The families of lowranking U.S. soldiers, financially strapped by the fall of the dollar value, should be allowed to eat in army mess halls, the commander of American troops in Europe has proposed.
Other senior U.S. commanders are urging West German landlords to lower rents to help GIs and their families survive the collapse of the dollar.
With the dollar now worth only about two German marks, its lowest value in history, Gen. George Blanchard, U.S. Army commander in Europe, has asked the Pentagon to relax its rules against spouses and children eating within army mess halls. The proposed change is being considered by the Pentagon, a spokesman for the U.S. Army European Command said in Heidleberg.
The impetus for permitting lowranking soldiers' families to eat in mess halls for a nominal charge came from the field corps commanders, according to an army spokesman.
These commanders have been worried that the soaring cost of living was causing serious morale problems for some of their troops, especially those located in small communities isolated from big military bases.
Troops at the lower pay grades are not entitled to bring their families to West Germany at government expense and do not qualify for free army housing.
In Bamberg, 55 landlords cut rents for American soldiers about 10 percent following an appeal by a U.S. commander in January. Military spokesmen said similar requests have been mailed to other West German landlords.