562.5043/3–1346: Telegram

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


771. Forty-third Coordinating Committee meeting March 12 discussed Kommandatura request for decisions regarding two questions, namely, may officials of Berlin trade unions be elected or nominated to any position in Soviet zonal trade unions, and may Berlin and zonal trade unions amalgamate now.

(Background note: Some 150 Berlin free German trade union officials participated in Soviet zonal trade union conference at Berlin February 9 to 11. Upon learning of this during conference, French chairman of Kommandatura ordered them desist from further active participation. US delegate on Kommandatura, generally supported by his French and British colleagues, took position that at conference and without Kommandatura approval Berlin trade unions in effect had amalgamated with Soviet zonal trade unions through certain specified positive acts by some of the Berlin trade union officials in attendance. Soviet delegate maintained that these officials did not [Page 710]actively participate, that no confederation or amalgamation exists, and that order by Kommandatura chairman to officials to desist was invalid because he had issued without consulting his Soviet colleague, and that no Kommandatura action is necessary.)

US delegate Coordinating Committee stated that he was not opposed in principle to amalgamations, and was prepared to support them when they should be sanctioned on inter-zonal basis. French delegate replied no to both Kommandatura questions. British delegate recalled that Ninth Control Council meeting had decided trade union policy should be determined by respective zone commanders,47 and that decision had not been subsequently modified. Hence British considered that Kommandatura determines trade union policy for Berlin. British oppose any impingement on freedom of Berlin trade unions by “domination” from any zone. However, at such time as trade unions could adopt policy on unions for Germany as a whole, British would support their decision.

Advising caution and study in reaching conclusions, Soviet chairman proposed and obtained agreement from colleagues that Coordinating Committee refer Kommandatura questions to Political Directorate with instructions to study and if possible work out decisions.

  1. For a report on the discussion at the 9th meeting of the Allied Control Council, see telegram 820, October 20, 1945 from Berlin, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, p. 846.