740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–1445: Telegram

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

515. Hermes, Christian Democratic Union leader, has given us confidentially the following details indicative of Russian and Communist [Page 1053] tactics in handling present land reform issue (see my 521, September 14, 5 p.m.65).

Just before Saxon Provincial Government issued its decree, local four party representatives met at Halle to consider land reform question. CDU (Christian Democratic Union) contended it should be put before all four Allies and decided on that basis, rather than by Russians alone acting in their occupation zone. Local Russian commander at once warned that any such attitude on part of CDU would be regarded by Russians as indicative of “lack of confidence” in Soviet occupation power.

Two days ago, Berlin KPD committee summoned Hermes and other CDU party leaders to meeting at which they demanded that CDU endorse Communist land reform program, which is now being carried out in Saxony. Hermes refused and tells us that though the political bloc of four parties is still “carrying on” situation has become “very difficult” as result of tension which has developed from way Communists have pushed through land reform program without real consideration by or agreement with the other three parties.

Hermes hopes that the British, Americans and French share his view that land reform issue should be decided on an Allied basis, but points out that his party alone can do little to halt the present tide.

  1. Not printed. In this telegram Mr. Murphy requested the Department’s views as to whether the Russians should be questioned in the Control Council on the land reform program. He suggested that reference could be made to the Potsdam Declaration’s intent to insure uniform treatment for all Germany, and to the effect the reform program might have on food production in northeastern Germany. “Viewed from the Potsdam agreement, there is some reason to feel that the Russians should have at least consulted us before launching this program in their occupation zone. It may be that, providing they succeed in pushing this through without a murmur from any of the other three occupation powers, they will embark on other similar ‘reforms’, such as nationalization of banks and insurance companies, large industries, et cetera.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–1445)