740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–1946: Telegram

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


1059. Quadripartite control of Berlin has been adversely affected by latest developments in the field of Kommandatura jurisdiction over political parties.

At April 12 Kommandatura meeting (my 1016, April 13) American representative, supported by British and French, recommended formulation of Kommandatura rules for supervision of Berlin parties. Soviet representative at first maintained there were no “Berlin parties” as such and then stated that this question of Kommandatura jurisdiction and supervision could only be decided by Political Directorate of the ACC.

Dept will note from my 1018, April 1363 that Political Directorate paper on supervision of parties, agreed to on April 11, omitted specific reference to jurisdiction of Kommandatura in Berlin, in accordance with Soviet insistence that this fact was so self-evident that it need not be stated in writing.

Within the last few days the SEPD has begun to function in Berlin but has not yet approached Kommandatura for license to operate. Its [Page 722]operations include publication of a Soviet-licensed daily newspaper (Vorwaerts) and holding of public meetings, the latter so far only in Soviet sector of city.

Meanwhile the anti-merger SPD group is unable to function as a political party in Soviet sector, and this situation will presumably continue as long as Soviets refuse to discuss the whole question in the Kommandatura, as they did on April 12. Thus while Soviets have not hesitated to permit action in launching the SEPD as a Berlin political party, those Social Democrats who wish to preserve their party are forced to lie low in Eastern Berlin (see also my 1045, March [April] 1864 regarding SPD, and SEPD pressure).

With the object of reversing the present trend toward dividing Berlin into two halves, from point of view of its political parties and their treatment by the occupation powers, and of promoting quadripartite control of the entire city, we propose advising that steps be taken to bring the whole question up at once for positive attention by the occupation powers, with a view to having the SEPD submit to Kommandatura jurisdiction and to obtaining agreement to General Barker’s proposal as regards both SPD and SEPD, as reported in my 1016. If Soviets refuse to accept it, claiming for example that SPD has already been merged with KPD, we would advise that SPD’s continued existence in our sector should be authorized (British and French will presumably do the same). Consideration would also be given to the position of SEPD in Berlin, which has been formed in a thoroughly undemocratic manner and is now operating without regard to quadripartite jurisdiction. American representative in Kommandatura would then disapprove license SEPD for Berlin, and if Soviets then insist on permitting this party in their sector, we would advise that it be prohibited in the U. S. sector. It is hoped that these tactics would persuade the Soviet representative to accept a reasonably satisfactory and workable quadripartite solution of political problems in the Berlin Kommandatura.

Quadripartite control of Berlin is now an active issue. It seems clear that the American representative in the Kommandatura may have to take a definite position soon, as the settlement of the issues involved cannot be postponed without endangering the whole position of the Kommandatura and democratic processes in Berlin. In view of importance of these issues (including the need to encourage the democratic political parties and their leaders at this juncture) I should appreciate for my confidential guidance any views the Dept may care to express in advance of the next meetings of the Kommandatura and Coordinating Committee, both of which are scheduled for April 26.

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