GHDI logo

The U.S. State Department Analyzes the Soviet Note on Berlin (January 7, 1959)

page 21 of 25    print version    return to list previous document      next document

4. The Soviet Union continued to extract reparations from its zone at a time when the Western powers were forced to maintain a minimum economic level by financing imports to Germany. In effect, shipments of reparations to the U.S.S.R. at a time when the United States was supporting its own zone to make up deficiencies caused by Soviet violations of the Potsdam Agreement amounted to the U.S.S.R.'s collecting reparations from the United States.

The Potsdam Protocol, dated August 1, 1945, and signed by the Heads of Government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.S.R., provided several things with respect to the reparations which the Soviet Union was to receive from Germany:

(1) Reparation claims of U.S.S.R. shall be met by removals from the zone of Germany occupied by the U.S.S.R., and from appropriate German external assets.
(2) In addition to the reparations to be taken by the U.S.S.R. from its own zone of occupation, the U.S.S.R. shall receive additionally from the Western Zones:
(a) 15 per cent of such usable and complete industrial capital equipment, in the first place from the metallurgical, chemical and machine manufacturing industries as is unnecessary for the German peace economy and should be removed from the Western Zones of Germany, in exchange for an equivalent value of food, coal, potash, zinc, timber, clay products, petroleum products, and such other commodities as may be agreed upon.
(b) 10 per cent of such industrial capital equipment as is unnecessary for the German peace economy and should be removed from the Western Zones, to be transferred to the Soviet Government on reparations account without payment or exchange of any kind in return.
(3) Payment of Reparations should leave enough resources to enable the German people to subsist without external assistance. In working out the economic balance of Germany the necessary means must be provided to pay for imports approved by the Control Council in Germany. The proceeds of exports from current production and stocks shall be available in the first place for payment for such imports.
(The above clause was not to apply to the equipment and products referred to in the passage quoted under 2 above.)
(4) During the period of occupation Germany shall be treated as a single economic unit. To this end common policies shall be established in regard to: [ . . . ] (d) import and export programs for Germany as a whole; [ . . . ] (f) reparation and removal of industrial war potential; (g) transportation and communications.

The United States began to make reparations shipments to the U.S.S.R. on March 31, 1946, and by the following August 1 had made 11,100 tons of reparations equipment available to the U.S.S.R. from the Kugel-Fischer ballbearing plant at Schweinfurt, the Daimler-Benz underground aircraft-engine plant at Obrigheim, the Deschimag shipyards at Bremen-Weser, and the Gendorf powerplant. By contrast, the Soviet Union did not live up to its agreement to ship to the Western zones of Germany food, coal, potash, zinc, timber, and other products from the Soviet Zone in exchange for a part of the reparations shipments from the Western zones.

first page < previous   |   next > last page