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25 Hood to Heydon

Letter LONDON, 12 July 1946


Booker and I have now had a chance, between us, to see most of the Australians appointed in the last few months to the Control Commission for Germany. Some we have seen on the spot, while two or three others have been over in London for short leave or on duty.

The general impression I get is that although most of them are reasonably satisfied with the actual conditions of work and living in Germany, they all feel a certain general disillusionment and frustration as they find on the whole that, although the post on paper may be a reasonably responsible one, the scope for any real influence on general policy is very restricted and that they are just rather small bits in a complicated and unwieldy machine.

What they say confirms the opinion I have formed myself and which is also constantly expressed by others who have been in the British zone, that the British element of the Control Commission badly lacks any clear line of guidance from the top and that it suffers at all levels from mediocrity and excessively bureaucratic methods. It had been hoped that when the changeover from Military Government to C.C.G. had been carried through, as it now has to a large extent, some of the main earlier faults would disappear.

This may certainly be so in the sense that earlier friction and duplication between the civil and military sides has diminished, but as against this the recruitment into C.C.G. of large numbers of demobilised military personnel has meant a carry over into C.C.G. of Army outlook and methods, all right in themselves from the point of view of the occupying forces but not what is wanted in the extremely difficult job of the civil administration of 20,000,000 people without any administrative means of their own.

Lauder [1], who is on the technical administration side at Minden, has been over here this week with a certain amount of useful information. Among the matters he is interested in is the proposal of which you may have heard already from another source to bring to Australia for a limited period a number of German scientists and technologists. [2] I think Cochrane has been interested in this and it may have already had some consideration in Canberra.

While there are obvious local objections, Lauder points out that the opportunity may be an important one and may not last much longer, as British, Americans and Russians are drawing on those people at present available in Germany at an increasing rate.

Lauder also said that under cover of visits of inspection organised in Germany a considerable amount of quiet investigation is going on on behalf of private commercial and industrial interests in this country. Here again, there may be some in Australia who would be interested in this sort of opportunity.

Bill Lockwood [3] was also over recently and left with us a note on food conditions in the zones he had observed. I enclose a copy.

All the Australians I have spoken to have reported that the Commission authorities they deal with are quite open with information, and help quite readily in providing data which may be of interest to us. As they get more settled in we may expect this to be a useful addition to our sources of information.


1 I K. H. Lauder, Chief Technical Assistant, Chemical Section, Economics Division, Allied Control Commission.

2 See Document 280.

3 W. H. Lockwood, Senior Technical Assistant, Food and Agriculture Branch, Economics Division, Allied Control Commission.

[AA:A1067, E46/15/18]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History