740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–2145: Telegram

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

1316. 1. Fifteenth meeting of Control Council yesterday,61a US member presiding, witnessed a heated flare-up in discussion of the Coordinating Committee’s report on German units in the British zone.62

2. Zhukov said he agreed with the terms of the report (see my 1287, December 18, 7 p.m.63), but he had a statement to make. He was prepared to receive into the Russian zone transfers of disbanded personnel from the British zone. He then referred to the some 36,000 troops of other nationalities than German and the statement in the British paper that many of these did not desire to return to their homes. Zhukov said he had no such info and he requested Montgomery to check his reports “carefully and objectively”.

He was of the opinion, in any event, that these troops should not be kept in the British zone.

Zhukov then stated he had info that Germans in the British zone, numbering some thousands, were being recruited in the British Army. They were made up of former German armored personnel, aviators, ground crews, engineers, chauffeurs, and Navy personnel, and the centers of recruitment were Hamburg, Kiel, Luebeck, and Muenster. With reference to Russian info that there were some 60,000 Poles in the British zone, Zhukov maintained that in Hamburg 30,000 of these [Page 860] were wearing British uniforms. His remarks were not intended to relate to Poles who had fought on the side of the British, and Zhukov said that he raised the question because the recruitment of these particular Polish units was in charge of the former Polish General Staff of the London Govt and was being handled by General Matchek,64 the right hand man of General Anders.65 Zhukov’s personal opinion was that the recruiting and use of such units was undesirable since the British now maintained normal diplomatic relations with the Warsaw Government. In conclusion, Zhukov inquired concerning the purpose of British recruiting of Germans and other nationalities, which he said was not in accord with the primary task of occupation.

Montgomery stated he would investigate the points mentioned by Zhukov and then asked outright that the Marshal confirm that he had said that the British authorities were enlisting Germans in the British Army. Zhukov confirmed that he had made this statement and mentioned a number of places where such recruiting was supposed to have taken place. Thereupon Montgomery said “it is not true” and that he had nothing more to say. With respect to the Poles, Montgomery continued that he was not prepared to discuss in the Control Council his Govt’s relationship to the Polish Govt. He recommended that the question of German units should be permitted to proceed along the lines of the report adopted by the Coordinating Committee since this seemed to offer a solution acceptable to everybody.

Zhukov said he was satisfied with the British statement in the report but that he had thought it necessary to bring up the matter of the recruitment by the British of Poles and other nationalities which had fought for the Germans, since as an immediate neighbor of Montgomery’s he was “very much concerned”.

The Control Council finally approved the Coordinating Committee’s report, taking note of Zhukov’s and Montgomery’s remarks after the latter’s statement that he will furnish info for the next meeting on January 10 on the points raised by Zhukov.66

3. With respect to the proposal for the establishment by the occupying powers of consular offices throughout Germany Zhukov stated that the Soviet Govt for the time being was not agreeable to the proposed opening of such offices (see my 1231, December 11, 2 p.m.). Zhukov repeated the words “for the time being”. It was agreed that each national member should report to his Govt on the present [Page 861] status in the Allied Control authority the proposal with a view to raising the question on the governmental level. (General Clay may possibly report this matter to War Dept, but should he not do so, the report given herewith could be accepted as a basis for our further action, after notification to the War Dept.)

4. The Control Council approved and signed the law on punishment of war crimes67 (see my 1287, December 18, 7 p.m.68) and agreed to its release to the press at 6 p.m., Berlin time, December 24.

Repeated to London as 180 and Moscow as 107.

  1. This was the final Control Council meeting for 1945. The meeting scheduled for December 30 was cancelled by agreement at the 11th meeting, November 13.
  2. CONL/P(45)70, transmitted to the Department in despatch 1607, January 2, 1946, from Berlin, not printed.
  3. Not printed; this telegram reported discussions of the problem at the 27th meeting of the Coordinating Committee, December 17. At that meeting the British member announced a plan for the disbandment of German formations in the British zone by January 31, 1946. He asked for the cooperation of the other zonal commanders to implement the plan and complained about the Russian refusal to grant transit facilities for the repatriation of Hungarians and Rumanians.

    At the 27th meeting of the Coordinating Committee, the Soviet member also indicated, in connection with consideration of a proposal providing for unrestricted inter-zonal travel by Germans, that while he did not oppose the principle of free inter-zonal travel, he could not agree to its practical implementation at the present time (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–1845).

  4. Presumably Gen. Stanisław Maczek.
  5. Gen. Władysław Anders, Commander of the II Polish Corps.
  6. Discussion on this subject continued at subsequent Control Council meetings in 1946. Following the meeting of that body on February 11, Mr. Murphy reported in telegram 428, February 12, 1946, 5 p.m., from Berlin, that the exchange between the Soviet and British members “was marked by the obviousness of the Soviet desire to embarrass and irritate the British delegation. Zhukov, regardless of painstaking British effort to explain, persisted in stating that explanations given were unsatisfactory.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–1246)
  7. Control Council Law No. 10. Berlin, 20 December 1945, Official Gazette of the Control Council for Germany, No. 3 (31 January 1946), p. 50.
  8. Not printed; this telegram reported discussions at the 27th meeting of the Coordinating Committee, December 17, concerning the final amendments to the law on war crimes. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–1845)