740.00119 Control (German)/5–2649: Telegram

The Acting United States Political Adviser for Germany (Riddleberger) to the United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers


330.1 West commandants met this afternoon to reassess Berlin strike and transport situation and decide what further action necessary. They agreed on broad outlines of written estimate of situation which will be submitted to respective Military Governors this evening. Their recommendations are 3 in number:

  • First, no direct action by commandants is required at this moment.
  • Second, they will informally advise Reuter and Magistrat to continue efforts to negotiate with Reichsbahndirektion.
  • Third, they recommend that at next meeting of Economic advisers, West representatives should make quite clear to Soviet representative that Soviets are failing to move trains in and out of Berlin as required by New York agreement2 and that continued failure along this line will pose serious threat to Paris meeting of CFM.

Reasons for these decisions are that our position is generally strong and would be weakened by active intervention now. From law and order standpoint, situation entirely quiet today. Strike is completely effective and morale of strikers and general population remains high. UGO yesterday formally offered to Reichsbahndirektion to bring interzonal trains in and out of Berlin and offer was refused. Responsibility for present non-implementation New York agreement therefore rests squarely with Soviets and their agencies. In these circumstances, it is considered desirable to give somewhat more time for seriousness of situation and sense of responsibility for jeopardizing Paris meeting to sink in on Russians. General estimate is that strike is hurting them more than us and active Kommandatura intervention will be premature so long as population’s morale remains high. It is realized that morale may change and commandants therefore agreed to meet again not later than Monday to reexamine situation. If Soviets or their agencies have not by then negotiated settlement with US Government, which many observers including Reuter feel they well may do, and if morale takes turn for worse, it is probable commandants will intervene by ordering collection of fares in West sectors in West marks and payment of West sector railroaders in West marks. This would remove [Page 845] principal grievance of strikers though it would not touch their other two demands, namely, recognition of UGO and reinstatement of dismissed employees.

Sent Paris 330 for USDel, repeated Department 825.

  1. The source text is the copy in the Department of State files.
  2. Under reference here is the Four-Power communiqué May 5, which called for the lifting of all restrictions on trade and communications with Berlin and the convoking of the Council of Foreign Ministers. For the text of the communiqué see editorial note, p. 750.