740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–1948: Telegram

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

us urgent

1413. Immediate Soviet reaction to announcement of currency reform last night in field of Berlin traffic and transport was to suspend all interzonal passenger traffic and incoming traffic on all roads, including Autobahn. According to latest information available, outgoing traffic on Autobahn is being permitted as usual and this is confirmed by announcement in Soviet licensed press in Berlin this morning. Soviet order states water transport permitted but only with special permits and thorough control. Pedestrian entry into Soviet zone prohibited every where.

With respect to incoming rail freight traffic, Soviet authorities have informed British that they will receive only one train at a time at Marienborn. As it takes three to four hours to check a train, this will obviously reduce the number per day. Soviet rejections of freight cars in bad condition is continuing although British have likewise been rejecting on basis of stricter inspection. Soviet authorities have also demanded right to inspect guards on military freight trains. Clay considering possibility of prohibition on coal trains to Soviet sector of Berlin in retaliation. Certain of these measures are not unreasonable in view natural defensive action to protect Soviet Zone from influx of old currency.

General Robertson telephoned General Clay this morning suggesting that a vigorous protest be made immediately regarding the new Soviet traffic regulations. Clay replied, it seems to me correctly, that it would be better to wait for two or three days because the regulations themselves are not immoderate, stating his opinion that were the situation reversed, we on our side would have been required to take rather similar precautions. Should a protest be necessary, it would be better [Page 911] to allow matters to precipitate for a few days thus giving us an opportunity to gauge the Russian attitude toward the eventual continuance of the Berlin Kommandatura and toward the Berlin situation in general.

Repeated to London as 251; Paris as 255; and to Moscow as 225.

Sent Department as 1413.