862B.49/7–753

No. 728
The Embassy of the United States to the Soviet Ministry for Foreign Affairs 1

secret

I have been instructed by the President to convey to you his deep concern with the conditions existing in the Soviet Zone of Germany and the increasing hardships to which the population of that area is being subjected. The government and the people of the United States are especially concerned over the steadily deteriorating food supply for the population of that area which has been an important factor in recent demonstrations against the local authorities.

The United States has traditionally sought to alleviate suffering, starvation and disease wherever it might be found. Because of its position as an occupying power in Germany my government has a legitimate interest in the welfare of the people of Germany. The urgent need for aid for the people in the eastern part of Germany has been brought to the attention of my government by its High Commissioner in Germany and also by Chancellor Adenauer.

Mindful of these needs, my government has, therefore, decided to offer to the Soviet Union as the occupying power for distribution to the population of Eastern Germany shipments of food amounting in value to approximately $15 million and consisting of grain, sugar, lard, soy bean oil and some other commodities.

Details as to the methods of distribution and places of delivery can unquestionably be worked out by the staffs of our respective [Page 1617] High Commissioners in Germany, and the United States authorities there will approach the Soviet authorities for this purpose as soon as the Soviet Government has reached a decision in this matter.

The Governments of the United Kingdom and France have been informed of this offer.

I trust that you will inform me of the acceptance of this offer by the Soviet Government as quickly as possible so that the food shortage afflicting the East German population may be alleviated speedily. In order that no time be lost during this grave emergency, the initial shipments of food will be transported to the zonal and sector boundaries in Germany beginning immediately.

Accept, etc.

  1. Transmitted to Moscow in telegram 32, July 9. In telegram 50 from Moscow, July 10, O’Shaughnessy confirmed that he had delivered the note to Vyshinsky for transmittal to Molotov at 9:30 p.m. on July 10. According to the telegram, Vyshinsky’s only comment upon receipt of the note was: “I don’t know from what sources President learned of situation requiring alleviation in East Germany.” (862B.49/7–1053) The note was released publicly in Germany and the United States simultaneous with its delivery to the Soviet Government.