740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–1145: Telegram

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

1231. (1) Last week’s agreement on the first list of plants available for reparations delivery is generally accepted as having produced a good effect, at least on the Russians (see my 1196 of December 7, 8 p.m. [10 a.m.]54) and fourteenth meeting of Control Council yesterday, US member presiding, was held in an amiable atmosphere and yielded better prospects of a settlement on restitution.55

(2) Stating he had sufficient latitude to solve the problem of restitution, Russian member objected that General Clay’s compromise56 was not sufficiently concrete and he referred to General Sokolovsky’s offer to discuss each case of restitution separately (see mytel above and my 1176 of December 4, 7 p.m.57). French member said he had not received any new instructions and that in their absence he was bound by the declaration of January 5, 194358 which was perfectly clear and had been accepted by other countries than France.

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Zhukov claimed that the statement of January 5, 1943, was of a declaratory nature intended to warn criminal govts willing to make accords with the Germans. The Cont Coun was the supreme power charged with giving practical application to declaratory documents. The question of restitution was a complicated one and Fascist elements such as Pétain and Laval59 had made voluntary agreements which required further examination. Zhukov suggested that the text to be adopted by the Cont Coun deal only with those matters which were perfectly clear and that all others be left for the Cont Coun to decide on the basis of the Sov offer to have restitution questions discussed separately in each case.

French member pointed out that January 5, 1943 declaration was signed by French authorities who had nothing to do with Pétain and Laval. He said he did not refuse to study the Russian offer but would like a concrete text. This the Soviet member agreed to furnish for the next meeting on the Coordinating Committee.

US chairman summarized the discussion by pointing out that by this next meeting the French may have received new instructions permitting them to recede from their rigid position and that the Russians had sufficient latitude to make concessions which might solve the problem. Stating “This is possible”, Soviet member agreed to renewed consideration restitution by the Coordinating Committee.

(3) Control Council ratified Coordinating Committee’s agreement on first list of plants available for advance delivery on reparations (see 1196 above), while accepting the French member’s statement that his Govt maintained its position on looted material continued in the plants in question. Agreement will be mentioned in communiqué and it is understood the list of plants will be made available to the press.

(4) With respect to the establishment of consular offices throughout Germany (see my 1197 of December 7, 9 p.m. [10 a.m.]60), Russian member stated this question went beyond his authority but that he had requested new instructions from his Govt which he hoped to receive by next meeting of Control Council on December 20. Matter was deferred for consideration at this further meeting.

(5) French member made an appeal to Allied authorities concerned to expedite deliveries of wheat to the French zone and of coal from Germany to France. Russian member pointed out that the Russian authorities were not involved, and US and British members promised all possible assistance with regard to the first and second questions respectively.

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(6) On French suggestion Control Council is addressing a telegram of good wishes to General Eisenhower on the occasion of his new appointment.61

Sent Dept 1231, repeated to Moscow as 98 and Paris for Angell as 167.

  1. This telegram reported discussions at the 25th meeting of the Coordinating Committee, December 6; for extracts, see p. 1447.
  2. The subject under discussion was a report by the Coordinating Committee (CONL/P(45)65) on a definition of the term “restitution.” At the 23rd meeting of the Coordinating Committee, November 27, the matter had reached a deadlock. The Soviet member insisted that restitution was “limited to property capable of identification, forcibly seized and carried away from the territory of the country by the enemy.” The other members favored a definition which limited restitution “to identifiable goods which existed at the time of the occupation and which were taken out of the country by the enemy, whatever the means of dispossession.” Their definition also included identifiable goods produced during the occupation acquired by the enemy by force. The deadlock could not be resolved in discussion at the 24th meeting, December 3, and so was turned over to the Control Council. For more complete accounts of these discussions, see pp. 1426–1440.
  3. At the 23rd meeting of the Coordinating Committee, November 27, General Clay suggested a definition which limited restitution. This definition is quoted in second paragraph of section numbered (2) in telegram 1126, November 28, 8 p.m., from Berlin, p. 1426.
  4. For extract, see p. 1440.
  5. Inter-allied declaration against acts of dispossession committed in territories under enemy occupation or control, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 443.
  6. Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain, Chief of the French State, 1940–44, and Pierre Laval, French Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, 1940, and Prime Minister, 1942–44.
  7. Post, p. 1012.
  8. General Eisenhower became Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, November 19, 1945.