740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–2145

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

No. 673

Sir: I have the honor to transmit a memorandum by a member of my staff on observations on the situation in Munich, together with an appendix on the views of leading Social Democrats in Munich. This material throws some further light on potentialities for political action and the balance of forces in Bavaria, though naturally no accurate [Page 951] appraisal of popular support for the tendencies discussed can be made at this time.

Respectfully yours,

Robert Murphy

Memorandum by Mr. Brewster Morris, Secretary of Mission, Office of the United States Political Adviser for Germany

During the recent visit to Munich of Captain Richey59 and myself we had an opportunity to talk to a great many Germans, including ordinary workers and other civilians, political leaders and Germans employed in the Military Government administration.

As regards the present ban on political activity, we were interested to note that except for the Communists (Free Germany group) who are vociferous in demanding that political activity be permitted, practically all other Germans we spoke to favor the present ban. In so doing, they argue that the German people have many more vital activities to concern themselves with at present, in particular the provision of food, housing and the like, and also that following over twelve years of no political activity, the average German is at present totally unprepared for it. In other words, life must first get back to normal.

These views are interesting, though in considering them from the point of view of American policy, we should of course bear in mind the fact that political activity is now being permitted in the Russian Zone, and presumably with a view to giving dominating power to only one group, the Free Germany Movement.60

My own opinion is that, though we need not worry about this problem of political activity in the immediate future, there are other more serious reasons for concern. The present economic and social dislocation, and particularly the suffering and possible chaos which will probably develop in the next year or two, particularly next winter, together with our negative, hesitating policy toward Germany, including the field of propaganda, may well tend to swing large masses of the German people to the extreme political camps of both Right and Left. At the same time Russian propaganda will probably continue to paint a rosy picture, giving promises of hope for the future, all of which will help accelerate this movement.

[Page 952]

As regards Russian propaganda, I was interested to note that although many Bavarians still listen with great eagerness to the Berlin broadcasts and to propaganda apparently disseminated by local Communist circles, some news of the really difficult conditions in the Soviet Zone is beginning to filter into Bavaria, brought back by returning civilians and German soldiers.

Following my observations in the Munich area, I should like to go on record as advocating a relaxation in our present non-fraternization policy. As reported General Smith61 has just submitted a report to General Clay on the Military Government of Bavaria under the direction of Colonel Keegan, with particular reference to the problems of denazification, appointments of Germans, and public relations, including the American press.62

As regards the Bavarian Freedom Action Committee (FAB), local Military Government authorities believe this movement is now pretty well under control. As a matter of fact, its two leaders are secretly doing some work for Military Government, in the field of denazification and helping round up SS63 troops in the mountains.

Though the Werewolves appear to be quiet as yet, one or two leaflets have been turned into CIC64 warning Germans not to cooperate with Military Government and signed by “Adolf Hitler Freikorps.” I am attaching a short report65 on the views of the local leading Social Democrats, and also preparing a separate report on the local Free Germany group.

Brewster Morris
  1. Capt. Homer G. Richey was a member of Mr. Murphy’s staff.
  2. For documentation relating to political activity in the Soviet zone, see pp. 1033 ff.
  3. Brig. Gen. Luther Smith was Chief of G–5 Section, U.S. Group, Control Council.
  4. In telegram 164, July 14, 10 p.m., from Hoechst, Mr. Murphy reported that, due to press criticism of the Military Government in Bavaria, General Clay had appointed an investigating board to inquire into the situation. Brewster Morris, of Mr. Murphy’s staff, had been chosen a member of this board and summarized its findings for Murphy. Concerning denazification, the Military Government authorities had failed to carry out effectively the relatively radical policy directive under which they were to operate. Regarding the new appointments of German officials in Bavaria, the various religious faiths had been fairly represented; Communists and Social Democrats were represented more by accident than by design. Finally, the board felt that the public relations of Col. Charles E. Keegan, Head of the Regional Military Government, had not been adequately handled, thus leaving him and his administration open to criticism, often based on ignorance of the enormity of Military Government problems. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–1445)
  5. Schutzstaffeln, Elite Corps (Black Shirts) of the Nazi Party, used for military and police purposes.
  6. Counter Intelligence Corps.
  7. Not printed.