840.6362/4–2846: Telegram

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


1122. Re Department’s 927, April 20, 1 p.m. Current estimates indicate that exports from May 1945 through April 30, 1946, will amount to approximately 8.2 million tons or slightly under one-third of the objective set forth in the July 1945 directive. The Department will realize that when Colonel Koenig was head of Solid Fuels, SHAEF, he stated objective could only be reached under a variety of assumptions such as adequate transportation, adequate food and local supplies for miners and their families in order to allow an incentive to increase production, a minimum of dislocation by military authorities in the operation of the mines and an adequate supply of mining machinery and equipment. As the Department is aware, no such ideal conditions have existed. The circumstance is particularly regrettable that there could not be compliance with a directive as important as this dignified as it was with the President’s signature. I believe that it has already been pointed out that the directive in question was not coordinated with Military Government prior to presentation to the President for signature.

With reference to Department’s general statement of current status of problem, it is our view that Department has over-stressed the alleged unbalanced revival of industry in the British zone. It has appeared to us that maximizing of coal exports could best be accomplished by allowing a general revival of industry in the coal mining region and in regions related industrially. For example, it has been our view that coal used to produce steel which in turn has been largely used directly or indirectly in coal mined and in improving transportation facilities, represented over a short period of time, a net increase rather than decrease, in coal available for export.

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In the statement of policy, point V, we would prefer somewhat wider application by favoring food supplies for miners’ families and also for supplying miners with certain essential consumer incentive items which would increase their desire to speed up production.

During the past year, the Polish coal mines and the Silesian mines “under Polish administration” have not contributed coal to the areas of eastern and southern Germany, which they previously served. At the conclusion of the Potsdam Conference, Assistant Secretary Clayton and other Department officials attempted to stimulate a flow of this eastern coal into Germany.72 Since that time this office has explored such possibilities here and in Poland and has reported in detail to the Department that the Poles are prepared and willing to ship very considerable quantities of coal into Germany. To date the American control authorities have not made any firm commitments because of doubts as to whether Germany as an exporter of coal should also be an importer of coal, and also as to inability to pay for the Polish imports.

We have argued that if the Ruhr did not have to supply Berlin and parts of southern Germany, that this would result in increased availability of transportation equipment (except possibly locomotives which the Poles still lack) and also coal for shipment west. To date, the Department has given no reaction to these proposals, although it must be obvious that if this more normal use of European coal resources could be effected, France and the other western countries would benefit by increased imports.

However, as long as France is not paying in US dollars for coal imports from Germany (as agreed), we are faced with inability to pay for Polish coal imports. Thus, the French failure to pay in dollars has the direct effect of reducing the quantity of coal available from Germany. We would suggest that in any further statement of coal policy for Germany, that this fact be given consideration.

Reference is made to suggestion 2 of the Department in connection with reparations and coal production. I doubt practicability of suggestion that case of each individual point which might be temporarily retained should be presented with all pertinent statistical data to the Control Council and that it would only be retained in the event of unanimous agreement.

Sent to Department as 1122; repeated to London as 180, Warsaw as 125, Vienna as 57, Paris as 113, and Moscow as 106.

  1. For the record of a conversation between Mr. Clayton and Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mikolajczyk during the Potsdam Conference on July 28 relating to Silesian coal, see Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1532. Concerning United States interest in securing Silesian coal from Poland for use in Germany, see telegram 606, October 4, 1945, to Berlin, and telegram 781. October 14, 1945, from Berlin, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, pp. 1530 and 1533, respectively.