The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State

781. The memorandum quoted below was submitted on September 27 by the United States representative to the Directorate of Economics for consideration.

“Representatives of the Polish Provisional Government have informed the OMGUS89 that they can make available for export from Upper Silesia hard coal in amounts increasing from 400,000 tons per month to possibly 1,500,000 tons per month during the remainder of 1945.

In view of the critical shortage of coal, it is recommended that practicability of utilizing this coal for military and essential civilian [Page 1534] use in Germany be referred to the coal sub-committee of the fuel committee for investigation and report as a matter of urgency.

Since the Eastern Zone of Germany is understood to be short of hard coal, it is suggested that special consideration be given, in view of the proximity of Silesian coal and the consequent saving in transportation, to the purchase and importation of Polish coal by the USSR for use in the Eastern Zone as a charge against exports in accordance with the principles laid down in paragraph 19 of the report of the Berlin Conference.

It is also recommended that the Transport Directorate be requested to cooperate with the coal sub-committee on the investigation of this matter, with respect to its transportation aspects.”

The Economic Directorate has had two meetings since this memorandum was presented. (Note my 692, October 5.90) The Soviet representative who at first indicated lack of knowledge on the question advised the Directorate at its meeting on October 12 that the matter was being actively discussed with the Poles and implied that Soviet-Polish bargaining was going on. In the meantime the Soviet representative has not agreed to the American proposal that the quadripartite coal sub-committee, in conjunction with Transport Directorate, investigate and report on this matter.

The American representative on the coal sub-committee believes that no action can be taken by that sub-committee prior to the issuance of instructions from the Economic Directorate. This is due to the fact that the terms of reference of the coal sub-committee refer to production and distribution of German coal. This has been interpreted in a narrow sense with the result that coal outside the present German borders has not been considered by that sub-committee. This position also reflects a certain reluctance within OMGUS to take action on matters involving external relations. So long as the Soviet representative delays the order proposed to the coal sub-committee, it is probable that there will be no progress made toward obtaining this coal within the Control Council.

As related to this subject, the United States proposal concerning the establishment of an Allied export-import authority has now been informally distributed to the other representatives on the export-import sub-committee and whereas the representatives of the other three nations indicated agreement in principle, it is too early to determine what their official reactions will be (see our telegram 753, October 11, 9 p.m.). Accordingly, no export-import mechanism has yet been established to facilitate the Silesian coal transaction.

  1. The United States Group, Control Council, had been succeeded on October 1 by the Office of Military Government of the United States for Germany (OMGUS).
  2. Not printed.