740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–2045: Telegram

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

820. The ninth meeting of the Control Council was held on October 20 with the French member presiding.

The Council approved and signed a law increasing the taxes on wages, income and corporations by 25%16 between October 1 and 31 December.

The Coordinating Committee had sent to the Council a law governing the formation, control and functions of labor unions. Its first paragraph provides that unions will be permitted at a local level and will be allowed to federate and amalgamate. The French member made a statement as follows: (1) That the French Government is in favor of unionism and is reestablishing unions in the French Zone; [Page 847] (2) that the French want amalgamation of local unions only on a zonal level, and that any federation on a German national scale should require the special consent of the Control Council; (3) that all political activity by unions should be forbidden. He commented that such political activity would detract from the real purposes of unionism. He argued that his amendments to the above effect did not change the substance of the law under consideration. The other three members of the Council were in strong disagreement with the French position. Marshal Zhukov argued that we already have unionism on zonal basis and that the main purpose of the law is to set unions up on a national scale. General Eisenhower argued that it is the job of the Council to run Germany as a unit and that the members are wasting their time until this is settled.17

Marshal Zhukov asked for an amendment which would prohibit even nominal Nazis from holding office in a union. The British member argued that Potsdam Agreement had specifically excepted nominal Nazis,18 but Marshal Zhukov answered that the agreement was not referring to unions in making this exception.

At the suggestion of General Eisenhower, the bill was sent back to the Coordinating Committee.

The Council approved and signed the Legal Directorate’s proclamation to the German people on the fundamental principles by reform of the German judicial system.19 In spite of a desperate effort which the Soviet member of the Legal Directorate had made at the last minute to amend the proclamation to remove the independence of the judiciary and invalidating Nazi sentences on political grounds, Marshal Zhukov stated that the Soviets had changed their minds and no longer objected to the draft proclamation as it stands.

[Page 848]

Marshal Zhukov then proposed that the Coordinating Committee prepare a plan for the implementation of the Potsdam Agreement, so that the Council could take more active steps to carry it out. This proposal received the enthusiastic support of the British and US members, but the French member stated that he felt bound to refer to the French position as to the agreement which is generally known. The matter was referred to the Coordinating Committee.

Sent to Department as 820, repeated to Paris as 95.

  1. Control Council Law No. 3, Berlin, October 20, 1945, Official Gazette of the Control Council for Germany, No. 1 (October 1945), p. 23.
  2. The official minutes of this meeting (CONL/M(45)9), transmitted to the Department in despatch 1191, from Berlin, October 29, amplify the discussions at this point. “General Eisenhower then asked General Koenig if he would be ready to authorize the formation of Trade Unions on a broader basis than that of a zone. On General Koenig’s negative reply, as far as the present was concerned, Marshal Zhukov pointed out that the text to be signed would not in any way alter the present situation as Trade Union policy was at present subject to autonomous regulations in each zone. He then affirmed that the majority of the members of the Control Council felt that the organization of Trade Unions on a German nationwide basis would be desirable.” General Eisenhower then remarked: “The American delegation, as far as it was concerned, believed that the Control Council ought to treat Germany as a sole economic unit. If it continues to be the case that the Control Council cannot reach a unanimous agreement on this point and that it cannot formulate laws for the whole of Germany, it is preferable to discontinue its activity.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–2945)

    For further documentation on the question of trade unionism on an all-German basis, see pp. 1033 ff., passim.

  3. Reference is presumably to chapter III A, paragraph 6 of the “Report on the Tripartite Conference of Berlin”, Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, pp. 1499, 1503.
  4. Control Council Proclamation No. 3, Berlin, 20 October 1945, Official Gazette of the Control Council for Germany, No. 1 (29 October 1945), p. 22.