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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 124 (December 1947)

Matteo, Henry S.
Christmas customs,   pp. [3]-5 PDF (2.0 MB)

German border problem,   p. 5 PDF (709.9 KB)

Page 5

toys. They go from door to door,
They buttonhole pedestrians; and
usually their appeals are granted.
N o LESS QUAINT a custom is the
practice of members of families
throughout Germany, on St. Nikolaus
eve, to place shoes under their beds
or before their doors. In some sec-
tions plates and stockings are used.
During the night, members of the
family surreptitiously place gifts in
them. The next morning the shoes,
plates and stockings are eagerly ex-
In some families, large bundles are
exchanged. The unwrapping of these
packages arouses keen curiosity, and
finally laughter. Supposed to have
been sent by St. Nikolaus, the package
is addressed to a member of the fam-
ily. Upon removal of the wrapper,
a second one is found underneath,
addressed to another family member.
This goes on until the final wrapper
is removed.
The contents usually consist of a
solitary button, a shoe string, or a
nipple. The gift is a gentle reminder
of the recipient's failings. The but-
ton, for instance, might denote his or
her habit of losing such articles. Per-
sons who break shoestrings -usually
receive one as a gift. The nipple is
reserved  for the  incessant ,pipe
A custom similar to the appearance
of' "Old Man Christmas" is observed
in some sections of Germany after
dark on St. Nikolaus day. A knock is
heard on the door, and in comes
"St. Nikolaus"  clad like "Old Man
Christmas". He carries a sack over
his shoulder and a birch rod in his
hand. After the usual admonitions,
and recitations, "St. Nikolaus" hands
out nuts, apples, and sweets from his
sack. Then he leaves.
originate? They go back to an-
cient times, when peoples built great
bonfires at about the same period
Christmas now is observed, in order
to give the winter sun-god strength,
and to restore his life. Rejoicing was
great when it became noticeable that
the days were growing longer. Thus
the central idea of the winter solstice
(Continued on Page 8)
22 DECEMBER 1947
German Border Problem
T THE MOSCOW session (of the Foreign Ministers) the United
States proposed the creation of a special boundary commis-
sion which, under the direction of the deputies, would consider
and make recommendations to the Council concerning the Polish-
German frontier. On the suggestion of other members of the
Council, the United States is willing to enlarge the scope of this
work, which could still be undertaken under the direction of the -
deputies, to include a study of all frontier proposals.
With regard to the Saar, the United States supports the claim -
of France to the economic integration of the Saar territory. The
political status of the Saar should be based, we think, on the -
principle of political autonomy and local self-government. I urge
that at this session we approve the French proposal of economic
integration of the Saar territory into that of' France. After this,
the details, including territorial limits, can be worked out.
With regard to the Polish-German frontier, the starting point -
for our consideration must be the Potsdam Protocol, which pro- -
vided that 'the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland -
should await the peace settlement'. Mr. Molotov presented the _
-view that the decision regarding the western frontier has been
taken. This is clearly not the case as the quotation just referred
to indicates.
A just settlement of this frontier, as I stated at our meeting
in Moscow on April 9, 1947, requires that we' give careful
The US view that the German-Polish boundaries remain to be fixed
and that a special boundary commission to study the issue should be
set up was reiterated by US Secretary of State Marshall In a statement
to the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in London. Secretary
- Marshall's statement also supported the French claim to the economic
integration of the Saar Valley into France. His statement is reprinted here.
consideration to the needs of the populations which will be
directly affected, and keep equally in mind the importance of this
frontier for the economic and political stability of Europe.
No line, however carefully drawn, can entirely satisfy the
desires and aspirations of all the peoples concerned. We must_
take the broader view and seek to establish a frontier which
reduces irredentist sentiment to a minimum and promises to-be
lasting. At the same time the frontier should not be permitted to
become a barrier to economic and cultural intercourse. We.
believe that frontiers between nations' should cease to divide
and embitter, and in drawing new frontiers we should promote
this objective.
I BELIEVE such a frontier is possible between Poland and Ger-
many. Poland is justly entitled to compensation for her war-
time losses and the United States Government wishes to honor
this obligation. We must bear in mind that much of the territory
now under Polish administration has long been German and con-
tains agricultural resources of vital importance to the German
-md European economy.
In seeking to create a democratic and peaceful German state
we must avoid a decision which would deny hope to the moderate
forces within Germany and, by violating the principles of the
Atlantic Charter to which we have all agreed, would fail to win
approval ill the court of enlightened world opinion. In consider-
ing cessions of territory to Poland, we should also make provision
(Continued on Page 15)

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