862.00/9–545: Telegram

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

457. German Communist propaganda for the division of large agricultural landholdings under the slogan “Junkerland must become peasantland” has hit a new high in the last few days (see for example my 428, September 1, 194560). The present bloc of four political parties has been pressed into service in this connection by having editorials appear simultaneously in their newspapers and trade union organizations have also been used to voice these demands. Latest press articles, expressed most vociferously in the Berlin KPD paper and in the Berliner Zeitung, have underlined the theme “What are we waiting for?” and “Action now—dont dawdle any more”.

It is of course true that most democratic opinion in Germany desires the eventual realization of this program. Russians and their Communist satellites are probably pushing it with idea of: winning KPD support from the peasant beneficiaries; and providing land and occupations for some of thousands of German refugees now streaming in [Page 1050] from territories east of Oder River, as well as factory workers being left without jobs due to Russian removals of plant and machinery, both in form of reparations and unrecorded seizures. Its effect on food production in northeastern Germany, which is already precarious enough, may well be serious and for this reason alone leaders of the two center parties and some leaders of KPD party admit it should probably not be carried out too drastically at the moment. Due however to present press censorship and workings of political party bloc, such sentiments cannot well be expressed openly.

Present press and general propaganda buildup is probably intended to present whatever action Russian authorities may take in their zone as being fully in accord with the plainly expressed desire of all progressive Germans. There is reason to believe that Russians have just about completed plans for establishing a German administrative apparatus (reference to my 291, August 15 [13], 9 p.m.) for their occupation zone, in which a reliable Communist Edwin Hoernle, will allegedly head Ministry of Agriculture, and it may be that this machinery will be used to carry out the above program.

The available but scanty intelligence suggests that Russians have not yet really started to carry program through, though it is noted that Moscow radio broadcast in mid-July that all big estates in Saxony would be broken up by autumn and at meeting of Brandenburg province trade unions held a few days ago it was stated that action had already been taken in some places on the projected division of large estates.

This whole problem is an interesting example of an objective which appears most desirable in the long run from the viewpoints of both American policy towards Germany and the wishes of democratic Germans, but which is now being pushed hastily forward with the aid of the political bloc and press censorship system established by the Russians prior to arrival of western Allies in Berlin.

  1. Not printed; this telegram was a press digest for August 19–28 (862.9111RR/9–145).