862.00/4–546: Telegram

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

secret

957. See my 931 April 1, 8 p.m.51 Despite the results of SPD (German Socialist Party) merger referendum it is evident that the question is far from settled. Berlin SPD Committee is now apparently sufficiently under control of Central Committee and pro-merger group that it has refused to press Soviet authorities for permission to hold referendum in their sector. Even if it does, we understand Central Committee will continue tactics of persuading Kreis and Abteilung Committees in Soviet sector to oppose referendum locally. Antimerger group fears that combination of clear Soviet desire to effect [Page 716]merger immediately and degree of control already possessed by Central Committee in party offices throughout sector will mean that most of the delegates from there who finally appear at the city party convention scheduled for April 13 will be either open advocates of merger or fear to oppose it despite presumed opposition of majority of party members. Delegates who still oppose merger may be weeded out and new pro-merger delegates elected in the next few days. Meanwhile, a campaign seems to be getting under way to avoid waiting for the party convention at all and instead at once complete the merger, at least on an organizational basis, wherever possible locally. My 956 April 5, cites press items indicative of these developments, Das Volk for April 3 being particularly significant.52

For these reasons anti-merger group is making plans, secret as yet, to call their own city convention next Sunday,53 inviting all delegates who have already been elected. Anti-merger group believes that in view of general sentiment among party members, as shown for example by March 31 referendum, this convention will elect a new City Committee, based on platform of continued existence of an SPD in Berlin, sever all contacts with present Central Committee and set up a new organization for Berlin alone, i.e. without any connection with the Soviet zone. Ability of such a party to function legally or in the long run in the Soviet sector seems problematical but its leaders believe it essential to reorganize the party at once, in view of complete disregard by Central Committee of the referendum results, democratic methods and principle of free discussion.

Murphy
  1. Not printed; this telegram reported the results of voting in the referendum in the U.S., British, and French sectors of Berlin as being against immediate merger of the SPD and the KPD by roughly a 19–2 ratio. The referendum was not allowed to take place in the Soviet sector of Berlin (862.00/4–146).
  2. Telegram 956 not printed. The article referred to in Das Volk featured a declaration by the Central Committee of the SPD calling for reorganization of those areas of the party where anti-merger elements had been active (862.00/4–546).
  3. April 7.