740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–3046: Telegram

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


2503. Mytel 2466, October 26. Extreme sensitiveness of Soviets to any semblance of damaging criticism provoked disagreeable incident at 86th meeting Coordinating Committee 29 October where question deportations technicians was raised by British member in request that information be furnished concerning numbers Germans moved Soviet Union and asking assurances be given that none be removed without contract voluntarily accepted. While basing his request on press reports, he stated British Military Government was besieged by Germans desiring information on matter which had spread consternation and dismay. British member did not object to Germans leaving country but questioned manner of removing possibly large numbers of technicians important for German economic life. He characterized Taegliche Rundschau article as “smokescreen” of accusations [Page 741]against other Allies, most of which could be disproved (mytel 2472, October 201).

Rejecting as unjustified British and US Berlin commanders’ protests, Soviet member attacked German press treatment of question as anti-Soviet propaganda. He stated that after concluding contracts with Soviet economic organizations, numbers of German technicians had left Germany with their families to take up their former professions in Soviet Union. Soviets had never refused to give information and Soviet member asked why question had not been raised in businesslike manner in ACA instead of being aired in anti-Communist press, same way as recent alleged kidnapping of children who later proved to be subversive agents of Hitler Youth. Soviets regarded as quite normal US and British removal of technicians and had denied wishes of Soviet press to attack steps taken in this regard. This prohibition had been enforced despite fact that Americans and British had removed specialists for purposes other than repairing damage done by Germans as was case with Soviet Union. Soviet member stated he could not give information desired since it related to different contracts but would try to furnish it.

US and British members indicated they would endeavor to correct any press statements found to be false in light of information when received. For their part, they would be willing to supply information of kind they were requesting. US member pointed out that three questions remained unanswered: (1) Were German workers given free choice; (2) how many were involved; (3) length of contract. In view effect on German economy, he proposed Manpower Directorate be instructed to submit uniform rules for removal and use of German labor outside Germany. Clay then referred to description of deportation of civilians for forced labor in Germany as one of most heinous crimes of Nazism. He said US fully subscribed to this declaration which had been made by Soviet prosecutor Rudenko at Nürnberg on July 30.2

Soviet member stated that in view of tone and remarks by Clay, he had no intention of continuing present discussion and proposed question be referred to Control Council. Clay replied he had simply stated his views on forced labor and had made no charges or criticism. [Page 742]Under obvious tutelage of his political adviser, Soviet member asserted he would not accept comparison between Nazis and Soviets and insisted on reference to Control Council. Clay then withdrew his statement to make it clear matter was not being referred to Control Council because of his remarks. Following urgent supplication of British and French who alluded to unfavorable publicity which might result from Control Council dealing with question at this stage, Soviet member consented to further discussion at next Coordinating Committee meeting November 4.

Sent Department as 2503; repeated Moscow as 348; Paris as 352 and London as 364.

  1. The article in Taegliche Rundschau, summarized in telegram 2472, (not printed), stated that the departure of skilled workers in the Soviet areas had been voluntary and carried out on the basis of agreements with Soviet economic enterprises. It also accused the Americans and British of forcibly evacuating scientific and technical personnel from Germany. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–2946.
  2. Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945–1 October 1946 (22 vols., Nuremberg, 1947–1949), vol. xx, p. 1.