740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–2049: Telegram

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


1289. Ourtel 1186, July 28.1 Third quadripartite Berlin Commandants meeting held August 18 under US chairmanship. Soviet Political Adviser was again Kovalev. (Our A–495, July 302).

Lengthy discussion occurred re signing agreed papers, General Kotikov contending that on basis paragraph six of Deputy Military Governors’ “agreement on procedure for quadripartite consultations of occupation authorities in Germany”, all agreed papers should be [Page 373] signed by four Commandants. (Soviet version this paragraph reads “records of meetings need not be agreed quadripartitely. When, however, an agreed quadripartite point of view has been reached, such would be recorded as an agreed quadripartite document.” Final word in English and French versions is “view”). General Howley maintained latter versions did not necessitate signing of any papers and that it would be sufficient if each Commandant had noted on his copy of paper that agreement had been reached on it. He stated he would not put his signature on any paper that “might be interpreted as setting up organization which would compete with Allied Kommandatura established at Potsdam.” British and French remained neutral in dispute, indicating willingness follow either procedure. Soviet expressed intention notify his Military Commander that US position was “contrary to procedure agreed by Deputy Military Governors” and that agreement re paragraph six was not being fulfilled.

Kotikov also wished issue signed quadripartite communiqué indicating Commandants’ agreement on procedural paper discussed at previous meeting and more or less confirmed this meeting, but Howley registered same objections re signing, saying Commandants’ instructions, based on CFM agreement, were to take action to normalize life of city, not set up new organization.

Re postage stamp question raised by British at first meeting (our despatch 867, July 213), Kotikov submitted paper proposing (1) that legality of postage stamps issued by postal authorities of Soviet Zone and Soviet sector be recognized in Western sectors and vice versa, and (2) that additional franking collected on mail to Soviet sector and Soviet Zone from West sectors, and to West sectors from Soviet sector and Soviet Zone, be rescinded. British and French Commandants expressed readiness accept proposal. US Commandant agreed telephone his reply after studying proposal and consulting financial experts.

Routing of mail trains (ourtel 1186) then discussed. Although British, French and US Commandants stated orders had been issued in their areas of control to execute agreement, Kotikov declared all mail from Western Zones for Soviet sector was now arriving in US sector, therefore US not fulfilling agreement. Howley promised investigate matter.

Re five Soviet proposals submitted second meeting (ourtel 1186), Western Commandants said Germans on both sides of city had undertaken discussions which were proceeding satisfactorily.

Kotikov then read memo enlarging upon theme of collaboration between German organs, in obvious attempt achieve at least indirect [Page 374] recognition of Soviet Magistrat. Memo stated certain details re normalizing city’s life could be successfully discussed by German organs, thus “easing” work of quadripartite Commandants’ meetings. Memo therefore proposed that Commandants consider establishment of “acceptable form of contact between two magistrats or their organs” re concrete questions of normalization and re methods “mutually acceptable to us all, of convoking representatives of German organs for consultation.” Western Commandants agreed study memo and discuss at next meeting but made it clear they did not recognize Soviet magistrat and would not exceed their authority under Occupation Statute for West Berlin4 by issuing orders to Germans in matters not falling within reserved powers. Howley added that although out of politeness he would study Soviet memo, he could not accept proposals without “considerable change in US policy.”

Commandants also agreed discuss at next meeting four other Soviet proposals re uniform control venereal disease and certain animal diseases, restoration of shops and restaurants where Berliners, regardless of place of residence, can buy food stuffs on ration cards, and take meals, removal of limitations on supplying health establishments and pharmacies with medicines and medical instruments; two US proposals re judicial jurisdiction over offenses committed on railroad and S. Bahn property (Soviet controlled railroad police have been arresting offenders on such property and detaining or trying them in Soviet sector instead of sector where offense committed), and re reporting to West sector telegraph offices telegrams telephoned to Soviet sector offices by West sector residents so that payment can be collected; and one related French proposal re telephone traffic and telephone taxes.

Sent Department, pouched London, Paris, Moscow.

  1. Ante, p. 367.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. For the text of the Occupation Statute for West Berlin, see Germany 1941–1949, pp. 324–326.