Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 97 (June 1947)
Szymczak, M. S.
The United States' stake in German economic recovery, pp. 13-18 PDF (3.9 MB)
all economic unity of Germany is achieved, however, German recovery will be hampered by obstacles to the free flow of goods within the country. Transportation has suffered parti- cularly badly from war damage. Mili- tary Government can be proud, how- ever, of its record in repairing rail- roads, inland waterways, port faci- lities, and highways. Railroad tracks in operation represent 97 percent of the prewar total. Almost as many sunken vessels have been raised in the American Zone as in all other zones together and the proportion of port channels cleared is higher than in any other zone. The American Zone also has a larger proportion of operating motor vehicles than any other zone. Despite this progress, transporta- tion is even now in need of repair and maintenance is a constant pro- blem. Allocations of materials are being made for this purpose but must be revised as required to meet new priority demands from other sides of the battered economic structure. International Trade In 1946, the foreign trade of the American Zone was almost entirely confined to the importation of food- stuffs and other essential goods by the occupation forces in order to pre- vent disease and unrest among the population. Such imports are financed by War Department appropriations. The only other substantial import transaction was the shipment of some surplus American cotton held by the Commodity Credit Corporation. This cotton was delivered to German pro- cessors; the finished goods are being exported in an amount sufficient to pay for the cost of the imports, and the rest is available for German con- sumption. In the fall of 1946, similar arrange- ments were made by American Mili- tary Government for the importation of raw materials required for the manufacture of ceramics, optical in- struments, building materials, chemi- cals, and toys. The interim financing for these imports is handled by the US Commercial Corporation, a sub- sidiary of the RFC. Exports from the American Zone in 1946 were confined mainly to lumber and hops and a few industrial goods, taken from existing inventories or produced from raw material stocks. The amounts shipped were very small, in the neighborhood of three percent of the estimated pre- war exports of the zone's area. Imports into the British Zone were similar to those of the American Zone, but exports from the British Zone were considerably larger, due almost entirely to Ruhr coal. Coal exports reached a weekly volume of 260,000 tons in the summer of 1946, or about 40 percent of prewar, but this involved heavy drafts on existing stocks and inadequate allocations to the needs of the German economy. As a result, exports of coal had to be reduced by about 30 percent in the fall of 1946. Even the peak figure in the summer of 1946 was far from suf- ficient to meet demand in the rest of Europe, and the reduction of coal ex- ports was a heavy blow to the im- porting countries. In the first months of 1947, exports had to be curtailed still further, reaching a low of 103,000 tons per week in February. Meanwhile, how- ever, the output of the Ruhr mines had risen and coal exports could be increased again. In April and May, the unsatisfactory food situation brought about some labor disturban- ces which kept coal output somewhat below the March peak. As soon as these difficulties are overcome, a further rise in output is expected, and in that case exports will reach in summer a minimum of 265,000 tons per week, while at the same time allotments for the needs of the merged zones will be a mini- mum of 860,000 tons per week, or about 30 percent above the peak allotment in 1946. The increase in domestic allotment will mainly bene- fit industrial enterprises, which in this way will be enabled to raise their output and thus to contribute more efficiently to the projected ex- pansion of foreign trade. Apart from coal exports, foreign trade of the merged zones in 1947 will be determined by the working of the bizonal merger agreement. This agreement provides for the coopera- tion of the American and British oc- cupation authorities, and of the re- presentatives of the German states, in formulating an import-export pro- gram for the rehabilitation of the German economy. A major objective of this rehabilitation program is to put the merged zones of Germany back on a self-supporting basis, i. e., to develop exports to a point where they cover imports. Meanwhile, however, the occupy- ing powers must bear the cost not only of the basic program for the prevention of "disease and unrest," but also of the raw material and equipment imports required to "prime the pump" of German export indu- stries, Certain funds are already in hand for this second part of the pro- gram, including the receipts from ex- ports of 1945-46, some former Ger- man external assets transferred to the occupying powers under agreements with neutral countries, and the cre- dits negotiated with the US Commer- cial Corporation. Bears Half of Costs The United Kingdom is participat- ing in the program in two ways. It bears half of the costs of sending basic necessities to the merged Amer- ican and British Zones, and it finan- ces half of the funds needed for "priming the pump" of the area's in- dustry. Whenever, in the future, additional advances should be re- quired, the United Kingdom also will bear an equal share with the United States. The expected increase in imports will necessitate, but also make pos- sible, larger German exports. In order to facilitate exports, the occu- pation authorities have authorized foreign businessmen to correspond with prospective German trading partners. Only so-called ncn-trans- actional mail, i. e., correspondence preparing rather than concluding ac- tual contracts, has been allowed so far, but transactional mail may be admitted in the near future. Military Government also provides facilities for foreign businessmen to travel in Germany and renew trade contacts. Contracts have to be sub- mitted for approval to the Joint Ex- port-Import Agency of the US/UK occupying powers, and all payments have to be made to the account of the Agency rather than individually to German exporters. The Agency has issued rules of procedure, stat- WEEKLY INFORMATION BULLETIN 16 16 JUNE 1947
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