740.00119 Control (Germany)/9–2549: Telegram

The United States Commander, Berlin ( Taylor ) to the Acting Secretary of State


1391. Reference Deptel 951, September 22, sent Frankfurt 1684.1 After Western Commandants’ invitation to Soviets for quadripartite meeting September 21 was refused on grounds Soviet Deputy Commandant Col. Yelisarov “out of town” (Commandant Gen. Kotikov also away), High Commissioners met in Berlin September 24 with Western Commandants re railway workers pay. After general discussion of problem and lack of fulfillment by Soviets and RBD of agreements reached at termination of S–Bahn strike (PolAd’s telegrams 980 and 981, June 22 and 1010 June 25 repeated London 328, Paris 4422), High Commissioners took following decisions:

If Soviets fail to respect agreements, Western Commandants are authorized to discontinue quadripartite commandants’ “normalization” discussions. If this step is taken, Western Commandants will make public statement reviewing measures taken by them to assist [Page 393] Berlin railroad workers and underlining Soviet failure to fulfull obligations.
Western Commandants will examine and report to High Commissioners other ways of exerting pressure on Soviets, including consideration of consequences of impounding Reichsbahn revenues in West sectors.
Western Commandants will inform Magistrat that 40 percent Westmark exchange for railway workers will be discontinued on expiration of agreed three months period, but that Westmark exchange up to 60 percent of pay of railroaders living in West sectors but working in Soviet sector is authorized as long as Soviets refuse pay them this 60 percent in Westmarks.3

In reaching these decisions the High Commissioners were guided by the feeling that it is useless to continue normalization talks in Berlin in an atmosphere of lack of confidences, created by failure of Soviets to keep their agreements re railway workers. In breaking off these discussions, they considered it important to expose bad faith of Soviets and to present in their proper light the efforts of the allies, to protect the interests of the workers.

Re continuation of the 40 percent Westmark exchange, High Commissioners felt that now if ever is the time to stop this exchange. The three month exchange period was approved at termination of strike to allow Reichsbahndirektion time to accumulate sufficient Westmarks from ticket sales in West sector to pay railroaders living in West sectors in agreed proportions. There is now definite evidence that Reichsbahn Westmark income has been sufficient for this purpose, so that there is no reason for Western allies to bear burden which properly belongs on Reichsbahn. High Commissioners noted there are limits on financial aid for Berlin and no longer felt justified in expending for the benefit of a small segment of Berlin workers funds which might better be applied on a city wide basis.4

Sent Department 1391; Department pass Moscow 125; repeated London 443, Paris 496, Frankfort 129.

  1. Ante, p. 390.
  2. Telegrams 980 and 1010, pp. 850 and 851. Regarding telegram 981, see editorial note, p. 849.
  3. Next to the first paragraph of the source text was the handwritten notation: “According to Byroade, Murphy and he agree with me to let things proceed on this basis. P[erry] L[aukhuff].
  4. In his next telegram Taylor advised McCloy and the Department of State that General Kotikov or his deputy would he invited to the quadripartite commandants’ meeting on September 28. If Kotikov failed to appear or did not guarantee fulfillment of the Soviet commitments to the railroad workers, the Western commandants would issue a press statement reviewing the history of the dispute and announcing the decision to halt quadripartite commandants normalization talks. (862.01/9–2349)