740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–2646: Telegram

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

us urgent

2462. With reference to legality Soviet labor deportations, this matter has now been referred to Coordinating Committee by Kommandatura. [Page 738]Coordinating Committee expected to discuss question October 29. Reference my 2435 and 2443, October 24.94 Latest intelligence plus newspaper accounts bears out my previous reports and adds further details.

According British DPD News Service October 25 persons deported from Berlin include: from A.E.G. Oberspree Works, research engineers, manager and about 200 foremen and skilled workers; from G.E.M.A. in Koepenick, about 10% of employees, including engineers; from O.K.B. formerly Askania in Friedrichshagen and former N.A.G. in Oberschoeneweide, specialists and workers. In Soviet zone, according to DPD, 270 were sent from Zeiss Jena as of late October 24, some from Schott and Sons Glassworks, Jena; about 800 from Henschel in Stassfurt, some from Koetschen in Apolda; about 400 specialists from Siebel airplane factory in Halle; 125 engineers and 4,000 skilled workers from heavy industry plants in Chemnitz area, 1500 from Junkers airplane factory in Dessau; several hundred from Institut Raketenbetrieb (rockets) in Bleicherode. All enterprises in Soviet zone mentioned above are being dismantled. Works councils of Zeiss and other Jena factories have sent formal protests to Control Council, also published by DPD.

Taegliche Rundschau article October 24 cited by General Kotikov as accurate, states that deportations were on basis of agreement with Soviet economic organizations. However, October 25 Taegliche Rundschau prints additional report of statement by Askania Works Council Chairman Hermann Bleimeier, who states that greater part deportees had upon employment in plant signed statement of willingness to go to Soviet Union and that no compulsion was exerted on families to go along. This statement thus tacitly admits that not all deportees had signed agreements before going and that compulsion was used on deported workers and specialists themselves. Admission is confirmed by eye witness accounts including one by deportee who escaped near Frankfurt an der Oder and who was interrogated by Berlin District G–2. There appears to be no doubt that deportations were forced. It seems to be true, however, that deportees are travelling in comfort and are well fed.

Assertion in my 2443, October 24, that deportations themselves apparently are not violations of existing law or agreements may not be entirely true. Article 6(b) and 6(c) of Charter of International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg Court) signed by representatives of Four Occupying Powers August 8, 1945,95 define deportation by persons [Page 739]acting in interests of European Axis countries during war as war crime and crime against humanity. Court itself confirmed definition under 6(b) on page 120 of verdict and found Fritz Sauckel96 guilty on both counts. Department’s early comment will be appreciated.97 German Social Democratic Party and American newspaper correspondents here have already raised question.

Sent Department as 2462; repeated Moscow as 340.

  1. Neither printed, but see footnote 90, p. 736.
  2. For text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 472; for documentation concerning discussions regarding procedures and scope of the United Nations Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes and the setting up of the International Military Tribunal, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, pp. 1151 ff.
  3. Fritz Sauckel, German Plenipotentiary General for Manpower, 1942–45; executed by the Allied Powers as a war criminal, October 16, 1946.
  4. The Department’s reply reads as follows: “Govt approves protest, reported in press, of US member Kommandatura against forced deportation of German labor by Soviet authorities. Govt believes reported forced removal not only represents flagrant violation of fundamental human rights but also is contrary to general principles of international law existing prior to and reaffirmed by Nuremberg judgment. You are urged continue take firm position against such Soviet action in subsequent Allied Control Authority discussions.” This message was sent from Secretary Byrnes to OMGUS, Berlin, on November 2, as War Department’s telegram 84682 (Department of the Army files).