862.00/5–1147: Telegram

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


1124. Visit to Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich this week afforded me opportunity to meet with the Minister Presidents of Hesse, Wuerttemberg-Baden, Bavaria and Bremen as well as other Germans including a trades-union delegation. Except for the immediate post-combat period in 1945 when Germans were stunned by events I have not found German morale any lower than it is today. In each conversation it was stated that Moscow Conference provided source of great deception not because Germans expected peace treaty but they did hope for decision concerning economic unity and some relief from uncertainty regarding their economic future. No encouragement was vouchsafed them. They expressed anxiety over possibility of US–USSR conflict with Germany occupying a painful position between the upper and nether millstones. This is particularly true in Bavaria. Worry is universal that in absence of allied agreement economic conditions will worsen leading to another terrible winter. There is evident a growing hopelessness based on inadequate diet, acute commodity scarcity, crowded housing conditions and uncertainty.

Bavaria’s invitation, extended with our approval to all German Minister Presidents to meet at Munich June 6 stems from desire expressed by Minister Presidents US Zone to improve morale by demonstrating German initiative to cope with practical economic and social problems. The French and Soviet zonal authorities have not yet indicated whether they will approve attendance by Germans residing their respective zones. The keynote of this invitation is determination to improve conditions because “the German people physically and psychologically will be unable to stand another winter of hunger and cold under miserable housing conditions in destroyed cities and in economic and political hopelessness.”

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In our discussions with Germans we stressed the large and important US contribution of food making comparison with graver plight German people would have suffered if US deliveries of hundreds of millions of foodstuffs were not available. We are urging that continued emphasis be made by information media on this US assistance as compared with absence of any deliveries by USSR for example.

It is apparent that German sentiment is increasingly troubled. The shock of the combat period has subsided. Under pressure of economic misery German determination to survive will undoubtedly be manifest in future political action.