740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–1647

Memorandum by the Secretary of the Office of the Political Adviser for German Affairs (Morris)73


In reviewing current Soviet policy in Germany, i.e., on the eve of the London CFM discussions, the following considerations appear pertinent.

Since the Moscow Conference, the general world situation has shown increasing tension between the USSR, her satellite states and [Page 888]the Stalintern Communist movement, on the one hand, and the rest of the world on the other. Soviet-American negotiations as regards Austria, Korea and Japan do not suggest any moderation in the Soviet point of view—in fact, if anything, the contrary.

As regards Germany, the gulf between the Soviet and the western zones has, if anything, deepened since the Moscow CFM. In this connection, Soviet opposition to the Marshall Plan should be particularly noted. At the same time that the three western occupation powers are planning for the participation of their zones in the practical application of the Marshall Plan, it seems clear that the Soviet Zone will not be permitted to participate. Thus the economic split in Germany has increased very considerably.

These considerations suggest that the “hard” line taken by Molotov in Moscow will be pursued at London. As before, there is always the possibility of Soviet concessions in the economic sphere, in an attempt to gain material benefits from the western zones in the form of reparations. Most local observers are considerably more skeptical regarding such Soviet concessions than they were before the Moscow Conference.

At the same time, all available information indicates that the economic situation in the Soviet Zone is not only bad but that it will become even more serious during the coming winter. Reparations, removals, fuel, transport and raw material shortages should be mentioned in this connection, as well as the part played by the so-called Soviet AG’s. As Dr. Skrzypczinsky* pointed out to Ambassador Murphy in a recent conversation, these Soviet combines not only account for some 30% of total industrial production in the Soviet Zone, but what is even more important, pretty well dominate the basic industries. Therefore, the fact that their production goes almost entirely abroad without benefit to the German economy is already having serious economic results on the Zone.

Soviet (and German Communist) propaganda is stressing the unity of Germany more strongly than ever. Prospects for actual unification appear slimmer than ever, due to differences between the occupation powers. The question therefore arises as to why Soviet propaganda [Page 889]continues to emphasize this theme. The answer is probably as follows. The Soviets hope to keep German minds off other controversial and less pleasant subjects, such as reparation demands, the eastern frontier, etc. At the same time, this propadanda helps give the impression that the Soviets are actually working for German unity. They probably hope that if they shout louder on this issue than the western occupation powers, this impression will be increased, despite the record of facts to date, i.e., unification on a bizonal basis alone. As regards the latter, there is every indication that by now the Soviets are distinctly worried, for after all, actions speak louder than words, and particularly in view of the possibility that before long the French may agree to unification on a trizonal basis. Meanwhile, however, the Soviet unification trumpet is being loudly blown.

Another interesting and increasingly predominant factor is Soviet condemnation of the Marshall Plan. It is clear that the vast majority of Germans strongly favor the Marshall Plan for Germany, including even numerous Communists as well as former Social Democrats now active in the SED. The Soviets therefore might do well by soft-pedaling this propaganda. Such, however, is not the case.§ Not only have they used every possible opportunity to themselves attack the Marshall Plan, but have evidently been making great efforts to induce prominent Germans to do likewise. This has been particularly noticeable in recent weeks as regards the CDU in the Soviet Zone. These Soviet efforts have, to my mind, been both ill-conceived and ineffective. They are, however, presumably typical of the rigidity which totalitarian regimes so often exhibit. In any case, the net result is a serious intensification of the present split in Germany.

As regards general propaganda, the Soviets have continued, at an increasing tempo, with bitter attacks on the policies and objectives of the western occupation powers, particularly “reactionary capitalist” America, under whose predatory influence the French and British have allegedly been coming more and more.

The present attitude of the Soviets towards the various German political parties can be summarized quite simply. The SED and KPD are still very much the favorite and trusted sons. In fact, the general world line of the Stalintern indicates increasing reliance everywhere on the experienced and trusted Communist elements. The Social Democrats are still “public enemy No. 1”. The Soviets are evidently pretty well satisfied with the Liberal Democrats (LDP) in their zone under [Page 890]the weak Kuelz leadership. In contrast, the Kaiser leadership of the Christian Democrats (CDU) has been under considerable pressure. It may be presumed that Karlshorst may make an effort after the London Conference to eliminate this remaining irritant in the Soviet Zone. Finally, there are some indications that despite continued reliance on the SED, the Soviets are considering developing a less radical mass political movement on strong nationalist lines, perhaps under the leadership of von Paulus.|| Such a party might be expected to weaken Kaiser’s present support, and attract elements which the SED has failed to do.

