862.00/1–946: Telegram

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


74. Though certain SPD elements in Berlin and Russian zone doubtless favor merger with KPD and others may eventually give in to further pressure for such a move, we believe that the majority of those leaders who agreed to joint declaration mentioned in my telegram No. 1357, December 30, 1945, 1 a.m.20 regarded it as mainly a maneuver to gain further time. As KPD demanded an immediate merger, preferably on national or otherwise on local basis wherever possible, and also use of joint lists of election candidates, it is clear that declaration issued represented a compromise rather than complete surrender by SPD.

According to reliable SPD sources, this declaration has already caused dissatisfaction and criticism within party circles in this part of Germany. SPD leaders in British and American zones have also been quick to condemn both proposed merger and right of Berlin Committee to make statement concerning elections in American zone. Press reports indicate that Schumacher21 went so far as to base his public repudiation of merger with Communists on grounds that latter are representatives of a foreign imperial power.

It may be anticipated that the battle for merger has only just begun and that the next few weeks may witness increased Communist pressure on SPD in Berlin and Russian zone. If Central Committee stands fast, pressure may be brought to bear on provincial SPD leaders in the same manner as was used in campaign to eliminate Hermes22 as CDU leader. (Reference my telegram No. 1345, December 29, 1945.23.

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From both SPD and CDU sources we are informed that during December negotiations with KPD, SPD leaders were invited to Zhukov’s24 headquarters and informed that Russians were most anxious to see merger of the two workers parties and would presumably be able to withdraw most or all of their occupation forces from Germany, once this step were taken to consolidate the anti-Fascist democratic forces.

CDU situation has quieted down since transmission of my telegram No. 1345. It is now pretty clear that a definite understanding exists between Hermes and Schreiber25 and their successors. Latter will carry on with party leadership as best they can while Hermes endeavors to build up the party in western and southern Germany. Kaiser26 and Lemmer27 realize they must refrain from criticism of policies carried out in Russian zone. They seem, however, just as opposed as their predecessors to having statements made and actions taken in name of their party which they do not approve of.

  1. Reference is to a resolution approved at a conference in Berlin of the KPD and SPD central committees together with provincial representatives from the Soviet zone; the document called for unity on the part of the working class with the peasantry and creative intelligentsia against reactionary influences. For the text of telegram 1357, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, p. 1083.
  2. Kurt Schumacher, head of the SPD in the British Zone of Occupation in Germany.
  3. Andreas Hermes, Chairman of the CDU in the Soviet Zone of Occupation until December 1945.
  4. Not printed; this telegram reported on the campaign in the Soviet-controlled press connected with the ouster of Andreas Hermes from leadership of the CDU in the Soviet zone (862.00/12–2845). For further details on this subject, see telegram 1344, received December 29, from Berlin, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, p. 1079.
  5. Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgiy Konstantinovich Zhukov, Chief of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany.
  6. Walter Schreiber, Deputy Chairman of the CDU, Soviet Zone of Occupation.
  7. Jakob Kaiser, Chairman of the CDU, Soviet Zone of Occupation.
  8. Ernst Lemmer. Deputy Chairman of the CDU, Soviet Zone of Occupation.