740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–3146: Telegram

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

secret

2514. Marshal Sokolovsky3 after Control Council meeting yesterday asked to talk with me privately regarding the deportation of Germans to the USSR recently discussed in Kommandatura and Coordinating Committee (mytels 2503, October 30 and 2466 of October 26). The essence of his lengthy remarks is (1) the Soviet delegation feel no obligation to supply explanation or excuse for the action of the Soviet administration in transferring Germans to the USSR (2) Sokolovsky resents what he insists on terming an anti-Soviet press campaign inspired by the US and UK (3) the Soviet delegation promise to retaliate by means of an increased tempo of press attacks in Germany not on the basis “of an eye for an eye but a jaw for every eye.” In other words as Sokolovsky repeatedly emphasized this point the Soviet delegation is determined to use both the Soviet overt and licensed German press to discredit the US and UK in the eyes of the German reading public if criticism of Soviet deportation of German workers does not cease.

Sokolovsky has not betrayed such obvious anxiety and annoyance for a long time. He had spent the entire night studying the question he said. He made bitter allusion to Clay’s “provocation in the Coordinating Committee,” referring to the indictment by Soviet Prosecutor Rudenko at Nuremberg of deportation and slave labor under the [Page 743]heading of crimes against humanity for which Sauckel was condemned and executed. Sokolovsky said that he failed to understand why the American delegation and the American administration insisted on indulging in anti-Soviet propaganda and campaigns against the Soviet Union in the German press, nor could he understand why after all that has happened the United States should question the actions of the Soviet Union in transferring German Nationals to the Soviet Union. When the United States forces left Thuringia in 1945, said the Marshal, as everyone knows they forcibly removed large numbers of German scientists. This fact was known to the Soviet Union but it never occurred to the Soviet Government to question American actions. (I pointed out to the Marshal that whatever may have happened in Thuringia on departure of US forces—and I doubted his statement—by same token at that time the US did not question the reported large-scale removals of Germans to the USSR at the end of hostilities in 1945. The Marshal stated vehemently that no German was removed prior to October 21, 1946.) The Soviet Government failed to understand now why the United States should concern itself with similar actions on the part of the Soviet Union. What good could come of press attacks against the Soviet Union, which, if they continued, would meet them blow for blow and give twice and more than it received.

In replying to Marshal Sokolovsky’s request for my point of view I informed him that if he believed that the American delegation had instigated a press campaign either in the German or American press directed against the Soviet Union he was sadly mistaken. We did not consider such activity as part of our mission in Germany, had been careful to refrain from it in the past and as far as I am aware will have no intention of instigating such a campaign in the future. I told him that I was greatly puzzled at the insistence of his representative in the Coordinating Committee yesterday who, instead of supplying the factual information requested by the United States representative, harped on press criticism of the Soviet Union. It would seem obvious that regardless of everything that had been said Marshal Sokolovsky still misunderstood the American conception of freedom of the press and continued to believe that the American correspondents in this area were subject to censorship and control whereas they are free agents able to write what they please. It was also our intention in asking for factual information to cooperate with our Soviet colleagues in a matter which was assuming alarming proportions due to an accumulation of stories built up on rumors largely because the only ones who could give authoritative information, namely, the Soviet Military Administration, had thus far refused to state the [Page 744]facts and enable correspondents to give the public an accurate description. The American delegation had not instigated a campaign in this connection. The campaign had been instigated by the press itself and by German Nationals who apparently were seriously alarmed and dismayed as had been stated by the British representative in the Coordinating Committee.

As for attacks against the Soviet Administration on the part of the American licensed press in the United States zone of occupation and Berlin, the onus in this respect certainly rested with the Soviet Military Administration. For many months we have produced instances of attacks on United States policy and administration appearing both in Soviet-licensed and Soviet overt newspapers, but in that respect neither Colonel Tulpanov nor any other member of the delegation had ever given us the slightest satisfaction. I concluded with remark that if the Marshal desired I am sure that our authorities would be glad to supply him with a large number of examples.

Foregoing for Department’s confidential information only.

Repeated to Moscow as 350.

Murphy
  1. Sokolovsky had become Marshal of the Soviet Union in June after succeeding Marshal Zhukov in March as Chief of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany and Soviet member on the Allied Control Council for Germany.