The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 23—4:05 p.m.]
2430. Latest German elections, particularly those in Berlin, have undoubtedly been great disappointment Soviets, even if results were anticipated.87 Only in Soviet zone, where Social Democrat Party is no longer authorized, has Communist-dominated SED obtained at best slim majority which, in view of obviously preferential treatment given by Soviet military administration, will enable it to dominate administration until next elections. The bankruptcy of forced merger [Page 735]last spring of Social Democratic and Communist Parties, as device to obtain additional votes, has been strikingly shown in Berlin where independent SPD has emerged as far and away most popular party. In three western zones KPD has also trailed far behind its direct competitor, the SPD. In case of Berlin, Communist failure is dramatically shown by fact that independent KPD obtained between 24 and 30 percent of total vote in Reichstag and municipal elections held in 1928, 1932 and 1933, while this time SED, including pro-merger SPD elements as well, got less than 20 percent of total.
Whether these results will induce Soviets to seriously alter their general occupation tactics or policy remains to be seen. Above failure may lead to more moderate policy towards non-Communist parties, including those in Soviet zone and Berlin and, in particular to more conciliatory attitude towards SPD. However, in this connection, it is probably significant to note election eve articles in both Pravda and Trud mentioned in October 20 Taegliche Rundschau which referred to SED as “the largest political party in Berlin” and also to the “true reactionary character” of other parties and particularly the “reactionary policy of the SPD as led by Schumacher”.
Rumors continue that Communist leader Ulbricht has lost favor with Soviets as result of general failure of merger and other tactics ascribed to him that he may be replaced by some other leader, such as Paul Merker and that Communists may discard thir present relatively conciliatory tactics in favor of more radical policy. It is also rumored that Grotewohl may be dropped and responsible Soviet political officers, such as Col. Tulpanoff, removed from German scene.
There is deep apprehension here that Soviets may vent their displeasure on failure of Berliners to vote “democratically” by tightening screws on Berlin economically which, in view of city’s geographical position surrounded by Soviet zone, would present three other occupation powers with difficult problem: Can Berlin, which now has democratically elected administration, be allowed to suffer more than it has under previous undemocratic and Communist-dominated rule?
Local non-Communist political leaders believe Soviets may shortly set up zonal Parliament with no new election but rather based on delegates from five Landtags elected October 20, thus enabling them to claim credit for first democratically elected zonal Parliament in all Germany. Fact that so many SED top leaders residing in Berlin stood as key candidates (Spitzen Kandidaten) for October 20 zonal election tends to support this belief. Such zonal Parliament could play important part in reorganization of present mutually independent zonal ministries into integrated zonal administrations and also possibly enable Communists and Soviets to magnify influence they [Page 736]might have in case of establishment of any central German council or other agencies under quadripartite auspices.
Sent Department as 2430, repeated Moscow as 332.
- In the October 20 municipal elections in Berlin, the SPD received 48.7 percent of the total vote, the CDU 22.2, the SED 19.8, and the LPD 9.3 percent. For statistics on the Land elections in the Soviet zone of Germany, see John P. Nettl, The Eastern Zone and Soviet Policy in Germany, 1945–50 (London, Oxford University Press, 1951), pp. 90– 93.↩