862.00/9–545: Telegram

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

456. From several sources we have received reports that Russian plans for establishment of a German administration for Russian occupation zone are virtually complete (compare my 29 [291], August 13, 9 p.m.). Besides providing machinery for centralized control of northeastern Germany, it is possible, of course, that such an administration, or at least some of its key figures and departments, might be useful to the Russians later on in Allied negotiations for creation of central German Ministries,58 helping our eastern Ally to push forward her own already tested candidates. Some local contacts allege Russians may go ahead and set up central German administrative machinery on their own responsibility, but I see no reason to fear such a development in view of establishment and present functioning of the Allied Control Commission.

Key figures in the new Russian zonal administration will allegedly be the following: Ministry of trade, Buschmann, little known politically but described as strongly pro-Russian asbestos business man operating in Balkans during war; Justice, aged Eugene Schiffer, former Reich Justice Minister presumably picked on account of his moderate political views and age; Industry, Skrzypczinsky, described as young parlor Communist industrialist; Finance, Gleitze, about whom little known except that allegedly former trade union statistician; Labor, Wilhelm or Bernard Koenen, presumably the latter, but in either case a reliable Communist leader; Education, Wandel, described as publisher of present KPD organ Deutsche Volkszeitung, and possibly identical with Paul Wandel who signed Moscow Free Germany appeal; Railroads and Canals, Dr. Wilhelm Fitzner, Ebert’s59 son-in-law and SPD lawyer from Frankfurt on Oder and [Page 1049] presently chief [of] railway system in Russian zone; Fuel and Power, Dr. Ferdinand Friedensburg, Christian Democrat Union leader and head of Economic Section of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute; Agriculture, Edwin Hoernle, KPD leader; Social Welfare, Helmuth Lehman, leftwing SPD specialist on social insurance; Health, Professor Sauerbach, well known throat specialist, presently head of Health Department Berlin Administration, and also associated leadership new Christian Democrat Union; communications, Schroeder, KPD man, possibly identical with Willy Schroeder who was railway worker and Communist deputy Mecklenburg-Schwerin Landtag.

The above list indicates that this administration will consist largely of reliable Communists or other elements presumably susceptible to Russian control. Russians will also doubtless resort to tactic of selecting strong reliable Communists as deputies to aged or politically colorless chiefs of particular departments. For example, Gustav Dahrendorf, Left Wing Socialist, has been mentioned as possible deputy for Fuel and Power Ministry, and this tactic would almost certainly be applied to Ministry of Justice which always looms large in Communist plans.

  1. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 861 ff.
  2. Friedrich Ebert, President of Germany, 1919–1922.