740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–1345: Telegram

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


767. The thirteenth meeting of the Coordinating Committee was held on October 12 with General Koeltz presiding.

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On several occasions during the past month the Soviet have alleged that the British have failed to supply their share of coal and food to Berlin. There have been differences in figures given and the Soviets have implied bad faith on the part of the British. Accordingly, the British member submitted a proposal alleging that the difficulty was in getting British trains through the Soviet zone to Berlin and asking for American or British control of the line between Helmstedt and Berlin. He stated that at least 16 trains a day were necessary and that an average of only 9 got through during September. The difficulty will be increased during the winter with increases of coal shipments from the Ruhr. He stated that it is necessary to get clearance all the way through from Berlin to the Ruhr so as to relate loading to train passages, and stated that the British had often had to turn back trains at Helmstedt as a result of non-acceptance by the Soviets. Finally he stated that the British could not take responsibility for supply to Berlin if they did not have control of the means of delivery. General Sokolovsky indignantly replied that after August the Soviets had accepted all the trains offered. He gave detailed figures as to the number of trains offered daily since September 1, claiming that the Soviets had been ready to accept more than the number of trains offered on each day. He stated that the British liaison officer at Helmstedt had made no complaints and that this appeared to him to be an unjust attempt by the British to get control of the railway [Page 883] which the Soviets need for the supply of their troops west of Berlin. It was decided to submit the problem to the Transport Directorate for study and to send a joint delegation of officers to Helmstedt to submit a daily report as to trains offered and accepted. The Department will recall that the Berlin-Helmstedt Line formerly was double tracked but by virtue of the removal of the rails by the USSR it is now only single track line. This is largely responsible for present operating difficulties and congestion.

In connection with this argument, General Clay stressed that the difficulty would be alleviated by the establishment of the German Central Administration of Transport. He asked his colleagues individually or collectively to join with the US Zone setting up a German operated inter-zonal transport administration. This would be done through the respective members of the Transport Directorate. French member stated that this would be a good plan but wanted it to be done among the Allies alone and not to involve German directions.29 He felt that such an inter-Allied authority would alleviate present difficulties. General Clay replied that this was an onerous task and concerned merely supply of Germans by Germans and should be undertaken by them. The other members were apparently in sympathy with American member, General Sokolovsky stating that in the Soviet Zone, the control of matters below policy level was in the hands of Germans. The minutes will record that General has invited inter-zonal arrangements on this basis, both in the field of transport and communications.30

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  1. Of. Clay, Decision in Germany, p. 110.
  2. Specifically the minutes (CORC/M(45)13) read: “He [General Clay] suggested to each of his colleagues that they should establish contact with the American zone, either individually or collectively, with a view to providing a joint transport organization. He asked that this question should be the subject of very serious consideration and that replies should be given to him at the next meeting.” The minutes of the thirteenth meeting of the Coordinating Committee were transmitted to the Department in despatch 1155, October 18, from Berlin. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–1845)