740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–1349: Telegram

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


1356. For McCloy from Taylor and for USPolAd. Fourth quadripartite commandants’ meeting held September 12 under British chairmanship in atmosphere of unusual amiability. Deputy Soviet Commandant, Col. Yelisarov, attended in place of Gen. Kotikov who is reportedly on leave. A. G. Kovalev was again Soviet political adviser.

Two substantive agreements reached: (1) re postage stamps and (2) re meetings of German experts. Western commandants agreed accept Soviet proposal re stamps submitted at August 18 meeting (mytel 1289 August 201) provided (a) wording was changed to make clear that mutual recognition of “legal validity” of stamps was “for purposes of delivery” only, and (b) that Soviet commandant understood recognition applied only to mail with Soviet Zone/Soviet sector stamps mailed in those areas and to mail with West sector stamps mailed in [Page 379] West sectors. Wording was also expanded, at Western commandants’ request, to include opening paragraph stating that the agreement had been reached in discussions undertaken in accordance Paris CFM communiqué and that each commandant would undertake to implement it unilaterally in his own sector (mytel 1351 September 10 repeated Frankfurt for McCloy from Taylor and for USPolAd 1132). Yelisarov raised no objections to changes and, although question of signing agreement was not reopened, four commandants concurred in its publication as agreed paper to become effective September 16.

Discussion re meetings of German experts was based on Soviet proposal presented at August 18 meeting (mytel 1289) which had appeared to be attempt to obtain recognition of Soviet magistrat by having agencies of the “two magistrats” collaborate. Western commandants, in accordance agreement reached at private meeting September 9 (mytel 1351) expressed readiness to further collaboration of German “experts” on normalization measures, but emphasized that in so doing they would not take any steps which might involve recognition of Soviet magistrat or establish any fixed German body composed of elements from two sides of city. They further stress that Germans participating in such discussions should be true experts in respective fields and not politicians. Yelisarov somewhat surprisingly replied that when Soviets had made proposal they “had in mind nothing except normalization of city’s life and did not intend that Western commandants recognize (Soviet) magistrat.” It was therefore agreed (1) that German experts be designated by both sides (methods of designation to be left up to each side) to discuss any proposals for normalization made in quadripartite commandants meetings which latter agreed were worth discussion; and (2) that commandants will “recommend” to respective experts that talks be expedited and any agreed reports submitted to commandants.

During discussion this matter Western commandants, by prearrangement, raised question of their letter to Gen. Kvashnin re railroad workers wages and dismissals (mytel 1350 September 103). They [Page 380] pointed out difficulty of maintaining spirit of confidence during quadripartite commandants talks when Soviets were simultaneously flagrantly violating commitments made only three months ago. They asked Yelisarov what Soviets intended to do towards fulfilling promises re railroaders. Yelisarov said he was not in position to comment on letter himself, but gave assurance he would tell Kvashnin of Western commandants’ anxiety “so answer may be given as soon as possible”.

Other questions discussed were:

Release of West Berlin public and private funds impounded in Soviet sector (US proposal submitted at August 18 meeting). Yelisarov said matter was being “studied” and he could not reply now. US commandant pointed out importance of subject and fact that way it was handled would influence confidence between commandants. Yelisarov indicated he would try to answer at next meeting.
Reports from telegraph office in Soviet sector (US proposal) and routing of telephone traffic and collection of charges (French proposal) (mytel 1289) referred to German experts.
Judicial jurisdiction over offenses committed on railroad and S. Bahn property (US proposal). Yelisarov deferred reply till next meeting as matter was “under study”. Western commandants stressed study unnecessary since it was merely question of right or wrong, and hoped Soviets would give favorable reply next meeting.
Four Soviet proposals re venereal disease, swine fever, etc. (mytel 1289), were either dropped from agenda as unimportant or already adequately covered, or it was agreed that Germans would exchange information as necessary between various city districts.

For discussion at next meeting, British submitted proposal re judicial, jurisdiction over Reichsbahn property in West sectors, and French Zone re parcel post and gift parcels for Berlin.

Sent Department 1356; repeated Frankfurt 116; pouched London, Paris and Moscow.

  1. Ante, p. 372.
  2. Not printed; it reported on a private meeting of the Western commandants, September 9, preparatory to the quadripartite commandants’ meeting on September 12. At the meeting the British suggested that the Western commandants were too prone to turn down Soviet proposals and should change their tactics. It was agreed that the commandants would go further to meet the Soviet commandant, but would not depart from the principle of taking no action which might involve direct or indirect recognition of the Soviet magistrat. The United States commandant then proposed that quadripartite agreements might be signed provided it was clear that they would be implemented unilaterally by each commandant in his sector and that they resulted from the Paris agreement, not from a revival of the allied Kommandatura. (862.00/9–1249)
  3. Not printed; it transmitted the text of a letter from the Western commandants to General Kvashnin which stated that the agreement which settled the Berlin railroad strike in June was “… being constantly violated, both in spirit and in the letter, by the Reichsbahndirektion.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–1040)