740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–1045

The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Riddleberger)

Dear Jimmie: There has been a slight delay in receiving your letter of December 499 as it was mislaid during my absence from London.1

[Page 926]

I am certainly most grateful to you for all the helpful interest you have taken in getting this little show of ours started in life. Things are now much better on the London end. My principal disappointment is our failure to get one of the officers now at AFHQ,2 … during these past weeks for duty at SHAEF Main, in France. What has been needed there is an experienced officer who knows the ways and wiles of a large headquarters, specializing on the German business, so that he could be on tap at all times that SHAEF takes decisions regarding Germany. This has been practically every day. SHAEF refers the least possible to Washington and the CCS3 because sometimes CCS may take months to answer. That’s just fine but as the pattern of policy may thus be laid by day to day decisions in the MG4 field, PWD5 matters, etc., a member of my staff should be here when I am on the other side. On January 20 the advance echelon of the US Group CC moves over here and some of our personnel will move with the advance party. I spend as much time as possible here but when in London all I have here is a corporal.…

Now, about the War Department’s objection to giving me a large office which will be separate and apart from the Control Council establishment, it seems to me that the approach is wrong. I would never have emphasized the need of a “large” office. Obviously WD6 would shrink from that one. All I have said is that there is need for the Department to have its own channel of communication between it and its principal representative in Germany. The position of Political Adviser you will recall is placed in the organization outline of the tripartite control machinery on the top level, as distinguished from the Political Division—one of the 12 divisions.

Most certainly the UK, USSR and France will insist on their Political Advisers having direct communication with their FOs.7 They have done so in all other areas. The first thing that the Russians did on arriving in Italy was to set up their own radio link with the FO in Moscow.8 I wouldn’t talk about size. If we have our own communications privilege, then obviously we shall need staff. Cipher [Page 927] clerks alone will amount to eight or ten at least I imagine. You go on from there and build as you go. If on the other hand, you engage with the WD in discussion about TO,9 the matter is placed on a military basis and you won’t get anywhere. The Department’s representative must be on the top level, as well as in the lower bracket and we must fight any tendency to put us entirely in a subordinate position. Unconsciously some army people will do that; others may do it consciously. Don’t forget that there may be a tendency on the part of some officers to eliminate civilian participation as far as they can.

It should be remembered too that the Political Division of the CC will be a staff section whose communications should pass through the commanding officer in charge. That means technically that if the latter did not approve the transmission of a given item, he could prevent its transmission. Naturally I don’t believe that would happen and certainly with our present relationship in the Group with General Wickersham, the Acting Deputy in charge, there is absolutely no difficulty, but we must guard against the future possibility.

I shall be perfectly happy to work out this problem on the spot and would prefer that no large issue be raised with the WD at this time about it. But, on the point about an independent communications channel between the Department and its chief representative we should be adamant. I am told that OWI10 has raised the same question about its representatives, but I think they are in a different category and the Department, as the senior governmental agency, is definitely an exception to the regular rule about channels.

Military developments have thrown out of gear many tentative schedules including our own. In certain respects, looking at the progress made in planning and the personnel available for the American participation in the control machinery—I don’t refer only to the State Department personnel but also army and navy, the delay in that connection may be considered an act of charity.11

. . . . . . .

Yours ever,

Bob Murphy

[For information regarding the mission of the United States Group, Control Council for Germany, see message from the Commanding General, European Theater of Operations, United States Army, to [Page 928] Brigadier General Cornelius W. Wickersham, Acting Deputy, United States Group, Control Council for Germany, January 15, 1945, page 171.]

  1. This letter, not printed, dealt with several topics. The most pertinent in the present context described the disinclination of the War Department to agree to Murphy’s having a large office separate from the Control Council organization. Mr. Riddleberger inquired if Murphy had any strong feelings as to whether his [Murphy’s] staff should be in a separate office under him or in the Political Division of the Control Council. (HICOG Files; 1944–49: Ambassador Murphy Correspondence)
  2. The U.S. Group, Control Council for Germany, was located in the London area, where it had been activated during October 1944. This body was the U.S. planning agency for Germany and was intended to become the top echelon U.S. Military Government headquarters. It included State Department personnel in its political affairs subdivision. For reference to further information on the mission of U.S. Group, Control Council, see bracketed note infra. Mr. Murphy was Director of the Political Division, U.S. Group, Control Council.

    Mr. Murphy also had an office in Versailles by virtue of his role as Political Adviser to Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF, Main).

  3. Allied Force Headquarters.
  4. Combined Chiefs of Staff.
  5. Military Government.
  6. Psychological Warfare Division.
  7. War Department.
  8. Foreign Offices.
  9. For documentation pertaining to the interest of the Soviet Union In developments relating to the overthrow of the Fascists, and Italy’s surrender and recognition as a co-belligerent, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, pp. 314 ff., passim.
  10. Presumably, Tables of Organization.
  11. Office of War Information.
  12. In a reply dated February 20, Riddleberger said that discussions were still going on with the War Department over the whole question of civilian personnel. The State Department, he also indicated, was prepared to insist on Murphy’s right to communicate freely and independently with it, although no difficulty had arisen over this point so far. (HICOG Files; 1944–49: Ambassador Murphy Correspondence)