862.5043/2–1247: Telegram

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


354. Allied Kommandatura February 11th reached agreement on Berlin FDGB electoral procedure (reference my telegrams 279, February 121 and 297, February 522). Basis was Soviet compromise proposal secretly suggested to the French February 3rd and amended by French. Kommandatura now orders FDGB to set uniform key figure for all boroughs and all unions and directs that FDGB city conventions may approve only legality of election of 18 union members on new directing committee. New committee may have 45 members. Elections in 1948 must be held one year after 1947 elections. American representative in agreeing made reservation that United States does not consider electoral procedure final but assumes Kommandatura will examine later modifications as part of FDGB constitution. British said their attitude toward FDGB in future would be determined by its actions.

Background of agreement appears to be stiffened US attitude and increased militancy of SPD opposition within trade unions. FDGB staged series of shop meetings protesting Allied interference but nobody impressed. On February 7 FDGB directing committee met with directing committee of 18 unions and borough committees (mainly SED dominated) and resolved to ask Allies to keep hands off internal union matters. City chairman Roman Chwalek (KPDSED), however, indicated in opening speech at this meeting that question of key figures and confirmation of 18 union representatives could be adjusted. Next day over 1,000 SPD trade union and works council functionaries meeting in freezing hall resolved non-confidence in present FDGB leadership and demanded city convention of delegates [Page 853] elected directly from shops to straighten out disputed issues. Young SPD executive committee member Kurt Schmidt announced at this meeting that present SED trade union leadership would have to go if FDGB unity was to be preserved.

Kommandatura agreement sets stage for election struggle more bitter than that in January–February 1946.23 This time opposition will not be behind scenes but will fight in open. US information control division now conducting poll on membership attitudes.

Sent Department as 354; repeated Moscow 61; Paris as 52; London for Murphy and Berger as 77.

  1. Ante, p. 848.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Telegram 732, March 26, 1947, from Berlin, not printed, reported that the Soviet-sponsored Socialist Unity Party leadership had scored a smashing victory in the Berlin FDGB elections on March 23. The telegram cited the following reasons for the SED victory: (1) FDGB indirect election procedure forbade political identification of candidates; (2) overwhelming strength of the SED apparatus supported by Soviet occupation authorities; (3) organization weakness of the Socialist Party opposition and its failure to mobilize membership (862.5043/3–2647).