862.00/2–1546: Telegram

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


519. Announcement of April 7 unification of KPD and SPD in Thuringia and Grotewohl’s28 statement that SPD Central Committee will call zonal conference to decide on amalgamation came as distinct surprise to outside observers. Reference my 517 of February 15, 6 p.m.29 These events completely reverse SPD Central Committee decision of January 15 not to consider question until National Convention could be held and prohibiting labor party groups from acting on their own.

Ever since December 21, 1945, agreement30 between SPD and KPD the Communist and trade union press has reported hundreds of local [Page 703]and factory meetings throughout Soviet zone and in other zones demanding earliest possible unification. Behind many such meetings seems to be direct Russ MG pressure. Several SPD delegates to the Zonal Trade Union Conference of Feb 9–11 privately stated to officers of my staff that they had personally been subjected to this pressure and that they did not want amalgamation. Two SPD delegates from Thuringia stated that their Soviet MG political officer had ordered them to agitate at the Trade Union Convention for unification on penalty of being arrested when they returned. Grotewohl and the other top SPD leaders have repeatedly been called to Karlshorst and urged by Gen Bukow and Marshal Zhukov to amalgamate with the KPD. We are informed that some dissidents have been sent into concentration camps including Sachsenhausen Camp. On the other hand it appears that especially in ever-radical Land Saxony and Thuringia many SPD members and leaders have sincerely supported creation of one labor party and even in the underground days of Hitler domination dreamed of such development. Max Fechner31 has publicly stated that in April 1945 he proposed to KPD immediate amalgamation. At that time KPD leaders refused, presumably believing their party would be strong enough alone in Soviet zone. Only when public reaction against Red Army and dictatorship of KPD became obvious did the Communists plump for amalgamation.

Grotewohl’s decision was taken after talks with Schumacher and other leaders in British zone. Schumacher refused to consider a national convention and any cooperation with Eastern Social Democrats. Finding also that western powers did not give what he regarded as sufficient support Grotewohl decided to yield. Convention decision to amalgamate is practically certain. Grotewohl will remain in Berlin in United Party in spite of British efforts to persuade him to move west. British Intelligence officers say Gustav Dahrendorf32 will move with his family to British zone. They are holding a plane ready for him and others who want to go.

Sent Dept as 519, rptd to London for Berger33 and Mulliken34 as 99 and Moscow as 45.

  1. Otto Grotewohl, Chairman of the Central Committee of the SPD, Berlin.
  2. Not printed; this telegram reported on a convention in Berlin, February 9–11, of delegates of the Free German Trade Union Association (FDGB) from the Soviet zone and Berlin (862.504/2–1546).
  3. Reference is to the joint resolution mentioned in telegram 74, January 9, supra.
  4. Member of the SPD.
  5. Member of the SPD.
  6. Samuel Berger, Attaché, U.S. Embassy, London.
  7. Otis E. Mulliken, Chief of the Division of International Labor, Social and Health Affairs; adviser, U.S. delegation, first session, United Nations General Assembly, London, January–February 1946.