740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–848: Telegram
The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State
16. Personal for Saltzman and Hickerson. Remytel 15, January 7, 8 p. m.1 Last evening Military Governors gave dinner for visiting German Minister-Presidents, top members of the Economic Council and heads of agencies. I had conversations with a number of them and [Page 11] mention the following as of interest. President of the Council Koehler and several of the Minister-Presidents, all of whom met late last night to consider US–UK proposals, express alarm over the tempo at which we are moving and plead for more time. They state fear of the effect proposed action may have on public sentiment re partition of Germany and that our action will be exploited by the SED and the USSR; Koehler objects particularly to the appointment of the “political” coordinator (chairman) of the new Executive Committee to a fixed term of office. He has support of several Minister-Presidents who feel that this official should not have a fixed term of office. This question will be debated with Germans today.
I also had long conversation with Arnold, Minister-President of North Rhine Westphalia, who will make a statement today on the subject of food conditions in the Ruhr area. I learned from him, and this seems to be confirmed by subsequent inquiry, that actually the bulk of the population except in North Rhine Westphalia is on feeding level of only about 900 calories. Partially to blame for this condition, is the failure of that land to make the food collection it should have from the recent crop. Arnold describes the situation as alarming and explosive. This condition, of course, has no relation to the special incentive program for the Ruhr miners, but it does affect the population generally, and Arnold says that public disorders are unavoidable and imminent.
I also talked with Ehard, Minister-President of Bavaria, and Semmler, Director of the Economic Agency, who because of his ability we have regarded as one of the up-and-coming younger men in Bavaria. At a party meeting (CSU) at Erlangen, he is alleged to have made a violent attack on some features of our policy and was particularly critical of our food supply program. Clay, having received the report yesterday, was inclined to denounce him publicly at the dinner last evening, but was dissuaded pending further investigation. I have had further conversations referring to this today with Josef Mueller and with Clay. Ehard, Mueller and Semmler indicate incident reflects declining confidence of Bavarians in US.
I also yesterday had a further meeting with St. Hardouin and De Carbonnel. They are naturally full of curiosity regarding bi-zonal developments and I detect a growing eagerness on the part of the French, if the attitude of these two reflects the wishes of the Foreign Office, to participate in bizonal affairs. They pressed hard for immediate discussions in Berlin which the British would have preferred to postpone until next week. As reported, these talks will begin Friday afternoon in Berlin after our return there tomorrow morning.
- Supra. ↩