855.24/3–1445: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

755. I have received Department’s telegram sent to Brussels and repeated to this Mission as 517, March 6, 9 p.m.13 concerning exports from areas in Germany occupied by Allied forces, and I note the Department’s view that more extensive exports of this nature should be undertaken only after consultation with the Russians.

I have no comment to make on this view and will await further instructions concerning such consultations, which will presumably fall within the sphere of activity of the preliminary reparations commission contemplated by the Crimea decisions. I feel I should make it clear, however, that until such discussions are held we have no indication that the Russians will be bound by any similar scruples, as far as their zone of occupation is concerned. All available evidence would indicate that they feel themselves free to take whatever they find there which they need, and that they are proceeding to do so. The Soviet press has indicated that German war plants in Soviet occupied areas are considered as booty and are already being adapted to production for Soviet needs. Experience in satellite countries, furthermore, has made it clear that lack of preliminary tripartite consultations [Page 1177] will not inhibit Russian commanders from removing to the Soviet Union such supplies, equipment, and even such human labor contingents, as they see fit.

  1. For text of telegram 159 to Brussels, see vol. iv, p. 92; it stated that United States approval had been given to the policy of delivering limited quantities of German goods to liberated areas in the case of commodities deemed essential to the economy of these areas. The question was soon to be taken up in the Combined Civil Affairs Committee.