740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–1547: Telegram

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


631. It is Dept’s view that question raised urtel Mar 15 (rptd Moscow for Murphy as 16632) is mainly tactical one which should therefore be decided in the field where you and MG officials in close touch with developments. Question one of tactics because no important change in political balance appears to be involved in decision to refuse or permit KPD to change name to SED in US zone. While reluctant set forth definitive views on this subject on basis info available here we glad outline tentative reaction to alternatives suggested urtel.

We are not convinced permission to let KPD change name to SED in US zone would result in attracting large numbers SPD, with consequent strengthening of SED organizations and weakening of rival democratic parties. On contrary it is possible that those disgruntled SPD members who might initially join SED would become thoroughly disillusioned, and that resulting demonstration of how SED works and exposure of its weakness might prove of definite benefit to all parties opposing SED and help to thwart SED hopes of bringing leftist forces in western zones under its control.

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As far as quid pro quo concerned we have some doubts regarding effectiveness bargaining SED entrance US zone against SPD entrance Sov zone. We understand technically SMA willing accept application SPD to function Sov zone but that SPD has not made application on grounds it would not be permitted function freely. As long as Soviets unwilling permit equal rights all political parties their zone, it is doubtful any practical results would follow attempt to bargain since they would advance technicality that SPD always at liberty submit application their zone. If, as we view it, practical realities of situation indicate little hope using this issue successfully as means opening up Sov zone to SPD, question reduces itself to local issue. We have idea SED leaders believe permission will be refused KPD to change name in US zone and that they intend use US refusal for propaganda purposes in order to claim “reactionary” US authorities oppose proletarian unity. Therefore, if granting request would not appreciably increase KPD (SED) strength in US zone and if bargaining this issue unlikely achieve real equalization rights all political parties in Sov zone, we see possible advantage in what would amount to surprise move on our part in interposing no objection to proposed change of name.

On basis foregoing we would not suggest requiring referendum on merger SPD and KPD, which of course would be one way to refuse SED entrance US zone. Rather than make permission SED in our zone conditional upon equal rights for SPD Sov zone, US authorities might reiterate US views regarding equal rights for all parties throughout Germany at time of granting request. These tentative views based on our estimate present situation. Situation may be clearer after CFM meeting Moscow when for example, quid pro quo may be easier to evaluate.

Sent Berlin as 631, rptd Moscow for Murphy as 620 Moskco 20.

  1. Supra.