740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–845: Telegram

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

478. As indicated by my 473 September 8, 8 p.m.61 an outstanding development in Russian occupation zone has now taken place with the launching of the expected program of agricultural land reform (reference my 457, September 5, 9 p.m.). Based on the pattern [Page 1051] established for province of Saxony,62 it may be expected that other provincial administrations in northeastern Germany will issue similar decrees in the very near future. Though this program seems highly desirable from viewpoint of destroying power of large landowners who have played such an important part in German militarism and Nazism, there are grounds for opposing the drastic and speedy way it will now apparently be carried through, for it will probably result in a further decline, for a year or so at least of vitally important food production in this part of Germany. There is also reason to expect that KPD may endeavor to win peasant support through this move, as suggested by Pieck’s reference, cited in press telegram under reference, to those “anti-Fascist” and “democratic” elements who will get priority in land distribution and by having actual distribution carried out by “locally elected” land committees acting under the supervision of the provincial governments. It is also worth noting that, although press and propaganda buildup claimed that all four political parties desire carrying out of this program now, the two center parties can at the most be described as reluctant fellow travellers on this issue and we know, for example, that at latest meeting of four party representatives 4 or 5 days ago, Dr. Koch, LPD leader, flatly refused to go along any further on the party bloc’s current press campaign for land reform until he could have an opportunity to discuss the whole question thoroughly with his party central committee.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The decree on land reform in Land Saxony, September 10, 1945, is printed in Royal Institute for International Affairs, Documents on Germany under Occupation, Beate Ruhm von Oppen (ed.) (London and New York, Oxford University Press, 1955); pp. 59–64. This is one of five land reform decrees published in the five Lander and provinces of the Soviet zone between September 3 and September 12.