740.00119 E.W./1–1747: Telegram

The Acting Political Adviser for Germany (Muccio) to the Secretary of State


161. Clay’s prompt and effective query made at 99th meeting Coordinating Committee and Soviet member’s reply (mytel 148, January [Page 847] 1610) place latest indication of Soviet policy towards Germany (outlined mytel 147, January 1611) in a somewhat uncertain light. At the moment, Soviets have repudiated statement on a high quadripartite level without as yet agreeing to publications of repudiation, as result of which its sensational nature may at least temporarily continue to win them and Communist cause favor vis-à-vis German people. It is difficult to believe that these press and radio statements were unauthorized, including as they did feature publication in Soviet overt Taegliche Rundschau12 and specific mention of both Sokolovsky and Kurotschkin, despite latter’s denial in Coordinating Committee. Soviets did not anticipate being pressed at quadripartite level so quickly or firmly.

At any rate this latest indication of Soviet policy in Germany is interesting and presumably significant, coming as it does on the eve of the CFM discussions, following last autumn’s electoral defeats of German Communist cause and several months in which Soviet propaganda has been charging Western Occupation Powers with seeking to protect and strengthen Germany.

Press and radio statements in question suggest attack away from economic exploitation in direction of another effort to win political support of German people. That this new statement was put out in the name of Socialist Unity Party even in the Soviet overt organ Taegliche Rundschau suggests, however, that Soviets are still determined to pin their main hopes on German Communist leadership.

Soviets have earlier indicated there would be no further plant dismantling in their zone, having made such promises early as autumn 1945, again last summer in connection with nationalization of industry program, and, in fact, whenever such promises appeared appropriate to influence German opinion. However, this statement of Soviet intention was given much greater prominence than heretofore, and also more definite form through published commitment in contrast to previous verbal promises made by top Soviet officials to German political leaders. Furthermore, almost all plants of any importance in Soviet zone have by now either been dismantled or incorporated into the Soviet combines. Whether the 200 less 74 large concerns now to [Page 848] be recognized as part of the latter represent additions to this group is not known. It is also fair to ask whether these two examples of Soviet beneficence actually add up to very much from German viewpoint. Soviet promise to reduce deliveries of reparations from current production should be considered against background of apparent extreme shortage of consumption goods in USSR and political necessity of the regime to increase their supply. If this situation is as portrayed by Moscow’s 80 to Dept January 14 [13],13 it might prove extremely difficult for Soviets to live up to this promise. As indicated by Clay, Sokolovsky’s undertaking to raise level of industry in Soviet zone would appear criticizable as a unilateral action by one of the 4 Occupation powers.

That Soviets saw fit to issue this new statement of policy now suggests possibility other surprises before Moscow meeting, as for example, plan for central German Government or new stand on present eastern frontier, to win further German opinion. Regards latter, Kremlin may be still too firmly committed to supporting Polish regime, though after January 19 elections14 this will no longer be such a compelling consideration. It will be interesting to note effect of this declaration on Communist causes in both Poland and France.

Finally, despite Kurotschkin’s statement in Coordinating Committee, Berlin Soviet controlled press January 17 continues emphasize this question. News Deutschland15 and Taegliche Rundschau in particular feature articles containing comments by various Polish leaders on “Sokolovsky’s declaration” and its great importance for the needs of German people.

Sent to Dept as 161; repeated to London for Ambassador Murphy as 26, Moscow as 26, Paris as 20.

  1. Not printed; it reported that at the 99th Meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Allied Control Authority for Germany, January 16, 1947, General Clay had asked the Soviet member, General Kurochkin, for a clarification of the statement issued on the previous day by the Central Secretariat of the Socialist Unity Party following a meeting with representatives of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany. General Kurochkin denied that Soviet officials had authorized the statement, but he would not give General Clay permission to advise the press that the statement was not correct (740.00119 EW/1–1647). For the text of the statement, see Ruhm von Oppen, Documents on Germany, pp. 202–203.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Newspaper in the Soviet zone of Berlin published by Soviet authorities.
  4. Vol. iv, p. 515.
  5. i.e., the Polish general elections.
  6. Daily newspaper in the Soviet zone of Berlin published by the Socialist Unity Party.