Publication: The Times

Full Citation

  • Title Change In East Zone
  • Author From Our Own Correspondent
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Monday,  Nov. 14, 1949
  • Issue Number 51538
  • Page Number 4
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
CHANGE IN EAST ZONE RUSSIAN TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS EMPHASIS ON 1945 I From Our Own Correspondent PERLIN, Nov. 13 The local administrative functions previously exercised by the Soviet military administration in Germany were formally handed over yesterday by the locat Russian commanders to theGovernment of the five Ldnder of the German " Democratic Republic" and to the east Berlip Magistrat. The Soviet military administration. in accordance with,the statement made by General Chuikov when the easterMl Government was formed last month, is now replaced by the civilian corntrol co mmis; sion which is still headed by GenerU Chuikov. As he reiterated to representatives of the Government on Friday night, the control commission will supervise the fulfilment in east Germany of the Potsdam and other four-Power agreements. There has been no detailed clarification of how this task is to be interpreted and carried out. Herr Qrotewohl's reply to General Chuikov on Friday leaves the impression that only general principles have been laid down, since the Prime 'Minister said that the forms of control would depend to a decisive extent on " the activity of our Government," and that he hoped that by justifying the trust shown them they could ensure that the control was carried out " in the friendliest of spirits and in elastic forms." MISSING STATUTE Commentators in west Berlin have been quick to point out that this lack of precision arises because the eastern Government, unlike the Federal Government in Bonn, has no occupation statute in which the powers of the occupation authorities are precisely defined, and that therefore tht sovereignty of the eastern Government may well be less than its members claim. -The eastern Government has complete nominal freedom, even in the fields of foreign policy and foreign trade, in which powers of intervention were reserved to the western High Commissioners in the Occupation Statute; but the Potsdam agreement is generally regarded as having been a much more restrictiveirdocument than the Occupation Statute. The western Powers in Paris last week reached decisions reported by your Diplomatic Correspondent as " opening up the way to a more liberal system of control and the future advance by Germany on its return journey by stages to the community of European nations "; but the emphasis in eastern Germany is on decisions taken in the summer of 1945. That Russian thinking on this subject may be dictated by international rather than by German considerations does not alter the fact that for the present, at least, no farreaching concessions have been made to the east German regime. At the annual conference of the east zone Christian Detnocratic Union this week-end Herr Dertinger, the Foreign Minister, boasted: We are now masters of our own fate ": and Herr Nuschke, one of the deputy Prime Ministers, claimed that by agreeing to the postponement of the elections for a year the party had gained all it would have pressed for at a general election-more self-determination, Parliamentary control of the German Economic Commission and of the police, equality of citizenship, religious freedom, and equality of private and public enterprise. A VOTING MACHINE This, however, is special pleading, designed to still the unrest in the party which, according to independent reports, appears to have found expression at the conference. The Liberal Democrats are more realistic in pointing out, as their party newspaper did yesterday that the Volkskammer is in danger of being no more than a voting machine which accepts Government legislation without proper discussion in committee. This has the effect of giving the Socialist Unity Partv full control over all the fields in which Herr Nuschke claims there is parliamentary freedonm The Liberal Democrats have had a slight success on this issue, but not enough to remove the impression that the two middle-class parties have been manoeuvred into a false position. It is now clear that some of the important concessions dangled before them during the negotiations early last monthnotably a peace treaty, the withdrawal of occupation troops, and the nationalization of industries now in Soviet hands-have been shelved. The return of one factory, the G.E.M.A. instm-tment factory, at Kopenick, is announced to-day. The G.E.M.A. works, which produced army wireless equipment during the war, was used by the Russians after 1945 for experimental and research work on which both Russian and German staff was employed. It is now believed that most of the equipment as well as many of the staff have been moved to Russia and that little of the original plant remains. MR. SEMITCHASTNOV It is also reliably reported that a number.of lignite mines in the eastern zone have been handed over to the German State. The mines returned would not, however, account for more than about 2 per cent. of the total lignite production even if working fully, and it is believed that in some cases equipment has been taken away. No public announcement on the return of these mines has been made. No information has been given from the Soviet side about the career of Mr. Semitchastnov, who, it was announced last week, is to be deputy head of the Soviet control commission. It is thought here. however, that he can be identified with MajorGeneral I. F. Semitchastnov, who from 1943 was deputy Prime Minister of Foreigzn Trade in Moscow and was prominent in negotiations with eastern European States. This would seen to indicate that the control commission will take a close interest in the Government's economic relations with the " people's democracies."