740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–2249: Telegram

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


782. Representatives People’s Council (Volksrat) met with some Western Germans May 20 in Hannover (British Zone). Meeting was broken up soon after its opening by order British military governor because sponsoring organization, “Youth Action Committee for Unity of Germany,” had no license. Press estimates place number participants between 60 and 80; press was excluded from meeting which took place in a private residence.

Participants from Soviet Zone included Hermann Mattern (Chairman SED Control Commission), Georg Dertinger (Secretary General Soviet Zone CDU), Fran Schirmer-Proescher (Soviet LDP and member Soviet Berlin Magistrat). Wilhelm Pieck (Co-Chairman SED) and Otto Nuschke (Chairman Soviet Zone CDU) were at Hannover fair but did not take part, according to reports, in this short meeting.

Professor Ulrich Noack, whose Nauheimer Kreis has been flirting with People’s Council, did not appear but he was represented by Ton Machui (SPD) of Bizone Economic Council. (While meeting was in progress SPD Executive Board announced that Von Machui had been thrown out of party for participating in meeting initiated by KPD.) August Hausleiter of CSU refused invitation to take part. Western Germans were mostly from KPD and small organizations.

Main speech before meeting was broken up was delivered by Dertinger. He pointed out, according to SMA Taegliche Rundschau May 21, that both Bonn Constitution and constitution drawn up by People’s Council contain certain fundamentals from Weimar Constitution, and said talks on all-German constitution might proceed from these fundamentals.

Western Germans submitted resolution which lauded People’s Council “for making this discussion possible”, and pledged continuation of effort among “all parties and professions” to “bring all German discussion [;] all German representation may be set up to present German ideas to occupying powers”. TR claimed many participants signed resolution as they left room.

British-overt, Die Welt May 21 quoted Dertinger as saying that another meeting would be held Berlin May 27 (2 days before scheduled meeting People’s Congress).

This abortive meeting in Hannover was first “success” People’s Council has had in its attempt to lure Western Germans into common discussion on “unity” problem. That no responsible or leading Western [Page 518]German politician participated can probably be laid to fact that People’s Council is generally recognized as Soviet tool, not to West German lack of interest in unity question.

Sent Department, repeated Paris 294, London 280.