740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–2045: Telegram

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

329. The Control Council held its third meeting in Berlin today. United States proposals relating to the vesting and marshalling of German external assets and to the removal of Allied and neutral property in Germany were both referred to the Coordinating Committee for further study. On objection from Field Marshal Montgomery no decision was reached on the proposal prohibiting the wearing of uniforms by disbanded personnel of the former German Army. Under this proposal from October 1, 1945, or 30 days after discharge, former members of the German Army and other civilians living on German territory would be forbidden to wear military uniform in its present color and all badges of rank whatever. Montgomery stated that in the British zone this order would affect approximately two million men many of whom would have no other civilian clothing. It would be impossible to dye that number during the period indicated and he said that he would be agreeable only to an order requiring this action to be taken “as soon as possible” in the discretion of the commanding general of each zone. Marshal Zhukov felt that Montgomery overestimates the difficulties stating that this action has to a large extent already been undertaken in the Soviet zone of occupation. Montgomery undertook to give a forecast date of when in his opinion such an order could be made effective. The question was put over until the next meeting of the Control Council.

Marshal Montgomery invited the attention of the Control Council to the congestion and housing difficulties existing in a number of German cities in the British zone especially in the Ruhr area. He said that he was working out a scheme for the shifting of some of this population preparatory for the winter months. In the greater Berlin area Montgomery said that he was reducing the size of the British occupational forces from 10,000–12,000 men to 6,000–7,000 men for [Page 833] the purpose of making housing available to the German civilian population. In his opinion the Council may have to face up to the danger of outbreaks of diseases and epidemics due to appalling housing conditions. The civilian population, he thought, must be better cared for than is the case at present.

General Eisenhower referred to the number of displaced persons from the east to the western zones and the necessity of arriving at an equitable distribution in this respect and pointed out that the American zone at present is extremely crowded. He also referred to the Potsdam decision regarding the transfer of population from certain eastern areas.74 Zhukov in the discussion insisted that the transfer of these populations must not be deferred for long. He also announced that the Soviet forces in the Berlin sector had been reduced to patrol units. He did not state the number.

Montgomery also reported disturbing trouble in the British zone with displaced persons who have been guilty of numerous acts of looting, murder, and rape. He stated that orders were being given to suppress such malefactors using organized force if necessary. Zhukov announced that similar difficulty had not been experienced in the Soviet zone.

In connection with the supply of food for Berlin, Montgomery again emphasized the unsatisfactory rail facilities between the British zone and Berlin over which must pass all of the imports from the western zone. This line had been double tracked but apparently due to removal of rails it is now being converted to single track line which of course creates congestion and delays supplies in arriving in the Berlin area. The problem is now under study by the transportation directorate.

Sent to Dept as 329, repeated to Moscow as 25, London as 47, and Paris as 46.

  1. See chapter XIII of the Report on the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, p. 1511. For documentation on this subject, see vol. ii, pp. 1227 ff.