In any appraisal of Soviet policy in Germany, mention should also be made of the apparent division within the Soviet camp between the moderates and radicals, both in Karlshorst and possibly in Moscow as well. In the last few months the radicals have certainly had their way. I presume they will continue to do so, despite rumors to the contrary

Considered together, the above factors suggest that the Soviet delegation will not produce any great surprises at the London CFM, and give little reason to expect willingness to compromise on the part of the Soviets. If this analysis is correct, Germany will probably emerge from the London Conference even more seriously split than last spring, following the Moscow discussions.

If this is the case, the possibility remains that the Soviets may attempt to follow up the London Conference by some spectacular move, particularly in view of the deteriorating morale and internal situation in their occupation zone. The following possibilities should be noted. In the first place, a more formal zonal government might be set up,** which would of course have some psychological importance, and particularly so if the western occupation powers could be induced, by one means or another, to abandon Berlin. Furthermore, if part of the area now under Polish administration were “returned” to this “northeastern Germany”, Soviet political prestige might rise greatly. It seems unlikely that the Soviets will in fact reverse their present stand on the Oder–Neisse line in the near future,†† but sooner or later they may do so, for obvious political reasons. Again, there is always the possibility of a reversal in the Soviet policy to date of economic exploitation of Germany. Finally, it should be realized that with the [Page 891]repatriation of the remaining German war prisoners from the USSR in accordance with the Moscow Agreement, the Soviet position vis-à-vis the German people will be considerably improved. These are some of the possibilities by which they may try and win back ground they have lost politically in the last two years. It seems likely, on balance, that of the above, only a new Soviet zonal government need be reckoned with in the period immediately following London. As long as we maintain our position in Berlin, this would have no great psychological effect.

Finally, all available evidence strongly suggests that the Soviets are still reckoning, more than ever, with a severe economic depression in the western capitalist world, which, as far as Germany is concerned, will block our endeavors to restore the economy of the western zones. The latter remains one of the central problems, as far as our German policy is concerned. If it can be solved, our basic objectives can still be realized. If not, prospects for political democracy in Germany appear remote, and in the long run, German Communism may be the victor. The Soviets are presumably just as aware of this situation as we are.

Brewster H. Morris
  1. The source text, which is undated, was transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 10913, September 16, 1947, from Berlin, not printed.
  2. Head of the Ministry of Industry for the Soviet Zone and one of the key figures in its recently-organized Economic Commission. [Footnote in source text.]
  3. This is indicated not only by any review of the actual propaganda of the last few months, but by: Grotewohl’s remarks at the latest meeting of the SED Central Committee (see my Memorandum No. 291 dated September 8 addressed to Raymond Murphy, State Department); the trip through the western zones which former Ambassador Nadolny is now making, under Soviet auspices, to collect signatures on a petition dealing with the demand for Germany’s unification; as well as Marshal Sokolovsky’s meeting with Kaiser and Lemmer on the eve of the CDU convention [September 4–8]. At this meeting, he strongly urged the CDU leaders to “fight harder than ever for the unity of Germany.” [Footnote, in the source text. The memorandum No. 291 cited here has not been printed.]
  4. See for example my Memorandum No. 291. [Footnote in source text.]
  5. This Mission’s telegram No. 1797 dated July 28 summarized a declaration by the SED Central Committee opposing the Marshall Plan; numerous press telegrams from this Mission have likewise referred to general Soviet and Communist propaganda of the same character. [Footnote in source text. The telegram cited here is not printed.]
  6. See this Mission’s airgram A–479 dated September 4. [Footnote in source text. The airgram under reference is not printed.]
  7. See for example this Mission’s telegram No. 2000 dated August 19. [Footnote in source text. For the text of telegram 2000 from Berlin, see p. 884.]
  8. See this Mission’s airgram A–479, referred to above and airgram A–438 dated August 11. [Footnote in source text. Airgrams under reference here are not printed.]
  9. See this Mission’s airgram A–498 dated September 11. [Footnote in source text. The airgram under reference is not printed.]