740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–2948: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State 1


1253. Almost complete disintegration quadripartite government of Berlin pointed up yesterday as Allied Commandants wallowed for more than 15 hours in disagreement abuse charges and counter charges during their 11th meeting. Sole agreement reached was to schedule next commandants meeting Friday June 11 and General Kotikov refused commit himself even tentatively to date for subsequent meeting. One can only conclude Soviets have no intention use Kommandatura for any purpose other than propaganda sounding board as their position all questions remained completely inflexible. Session was marked [Page 906] by usual Soviet rudeness and for last two hours Kotikov went out of his way to bait British Chairman General Herbert. By 1 a. m. as tempers thinned it appeared [possible a serious incident might occur as Kotikov appeared] intent on provoking other members; At US suggestion meeting adjourned shortly thereafter. Soviets continued to refuse permit their member public safety committee attend meetings unless General Herbert agreed reprimand his member on committee for alleged misconduct, which Herbert of course still refuses to do. When evident that Kotikov would not withdraw from position Colonel Howley declared Soviets thus destroyed most important Kommandatura committee rather than admit responsibility Soviet committee member for protecting a known criminal (Schubert) in one of principal police positions Soviet sector. Comment: This final breakup of public safety committee presumably will lead to rapidly increasing development independent police organizations in Soviet and western sectors. Soviet attitude probably not unrelated to recent action western powers in placing liaison officers in central police offices located Soviet sector.

In finally answering British statement regarding parcel post holdup in Berlin Kotikov presented fantastic statement which twisted facts out of all recognition, charging fault lay with western sectors and not with Soviet zone and sector authorities. With straight face he added “In view our desire to help Berliners our zonal authorities have taken steps to improve the parcel post situation” whereas western sector authorities have done nothing. In effect acceptance and dispatch of parcels from Berlin to western zones now placed under control Soviet zonal authorities through their power to license post offices authorized to accept such parcels. All of latter now located Soviet sector. Howley pointed out that Soviet action in permitting German postal authorities Soviet zone to control unilaterally arrangements for all Berlin without consulting Kommandatura amounted to breaking of ACA and Kommandatura agreements and constituted “a very dangerous and lamentable step.” Discussion deferred to nest meeting. Report on other aspects commandants meeting follows by airgram.2

Department please pass Moscow as Berlin’s 197.

  1. A handwritten note by Ambassador Murphy, attached to the copy of this telegram in the files of the Mission of the U.S. Political Adviser, reads as follows: “Gen. Ganeval tells me Kotikov has a new Pol Ad [Panin] whom he describes as a ‘killer’ who sits at Kotikov’s elbow and leaves him no discretion whatever. Panin takes a back seat.” (USPolAd Germany Files, Telegrams)
  2. Airgram 468, May 30, from Berlin, not printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–3048).