740.00119 Control (Germany) /4–2746: Telegram

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


1118. Reference Dept’s 943, April 23, 7 p.m., and my 1016, April 13, 5 p.m. Soviets evidently came to April 26 Kommandatura meeting prepared to agree full[y] with General Barker’s April 12 proposal regarding recognition of both Social Democratic and United Socialist Parties throughout Berlin. However, no agreement was reached for reasons indicated below.

Prior to meeting, Kommandatura has received via the Berlin Magistrat a letter from newly-organized Berlin SEPD, dated April 24, asking for recognition and enclosing list of leaders and party’s program and constitution.

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Soviet representative opened Kommandatura discussion by emphasizing desire to avoid complicating Berlin political situation by delaying recognition of either recently-reorganized SPD, led by Germer, Neumann and Swolinsky,66 or the SEPD. He therefore suggested immediate recognition of both (thus accepting completely Barker’s April 12 proposal).

French representative then expressed view that question of recognizing SPD should be kept separate from that of SEPD, that the former is not a new party at all and in this case Kommandatura had only to recognize change in party leadership, and that as SEPD would be a party which may extend itself throughout Germany, Kommandatura hardly possessed jurisdiction to recognize it. Furthermore, SEPD application as received by Kommandatura claims that new party results from merger of SPD and KPD, a statement which does not agree with the facts, as only part of the SPD thus merged with the Communists.

Following lengthy discussion, in which British representative pretty much supported French, Barker was able to obtain quadripartite agreement on immediate recognition of SPD, which would be instructed to submit Kommandatura for latter’s information and possible discussion its program and constitution. However, French and British then refused to grant similar immediate recognition to SEPD, for reasons indicated above. British suggested that only Political Directorate of ACC could decide on recognition of this new party, quoting Soviet statement at last Kommandatura meeting (reported my 1059, April 19). Barker recommended that SEPD’s program and constitution be referred to Kommandatura’s local government committee for study and approval. At this point Soviet representative said that unless Kommandatura decided both SPD and SEPD questions simultaneously, he could not agree to immediate recognition of SPD. While regretting apparent inability of Kommandatura to settle both questions at this meeting, he was willing to refer status of both parties to either the Control Council or Kommandatura’s local government committee.

As a result, Kommandatura decided to submit question of both parties to Control Council (which will presumably refer it to Political Directorate).

It is regretted that Kommandatura failed to settle the question, particularly in view of Soviet willingness to meet April 12 American proposal, which at that time evidently had both French and British support. In accordance with Dept’s 943, we will continue to give all [Page 725]possible support to this plan for recognizing both SPD and SEPD on city-wide basis, and it is hoped that decision along these lines may be obtained in the Control Council. It is also worth noting that at Kommandatura meeting, Soviet representative repeatedly emphasized that he regards both SEPD and the present SPD as democratic anti-Fascist parties. There is implicit in this position also recognition of the Kommandatura’s authority in this matter.

  1. Otto Germer, Franz Neumann, and Kurt Swolinsky were co-chairmen of the SPD in Berlin.