740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–1149: Telegram

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


686. Otto Grotewohl, SED co-chairman, in speech May 9, before Volksrat Praesidium, appealed to “West German political parties, Nauheimer Kreis, and youth groups” to accept Volksrat invitation for “all German” discussion in Braunschweig May 20. He intended apparently appeal directly to “people” since Volksrat telegram May 7 to Parliamentary Council and Bizone Economic Council (mytel 668, May 8; repeated London 239, Paris 226, Moscow 681) had not evoked desired response. Ever since its March session2 Volksrat has been endeavoring lure West Germans into common meeting and prevent crystallization West German government. Rapid progress at Bonn and approach of CFM 3 have needled Volksrat into present feverish activity.

Re oft-rumored East German state Grotewohl said: “In present situation one cannot under any circumstances make final decision on a German West state or German East state.”

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Equally interesting was Grotewohl revelation that SED was (1) ready join hands with any force “in struggle for German unity” and (2) even give up “anti-Fascist democratic order,” which has been SED designation for political system in Soviet Zone ever since party’s January conference.

On point (1) he said if necessary SED would reach understanding “with big industrialists and former Nazis”; on point (2) he stated that if “anti-Fascist democratic order” became barrier in unity fight “then we dare not hold to it.” He asked that personal motives and feelings be placed in background and said: “One must have the strength to admit that others, who are of different opinion in many things, make their decisions in subjective honesty. We have strength to concede this and to overlook differences of opinions in small things for sake of really important matter.”

It is of course too early to determine whether above statements signify radical change in SED policy they seem to imply. First impression is that exigencies of present situation from SED viewpoint forces it accept strange bedfellows, including even “big industrialists and former Nazis” whom it has condemned with usual Communist wrath since its inception. Also likelihood that SED has realized that Soviet policy may not support it as heretofore, and that party is searching for German elements with which to ally. One fact appears stand out, however: “Anti-Fascist democratic order” of Soviet Zone is not irrevocable.

Sent Department 686; repeated Moscow 71, Paris 232.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted the text of a letter signed by Nuschke, Kastner and Grotewohl to the Bonn Parliamentary Council and the Bizonal Economic Council, appealing again for discussions on German political, economic and cultural unity, and for the drafting of an all-German memorandum to the Council of Foreign Ministers concerning the speedy conclusion of a peace treaty and withdrawal of occupation troops. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–849)
  2. Regarding the March session of the Volksrat, see telegram 413, March 21, p. 510.
  3. For documentation on the sixth session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, Paris, May 23–June 20, see pp. 913 ff.