign a high priority to the production and export of brown coal briquettes and of additional quantities of other coal in excess of the 25 million tons specified in paragraph 1.
A similar directive is being issued to the United Kingdom and French zonal commanders by their respective governments.

  1. General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  2. Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery and General Joseph-Pierre Koenig.
  3. Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov.
  4. This directive was issued to Eisenhower by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on July 26 (telegram No. Victory 338).