740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–2245: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

2888. From Murphy. SHAEF has asked my concurrence in a proposal to concentrate within a suitable area the various fragments of the German ministries which have been found to date. This proposal pertains primarily to archives and offices, and the top German personnel would be kept under arrest, although for intelligence purposes they also might later be concentrated near the point of collection. The area suggested as most suitable is one that would be in the vicinity of Cassel, and I personally have no objection to the proposal as it [Page 863] might be found convenient to have the ministry centrally located in relation to the final zones of occupation.

I do take exception, however, to the reason given in a SHAEF paper in support of the proposal which is, namely, that while it is not intended during the SHAEF period to execute military government through any centralized German authority, it is clear from the meeting between the Supreme Commander and the Prime Minister77 that at least British policy is tending towards the establishment at an early date of some German government (see my No. 2887, May 22, 10 p.m.78). Pending receipt of the Department’s views, I intend to enter a strong reservation on this point, as I do not believe that it is in accordance with our own policy.

In the above general connection I cannot help but perceive some significance in the fact that despite SHAEF’s order to Montgomery79 to place the Doenitz government under arrest80 as soon as possible, it has been reported to me that as late as yesterday afternoon they were still to be seen walking around the streets of Flensburg. [Murphy.]

  1. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  2. Ante, p. 302.
  3. Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, Commander in Chief, 21st Army Group.
  4. Reference is to the so-called Acting Reich Government of Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz; see telegram 2911, from Paris, May 23, p. 783. Dönitz and other officers were arrested on May 23; for further information, see Forrest C. Pogue, The Supreme Command, in the official Army history United States Army in World War II: The European Theater of Operations (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1954), p. 499.