740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–2145: Telegram

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

583. As a result of manner in which land reform has been pushed through by Russians and their Communist satellites, and certain other issues recently handled by the four-party bloc (for example, KPD and SPD refusal to discuss advisability of reopening banks in Berlin and the Russian zone), the two center parties have become little more than reluctant fellow-voyagers in the bloc. Both Hermes and Koch, Christian Democrat Union and Liberal Democratic Party chiefs, inform us confidentially that time may soon come when their parties may have to give a flat “no” to future bloc proposals, even though such action may lead to drastic hindering of their party activities in northeastern Germany and to their being branded by Communists as “reactionary Fascist” elements. This is one reason for their strong desire to establish contact with political leaders of the center in western and southern Germany, where they feel the political faiths they represent will be able to express themselves much more freely than Russian press and radio censorship permits in this part of Germany. (We are studying this whole problem of permitting CDU, ILP and SPD leaders in Berlin to send representatives into our occupation zone, which we feel would be beneficial to both them and to their political colleagues there. So far KPD has never approached either my office or local Military Govt on this or any other project.)

Within the present four-party bloc here there is obviously a subbloc, consisting of SPD–KPD cooperation against the two center parties. In fact the SPD seems to hold the real balance of internal [Page 1056] political power in Germany. Sooner or later this party may have to face issue of a possible merger with KPD. So far neither party has formally approached the other in this matter, though it seems clear that KPD leaders are considering such a step, presumably dependent on Russian orders, and left wing Socialists such as Dahrendorf definitely favor such a merger. OSS has just obtained an interesting report from source allegedly close to Russians and Communists according to which Russians now realize that KPD has little popular support, in this part of Germany at any rate, and are therefore seriously considering dropping it as a political party, and instead pressing for an immediate merger of SPD and KPD, which they would hope to control through KPD and left wing leadership, together with their already effective press and radio censorship. SPD leaders assure us confidentially they would not even consider such merger until a nationwide party congress could be held, which would probably not be possible for at least a year, and also probably until they can establish contact with Socialists in France and Labor Party in Britain. It seems possible however that extreme Russian and KPD pressure, as well as policies of the center parties, might change this attitude.

As regards land reform, SPD leaders say that despite statements attributed to them in Russian-controlled Berlin press, they did not entirely support the present program, fearing its possible effects on food production and that the five hectare farms to be created will be too small for practical purposes, especially in Brandenburg’s poor soil.

Both Hermes and Koch emphasize that as far as their parties are concerned, land reform was carried through by force and continual pressure. For example, two days after they refused to endorse as a four-party press declaration a very “fiery” statement apparently drawn up by Communists and backed by both KPD and SPD, Marshal Zhukov summoned them to his office and accused them of being “Junker-Schuetzer”, adding that in contrast, he has [was?] “entirely satisfied with the SPD” on this issue. All four parties subsequently agreed on relatively calm press endorsement containing no reference to specific details of the program, such as possible indemnification for non-Nazi landowners, on which there had been disagreement within the bloc. Koch believes Communists will follow up settlement of this question with new demands, possibly for nationalization of large industries or for participation in industrial management by trade unions.

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According to British intelligence, Catholic priests are being instructed to support the Christian Democrat Union wherever it appears in Germany.