University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 100 (July 1947)

[Gift parcels],   pp. [2]-[3] PDF (1.5 MB)

Page [3]

WHEN the S. S. Beauregard docked
W       at Bremerhaven on 20 June 1947,
it was the 77th ship from the United
States bearing gift parcels from
Americans to needy civilians in
occupied Germany.
The first ship arrived late in June
1946 with approximately 95,000 parcels
for Germans in the US Zone. Over
400,000 parcels per week containing
approximately 4 million pounds of
food, clothing, and other relief sup-
plies are now coming into Germany
via one-way international parcel post
from donors in the United States.
During the month of May a total of
1,600,000 packages were distributed in
the four occupied zones and the City
of Berlin. During the first 20 days of
June six ships arrived with over
1,200,000  additional  parcels,  and
several  other  shipments are  due
during the month.
As of 20 June, a grand total of
11,770,000 parcels have arrived from
the United States: 5,438,000 of these
were delivered to residents in the
US Zone, 4,190,000 in the British
Zone, 1,024,000 in the French Zone,
958,000 in the Soviet Zone, and 158,000
in the City of Berlin. These shipments
contained an estimated 94 million
pounds of food of a wide variety
unobtainable from German food stocks,
which are limited almost entirely to
staple  items,  and  some   12,000
tons of clothing, medicinal supplies,
soap, and other necessities which are
in critically short supply within the
severely - rationed German economy.
Although complete figures are not
available at present, an estimated
10,000 parcels per week are now ar-
riving from countries other than the
United States with the largest volume
recorded from Switzerland.
Gift parcel service was the answer
to public demand in the United
States for a workable plan to permit
the transmission of relief supplies to
friends, relatives, and welfare organi-
zations in occupied Germany. 'Ihis
service must not be confused with
CARE or CRALOG supplies, or other
programs sponsored by various relief
organizations. Gift parcels are trans-
ported to Germany through inter-
national postal channels and most
packages are sent from individual to
individual. Military Government also
encourages the sending of gift parcels
from trade unions, universities, and
church organizations outside Germany
to their counterparts here.
AT first, this service was available
only to residents of the US Zone
after failure to reach quadripartite
agreement for acceptance  of gift
parcels in all occupied areas. But it
was extended to Germans in the
British Zone in August and to the
French Zone in September of last
year. In January 1947, quadripartite
agreement was reached permitting
acceptance  of  parcels  from  all
countries of the world excluding
Spain and Japan for delivery to
Germans in the four occupied zones
and the City of Berlin.
All parcels are restricted in content
to non-perishable foodstuffs, clothing,
soap, lawful medical supplies, and
similar mailable items for the relief
of human suffering. The physical size
of packages must not be greater than
71  inches  in length   and  girth
combined, or 35 inches in greatest
length. Under current regulations,
only one parcel per week from any
one sender to the same addresse is
permitted. Initially limited to 11
pounds per parcel, the weight limit
was raised to 22 pounds effective
15 June 1947 to facilitate the flow
of food and relief items into Germany.
Although most items are admitted
duty free by German customs in-
spectors, all gift parcels are subject to
inspection and must be accompanied
by a properly-prepared declaration
itemizing the contents, weight and
IN addition to the valuable relief
provided the civilian population
through the importation of food,
clothing, and other critically-needed
items, further benefits to the German
economy are derived from postal rev-
enues involved in this service. In
accordance with international agree-
ments and regulations prescribed by
the Universal Postal Union, the CGer-
man Reichspost earns an established
fee for the delivery of these parcels,
an amount based on the weight of
the individual package. Usually such
accounts are conducted on a recip-
rocal basis with periodical settle-
Iments by the postal administrations of
the nations involved, but this is not
applicable to Germany at present
since outgoing international parcel
post has not as yet been authorized.
As of 31 December 1946, fees due the
German Reichspost for delivery of
parcels from the United States in the
US Zone amounted to approximately
$781,000 with an additional $435,000
due for parcels distributed in the Bri-
tish Zone. Since 1 January 1947 de-
liveries in the combined US/UK Zones
have resulted in the accrual of ap-
proximately $2,000,000, bringing the
cumulative total for the two zones to
an estimated $3,200,000 since the in-
auguration of this service. These
funds will be accredited to export
proceeds to help pay for imports of
food and other vital supplies from
foreign sources.
Ships from the United States unloading gift parcels at Bremen. (Below,
left) Unloading parcel post from the United States. This is part
of the 71,000 sacks brought to Bremen by the "Pioneer Cove",
representing about 355,000 gift parcels for families all over Germany.

Go up to Top of Page