December 9, 2017

1949. United States Ramps Up Economic Ties to West Germany

East Germany Prepares for Stalin Birthday Celebration
East German demonstrators in Leipzig carry banners protesting the Marshall Plan and the atomic bomb, September 15, 1950 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 17, 1949

The United States today has taken the West German state under its economic wing. The ECA agreement granting some $260 million in Marshall Plan aid to the republic didn't say it, but the agreement clearly implies "for richer or for poorer," "for better or for worse."

The "richer or poorer" part is the most pressing right now. The keystone of the new Marshall Plan for West Germany is the stimulation of German private investment in a revived economy. The ECA funds hope to do the reviving and thus overcome reluctance of the Germans themselves to risk their money. The other theme running through the US-German agreement is the future admission of foreign investment here.

In this connection, the presence in America of Dr. Hermann Abs, director of Germany's Reconstruction Credit Institution, is expected to produce the initial moves toward getting American money into the German economy. Abs, incidentally, was director of the Deutsche Bank under Hitler. He has been under fire several times as favoring the cartel system that, in turn, produced this country's war machinery.

The East German Communist government this weekend begins a series of celebrations to climax on Wednesday, the birthday of Joseph Stalin. Party leader Wilhelm Pieck, president of the puppet government, is in Moscow representing his satellite state.

Yesterday a birthday train left Berlin for Moscow bearing gifts to the Russian premier. The German-Soviet Friendship Society today publishes a special edition dedicated to Stalin. On Tuesday in Weimar there will be the first performance of the Stalin Cantata written by a German composer.

All in all, the comrades here are trying to see which can outdo the other in dictator-worship. One newspaper bannerlines this statement: "Moscow, the people's mother, all hearts belong to you."

But the article I like best is the one that includes Stalin's report cards from his school. This report card shows that little Joe was smart, even as a kid. He got the highest marks in six out of seven subjects.

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