740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–2445

The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Matthews)

Dear Doc: The Soviet build-up of the Free Germany Committee15 and the growing use of German officers (Paulus–von Seydlitz16) in broadcasts to the German army added to the rumors of an extensive Russian program for the use of German prisoners of war in the post-defeat administration of Germany focus attention on the complete absence of any similar American preparation. In a mild way the British are doing a small amount of sifting of German prisoners of war in an effort to find individuals who may be of utility to them later in administrative positions as well as executive positions in business and industry.

As matters now stand we have lined up nobody on whom we could rely in the post-defeat period. This has the advantage of freeing us from any obligation towards individuals or organizations. Once in Germany we undoubtedly will have time to make our own selection after careful investigation.

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By contrast the Russians may make far more rapid administrative strides and develop more quickly not only an orderly public administration but industrial and agricultural production for their own benefit17—if that is their objective.

I believe that if we are to proceed as above that, immediately hostilities cease, the American public should be fully oriented through the press and radio regarding our policy and the reasons for it. Otherwise we shall undoubtedly suffer by comparison if the Soviet press and possibly our own correspondents point to eventual disparities in conditions. We have noted similar criticism by Pravda contrasting conditions in Rumania and Bulgaria with those in Italy. I urge that we take the initiative in Germany.

Yours ever,

Bob Murphy
  1. The Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland, a Soviet sponsored propaganda organization and “political movement” recruited from German political refugees and prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. Freies Deutschland was organized in Moscow on July 12, 1943, and carried on extensive propaganda via radio broadcasts and publications aimed at undermining the German Government and Armed Forces. For the founding of Freies Deutschland, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, pp. 552580, passim, and 602605. For documents on the Free Germany Movement, see the collection edited by its former chairman, Erich Weinert, Das Nationalkomitee “Freies Deutschland” (Berlin, Rütten and Loening, 1957).
  2. General Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus and General Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach, the highest ranking German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union who, through the associated organization, Bund Deutscher Offiziere, lent their active support to the Free Germany movement.
  3. Credence was given to Mr. Murphy’s fears by reports emanating from Sweden that administrative and political power on the local level was being given to the Free Germany Movement in German areas overrun by the Russians. These reports were transmitted to Mr. Matthews by Donald R. Heath, Counselor of Mission to the Political Adviser for Germany, in telegram 2524, March 10, from London. (862.01/3–1045)