Publication: The China Critic

Full Citation

  • Title Memo: Work for One Germany or Settle for Two
  • Publication Title The China Critic
  • Collection China and the Modern World: Missionary, Sinology and Literary periodicals 1817-1949
  • Date Thursday,  Nov. 22, 1945
  • Volume 32
  • Issue Number 14
  • Page Number 177
  • Place of Publication Shanghai, China
  • Language English
  • Document Type Essay; Reprint
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library National Library of China
Memo: Work for One Germany or Settle for Two Reprinted from Newsweek A memorandum on President Truman’s desk cautions that the laboriously built Potsdam machinery for the administration of Germany is about to break down. It adds that it is breaking down for exactly the same reasons which were responsible for the failure of the London conference: — differences with the Russians on the implementation of policies and on the meaning of words in which these policies are expressed. . The memorandum eafnestly advocates the continuation of present efforts at an understanding with the Russians. B*ut it warns that if these efforts should fail, the splitting of Germany into two separate and independent parts is inevitable. • In fact, the time for drafting an American policy toward a future Western Germany is already at hand. Wall Across the Reich: The memorandum recalls that two basic principles underlay the Potsdam declaration in regard to Germany: -(1) there should be uniformity of treatment of the Gorman population throughout Germany, and (2) Germany should be treated as a single economic unit. Neither of these principles has been applied in practice.' With the exception of the city of Berlin the Russian zone is completely isolated from the rest of Germany. In compliance with the Potsdam terms some form of democratic life is being introduced in the American and British zones. According to the memorandum, trade unionism is encouraged, and freedom of the press and local self-government arc gradually being established. But an entirely different concept of democracy prevails in the Russian zone. By persuasion, .arrests, and deportations, and by manipulating the rationing system, all German political groups are forced to join the German Communist party. This still operates under the supreme control of Russian political commissars. Economically, the memorandum says, the cleavage is even more striking. No trade is allowed to move into or from the Russian zone. Britain and the United States are anxious to avoid the necessity of feeding the Germans from Allied stocks. They encouraged a limited industrial production to pay for Germany’s needed food imports. But as far as is known, the Russian zone has been completely, stripped of all productive equipment. Under the Potsdam agreement, the Russians are to obtain, not later than Feb. 2, 1946, 25 percent of such industrial equipment in the western zone as “is unnecessary for the German peace economy.” But, ' the memorandum continues, if the Russians continue their policy of removing all industrial equipment in their zone, irrespective of the needs of the rest of Germany, there can hardly be any industry in Western Germany which will be “unnecessary for the German peace economy." For, if Germany is to live at all within its reduced borders it must import foodstuffs. And it must pay for them with the output of its industries. The Reluctant Santa: The Russians arc reported to believe that when Germany is deprived of all means of making a livelihood the softhearted Western Allies will provide subsistence through loans and relief. American policymakers, however, arc determined not to repeat the post-1918 method of paying German reparations with American money. The refusal of the Western Powers to deliver 25 percent of the “surplus” German equipment will undoubtedly bring Russian charges of violations of the Potsdam agreement. But as matters stand at present the United States and Britain will insist that, if a unified Germany is to exist at all, Russia’s policies in its zone will have to conform more closely to the Western interpretation of the-' Potsdam agreement — and not the other way about.