December 24, 2017

1949. Positive News for West Germany on Christmas Eve

White Christmas in Berlin
Brandenburg Gate in December 1949 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 24, 1949

Germany tonight celebrates her fifth postwar Christmas Eve, industrially stronger and economically better off than on any holiday since the end of hostilities—but politically divided in an ideological split that appears to be a long time in the healing.

High Commissioner John J. McCloy's office today reveals that Western Germany's industrial production during November reached a record high—98 percent of the industrial production of the year 1936. It is a remarkable achievement. Eighteen months ago the figure was only 50 percent of the 1936 production. The year 1936 is considered the last period of normal output in this country.

Here in Berlin, Russia's General Kotikov has addressed a letter to the American, British, and French commandants, calling for resumption of four-power talks to normalize life in Berlin and blaming the breaking off of the conferences on the Westerners.

The three West Berlin commandants last month charged that the Russians were not living up to their settlement of Berlin's recent rail strike and are discriminating against the independent anti-Communist union. Although Kotikov offered to resume negotiations, the Western attitude is that until the rail union's complaints have been settled, further negotiations are fruitless.

For the past week, Americans here in Germany have been host to a million German children in a round of parties and Christmas shows that has everyone a little groggy.

The best break Berlin has received this Christmas Eve was the snow that fell last night. The city immediately mobilized 15,000 unemployed to clear it off the streets. A white Christmas in Berlin has more than sentimental value. It means that a few more of the quarter-million unemployed will get the most important present possible here—a job.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.