740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–345: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Caffery ) to the Secretary of State

3268. From Heath. The matter of permitting political activity in Germany with respect to which the Supreme Commander possesses discretionary authority under CCS 55142 was discussed in a G–5 SHAEF meeting today in view of questions that have been raised by Mil Govt detachments in the field. The present prescriptions by which these detachments are governed are contained in the SHAEF Directive for Military Govt in Germany prior to defeat or surrender of Nov. 9 (despatch No. 73, Jan 17, 194543) and by para 100 of the Handbook. 44 These are being followed in the US area in the sense of [Page 942] prohibiting all forms of political activity and to extent indeed that in Munich a notice was posted forbidding any political organization specifying that anti-Fascist organizations were included. On the other hand some detachments in other areas feel that renewal of political activity should be permitted.

G–5 officers feel that it is still too early to allow this by SHAEF instruction. They point out that most of the detachments have not had sufficient experience and that the situation with regard to political movements is as yet too uncertain. At our suggestion however G–5 will consider requesting the detachments to make a survey of the problem with a view to obtaining their opinions as to advisability of renewed political activity (excluding of course Nazi activity) and the consequences that might be expected to follow. It was felt this would have the additional advantage of making detachment officers conscious of the questions they may ultimately have to face in handling political groups. With respect to trade unions G–5 feels that these should be kept as non-political as possible at the beginning and it is studying the question of providing guarantees for this purpose as well as for the purpose of excluding union racketeers. Incidentally there are indications that Brit in some of their areas are following line of paragraph 2 of their counter-proposal to our JCS 106746 which subject to considerations of military security permits political activity but forbids public meetings and demonstrations.47 [Heath.]

  1. For text of this document, see memorandum by the U.S. and U.K. Representatives to the European Advisory Commission, May 15, 1944, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 217.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Reference is to the Handbook for Military Government in Germany (1944), prepared in SHAEF.
  4. For text of British counter-proposal, see p. 521.
  5. For a subsequent report on the question of banning political activity in Germany, see airgram 63, June 28, 1945, from Murphy, Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. i, p. 472.