740.00119 Control (Germany) /5–146: Telegram

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


1140. Twenty-seventh Control Council meeting 29 April discussed Kommandatura questions about Berlin and Soviet zonal trade unions. (See my 1129, April 29.67) Discussion was noteworthy for success of General McNarney68 in extracting from General Sokolovsky69 affirmation of Kommandatura authority over Berlin trade unions.

At outset General McNarney stated staunch belief in role of free trade unions as democratizing force in Germany, said US Delegation was interested in zonal amalgamations, recalled that Control Council had never established principle of authority zonal commanders and Kommandatura over trade unions, and said hiatus should be filled to assure that such vexatious problems did not arise again. He recommended members agree following draft principle: “Control Council approves in principle participation by a German in any zone in approved activities of other zones, also affiliation approved Berlin organizations with corresponding approved organizations in the several zones. In each instance, however, clearance for individual and organizations must be granted by both zone commanders concerned and in case of Berlin, by Kommandatura and zone commander concerned.”

British member70 approved draft in principle and suggested referring it to Coordinating Committee for final drafting.

French member71 said that although draft principle approached [Page 726]nearer his conception of things than an earlier proposal, it embodied a larger conception of trade unions than he had yet accepted and he must consequently seek instructions from his Government before he could act. In meantime, he did not object to referring draft to Coordinating Committee for deliberation.

There followed long discussion between Generals Sokolovsky and McNarney, latter seeking to elicit definite Soviet acceptance of draft as basis for Coordinating Committee deliberations aimed at working out satisfactory text and implementation. Soviet member said his Delegation considered free trade unions should be allowed everywhere [in] Germany, and that to put obstacles in their way would retard democratization Germany. He expressed perplexity about provision “clearance for individual” in draft, which he felt was unnecessary concern by a zone commander with “every anti-Fascist who might want to join a trade union or political party”. He asserted that such responsibility would necessitate enormous force of occupation and administration, whereas Fascist and militarist organizations were real concern and responsibility of zone commanders and Kommandatura. He agreed to principle these authorities should control organizations and activities of trade unions and political parties but could not agree that such control should extend so far as to stifle their activities.

To this General McNarney rejoined that, as zone commander, he had always felt and exercised responsibilities for vetting individuals; he could not agree that a trade union label raised every bearer above suspicion of being a Nazi. Moreover, although an individual desiring join trade union might do so without license, Potsdam protocol had created responsibility for denazification72 that obliged zone commanders (including Kommandatura in Berlin zone) to guard against infiltration of trade unions by Nazis and Fascists. Consequently, as zone commander, he could not relinquish control over such individuals particularly should they come to fill responsible positions in a trade union.

General Sokolovsky then said he was satisfied with interpretation of “clearance for individuals” and could completely concur with draft principle.

General McNarney also reassured General Koenig that draft principle would not operate to impinge on his authority or impede him in carrying out his responsibilities regarding trade union activities in his zone.

Adverting to earlier remark by General McNarney, Field Marshal Montgomery suddenly said he believed there is large gulf, not a few [Page 727]words, separating members. He felt Soviets desired break down zonal barriers to trade unions and thus create one Germany for them. He asked whether Soviet colleague was prepared to have one Germany in every respect (“real Potsdam”).

General Sokolovsky expressed astonishment at this question and at his British colleague’s belief large gap divided members. He then put same question to Montgomery who, off the record, said he would answer it later.

At this point General McNarney felt obliged to state that the four delegations could not all go separate ways; that as Control Council members they were there to attain agreement even through compromise; that either paper could be referred to Coordinating Committee as agreed in principle, or chaotic condition must continue.

On reiteration by General Sokolovsky that he agreed to draft principle as interpreted by its author but did not agree to control of each anti-Fascist and anti-militarist, General McNarney proposed and obtained general agreement that his draft principle be referred to Coordinating Committee for attempt to determine whether agreement was possible on its text and implementation, and that Committee be instructed to report to next Control Council meeting.73

  1. Not printed; this telegram reported on inconclusive debate on this subject at the 51st Coordinating Committee meeting, April 26 (740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–2946).
  2. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, Military Governor, U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany; U.S. member, Allied Control Council for Germany.
  3. General Sokolovsky had succeeded Marshal Zhukov in March.
  4. Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery, Military Governor, British Zone of Occupation in Germany.
  5. Lt. Gen. Marie-Pierre Koenig, Military Governor, French Zone of Occupation in Germany.
  6. See paragraph 6 of Section II of the Potsdam Protocol, Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1482.
  7. The paper relating to inter-zonal activity of German trade unions and other organizations was referred to the Coordinating Committee where it was debated inconclusively and sent to the Political Directorate for drafting of acceptable phraseology. The new paper was similarly not agreed upon by the Coordinating Committee, which passed it on to the Control Council. After protracted discussion at its 29th meeting, May 20, the Control Council decided to allow the French member to refer the matter to his Government for instructions, thus, in effect, postponing discussion indefinitely. (740.00119 Control (Germany) /5–646, 5–1546, 5–2046, 5–2346.