740.00119 Control (Germany) /8–449: Telegram

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

confidential

1226. Re mytel 1217, August 3.1 Soviet Zone Economic Commission (DWK) angling for all-German economic commission viewed by us [Page 525]as part of campaign to raise status of German-conducted interzonal trade negotiations from technical to political level. Post-blockade history these negotiations has shown Soviet Zone representatives consistently pressing for comprehensive economic arrangements and establishment of permanent interzonal economic organs which could exert control over West Germany economic policy.

Proposal for all-German economic commission bears certain resemblance to Vishinsky CFM proposal for “state council” based on economic organs in West and East Germany. We regard Soviet Zone representatives’ efforts to shift interzonal trade negotiations to top level as attempt to maximize political exploitation of trade issue through use of top personalities. These efforts also reflect endeavor to portray DWK as legitimate political-economic representation. Another example of Soviet desire politicize relations Eastern and Western Germany is recent SED Politburo proposal for conference of Land welfare ministers from all zones to discuss refugee problems. West Germans have so far ignored suggestion. There have also been newspaper rumors that Volksrat urging Soviet Zone Laender Ministers President to approach their opposite numbers in the West for an all-German conference on Ministers President level.

West German negotiators have had to be constantly on defensive in striving to pare down Soviet Zone proposals to level of technical trade arrangements between East and West. This policy has been constantly attacked by Soviet-controlled press as violating intent of that part of CFM agreement which recommends closer economic ties between Soviet Zone and West Germany. West German resistance to (1) compromising West German control of its own economy, (2) “legitimizing” DWK, and (3) involvement in political issues, being exploited by Soviet propaganda to place onus for continuing German disunity on West Germans.

Recent concentration of fire on West Germans rather than on West powers may presage Soviet approach to West powers asking them to “bring West Germans into line” with Paris agreement.

Gantenbein
  1. Not printed; it reported that an exchange of letters between the DWK and the Bizonal Economic Council in July had failed to reach agreement on the restoration of economic unity for Germany. (740.00119 Council/8–349)