740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–2549: Telegram

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

confidential    priority

1010. Be Berlin strike, Western deputy military governors held two meetings today in which agreement was reached on letter from Western commandants to Magistrat, text of which is as follows:

  • “1. The railway strike, despite all efforts on part of Western commandants and Magistrat, has now lasted for five weeks. Strike is preventing free flow of trade between Berlin and the West, and is, therefore, impeding restoration of economic life of Berlin.
  • 2. Direct cost to city in way of unemployment pay amounts to some 397,000 DM per week, apart from very large loss of revenue which is an indirect result of strike.
  • 3. Western commandants have given UGO their full support in their legitimate claims for satisfactory settlement of wage issue.
  • 4. Western commandants consider that moment has arrived when continuation of strike is no longer justified for following reasons:
    Western commandants have noted that General Kvashnin has given verbal and written assurances that there will be no victimization of strikers who return to work.
    As result of Paris agreement1 four occupying powers are obligated to take action to facilitate movement of goods and persons and to reestablish normal condition in Berlin.
    Strike is having serious effect on social and economic life of Berlin and on economic life of Germany.
    Strike is imposing an unwarranted burden on Western allies in obliging them to bring to Berlin by air, goods which should normally come by rail. If strike continues, population of Berlin will inevitably be deprived of advantages they should enjoy as result of New York agreement.2
  • 5. Reichsbahndirektion has undertaken to pay to Railway workers at least 60 percent their wages in Westmarks and more as and when the Westmark receipt of Reichsbahn permit. Western commandants hereby authorize Magistrat to exchange for the railway workers who reside in West sectors and who return to work on or prior to 28 June as many Westmarks for Eastmarks as may be necessary, over and above the Westmarks received by them from Reichsbahndirektion, to ensure that they receive 100 percent their wages in Westmarks. This authorization will remain in effect for three months at which time authorization may be reviewed in light of situation which then prevails.
  • 6. In view these arrangements and assurances of General Kvashnin, Western commandants therefore hereby direct Magistrat to cease payment of unemployment relief to those railway workers who have not returned to work by June 28. An exception however is made for those railway workers who reside in West sectors Berlin and who in writing indicate their desire by June 28 not to return to work under the Berlin Reichsbahndirektion and their intention to seek work elsewhere and who also give in writing the assurance that they will not in any way interfere with operation of the railway. Further, Western commandants direct that, in those cases in which railway workers do express their desire in writing, Magistrat shall give every possible assistance to enable them to secure alternative employment.”

Commandants will call in UGO leaders within next hour and give them copy this communication. Reuter will then be seen and will be given the letter. On both occasions, commandants will hand over letter with appropriate explanations to effect that strike must be ended.

Copies of letter will likewise be sent to SMA and to Reichsbahndirektion.

Sent Department 1010, repeated London 328, Paris 442.

  1. For the text of the communiqué of the Sixth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, June 20, 1949, see p. 1062.
  2. See editorial note, p. 750.