862.00/8–2745: Telegram

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

377. Following will supplement what I have already reported regarding German Social Democrat movement which has developed in Berlin and the Russian Zone (see my 349, August 22, 10 p.m.).

[Page 1046]

Of the dozen odd members of the Central Committee only one, Gustav Dahrendorf, apparently favors outright merger of SPD53 with KPD, and thus the Right Wing definitely seems to control party leadership. Latter estimates party already has some 50,000 members in Berlin, as compared with 100,000 in 1932, and claims some 20,000 members outside Berlin in Brandenburg province. No figures yet available regarding party membership in other parts of Russian Zone.

Present Central Committee was provisionally confirmed by meeting of about 1500 party functionaries in Berlin two months ago, but leaders hope and plan that when they can make contact with Social Democrats in British, American, and French occupation Zones, party can be democratically organized and central Vorstand 54 selected by proper voting procedure.

As regards development of present bloc of the four so-called anti-Fascist parties, SPD leaders state there was nothing else they could do at the time, due to: occupation of Berlin by Russian troops alone; KPD manifesto with its insistence on such a bloc; and fact that public sentiment, particularly among the workers, definitely favored unity of anti-Fascist forces.

Cooperation between SPD and KPD is at present best at top levels and also far better on theoretical than practical issues. In fact many SPD lower administrative officials are by now pretty well fed up with Communist methods of “cooperation”. SPD leaders here believe their rank and file is definitely against merger of the two parties and becoming increasingly so.

As regards the Communists, SPD leaders provide following information. Ulbricht seems to be the dominating personality rather than aged Wilhelm Pieck. Ulbricht’s wife is Zhukov’s translator. KPD leaders who have returned from Moscow impress their SPD contacts as no longer thinking and acting as Germans but more as Russians. Chief figures in Berlin municipal administration are: Maran, Pieck, Jendretsky and Winzer, all of them Communists. Otto Brass, aged but nominal head of Russian-sponsored Trade Union movement, is now a member of KPD, and Chwalek, another Communist who stands very close to Ulbricht, is the main Communist figure in Trade Union Committee. Berlin radio administration contains many Moscow BDO55 figures, who were placed there to give impression of unpolitical personalities. The three other leading Russian-sponsored organizations, Cultural Union for Democratic Renovation of Germany, Central Youth Committee and Central Committee for victims of Fascism, [Page 1047] are definitely Communist auxiliaries and are dominated by Communists or Left Wing Socialists, despite impression given by filling some positions with nominally “parteilos” individuals such as Johannes Becher.

  1. Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (German Social Democratic Party).
  2. Directorate.
  3. Bund Deutseher Offiziere.