Hopkins Papers

The Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs ( Riddleberger ) to the President’s Special Assistant ( Hopkins )1

Dear Mr. Hopkins. Attached is the memo which I promised for use in the meeting at your office tomorrow morning. I shall bring enough copies for all. It’s a rush job, but I think I have hit most of the high spots.

Jimmie Riddleberger
[Page 81]

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Riddleberger)

top secret

American Policy for Treatment of Germany After Surrender

It is essential that a number of important decisions be made respecting American policy for the treatment of Germany after surrender, particularly as certain of these questions will have to be negotiated with the British and the Russians. There is accordingly set forth below a summary of the decisions that have been made to date and a statement of important problems on which final American policy has not been formulated.

1. Status of Negotiations in the EAC 2

Surrender Terms. The instrument of unconditional surrender of Germany has been recommended by the European Advisory Commission and has been formally approved by the American Government. It is anticipated that British and Russian approval will be forthcoming. These surrender terms are the outcome of prolonged negotiations in which considerable differences of opinion had to be ironed out. The surrender instrument is essentially a military document in which the German Government and the German High Command announces Germany’s unconditional surrender. The first eleven articles relate primarily to military dispositions and are supplemented by a general clause in which it is stated that the U.S., the U.K., and the U.S.S.R. will exercise supreme authority with respect to Germany and will pre sent additional, political, administrative, economic, financial and other requirements which the German Government, High Command and people will carry out unconditionally.
Zones of Occupation. Tentative, but not formal, agreement has been reached in the EAC respecting the demarcation of three zones of occupation which will be confided to Russian, British and American troops. The Soviet forces will occupy the eastern zone, but whether British or American troops will occupy the northwestern and southern zones is not as yet decided. The protocol on occupation has therefore not been formally recommended by the EAC as the Russians stated they did not desire to submit a document to Moscow containing blank spaces. It has been agreed that Austria will be jointly occupied by the three powers with American military participation limited to a token force. The area of Greater Berlin will likewise be subject to tripartite occupation.
Control Machinery and Military Government. Both the American and British Governments submitted to the EAC in March 1944 proposals for control machinery and military government in Germany. The Russian delegates refused to discuss these proposals in EAC until the surrender terms had been agreed upon and subsequently refused to discuss them until the occupation protocols had been finally recommended. After some pressure had been exerted in Moscow, the Russians have now agreed to discuss control machinery and have submitted a proposal to the EAC. This proposal has not as yet been received in Washington.3

The American proposal for the administration of Germany con templates a Supreme Authority consisting of the three Commanding Generals of the U.S., the U.K., and the U.S.S.R., which would co ordinate Allied activity throughout Germany and supervise such centralized governmental functions and economic activities which the three powers deem essential. A Control Council, composed of representatives in equal numbers from each of the three Allied Governments, will be established by the Supreme Allied Authority and will coordinate the administration of military government throughout Germany, including detailed planning for the execution of directives received from the three governments. The British proposal is not dissimilar in its broad outline from the American plan.

2. Important Problems for Which High Policy Decisions Are Urgently Required

The fundamental question to be decided is what kind of a Germany do we want and what policies should be put into effect during occupation to attain our objectives. The most important of these problems are set forth below with an explanation of the State Department’s attitude to them:

Partition. It must be explained at the outset that “partition” as used here does not refer to frontier adjustments or territorial amputations in the outer borders of the Reich. For example, the annexation of East Prussia and Danzig by Poland is not excluded in the recommendations set forth below on partition. By partition is meant the division of what is left of Germany into two, three or more independent states. While it can be argued that partition is not necessarily an urgent question, it is undoubtedly true that if partition were decided upon, we might desire to determine the zones of occupation to conform to a sub sequent partition.
The State Department is, in general, opposed to the forcible partition of Germany. An imposed dismemberment of Germany into two or more separate states has been advocated as a practicable means of fore stalling any renewal of German aggression. Such a measure, however drastic in itself, would not obviate the necessity of imposing and en forcing far-reaching security controls upon Germany for an indeterminate future, whether Germany is left united or is divided. More over, because of the high degree of economic, political and cultural integration in Germany, it must be anticipated that partition would not only have to be imposed but also maintained by force. The victor powers, by imposing partition, would take on themselves a burdensome and neverending task of preventing surreptitious collaboration between the partite states and of restraining the nationalistic determination to reunite, which would, in all probability, be the response of the German people. Finally, the disruption of German economic unity would carry with it grave dangers for the economic stability of Europe as a whole, and not merely to Germany. We should not, however, oppose any spontaneous German movements for partition.
In place of partition, it is recommended that every effort be made to promote a federal system of government in Germany and a division of Prussia into a number of medium-sized states. Prussia in 1938 included 62% of the area and two-thirds of the population of Germany and it may well be that in reaction to Nazi over-centralization many Germans would want to return to a considerable degree of federal decentralization, including the breakup of Prussia.
Dissolution of German Armed Forces. There is general agreement that the German armed forces and staff organizations, Nazi military, para-military and police organizations, reserve corps, military academies, [and] administrative agencies performing military functions shall be dissolved and prohibited. Their members shall be de mobilized and disbanded as soon as practicable. All German arms, ammunition and implements of war shall be destroyed or scrapped, except as otherwise agreed, and the further manufacture in Germany of arms, ammunition and implements of war shall be prohibited.
Liquidation of the Nazi Party. There is general agreement that the Nazi Party and all organizations associated with it shall be dissolved. The activities of persons who have been active Nazis shall be restricted. In effecting the abolition of the Nazi Party, it is contem plated that it shall be completely destroyed in all of its manifestations, including the SA, the SS, Hitler Youth, the Motor Corps, the Women’s League, the Student’s League, the University Teachers and all affiliated organizations such as the Labor Front, the Association for [Page 84] War Victims, the Guardians of the Law, the Public Welfare Organization and special party schools. Party members shall be excluded from political or civil activity and subjected to a number of restrictions. Any laws and decrees establishing the political structure of National Socialism shall be abrogated. Political activity shall be prohibited, except as authorized by the Supreme Allied Authority. All laws discriminating against persons on grounds of race, color, creed or political opinion shall be annulled.
War Criminals. There is general agreement that Adolf Hitler, his chief Nazi associates, officials who have held ministerial and other important posts, persons suspected of having committed war crimes, and other persons designated by the U.S., the U.K. or the U.S.S.R. shall be arrested and held for “subsequent disposition”.
Control of Communications. There is general agreement that all information services (press, radio, cinema, etc.) and all channels of communication £hall be administered under policies formulated by the Supreme Allied Authority.
Economic Measures. American economic policy with respect to Germany envisages the reservation of far-reaching rights of control over German economy after surrender. There is no disagreement on this point. However, it is apparent that considerable differences of opinion have developed as to the purpose toward which this control should be directed. The Department of State has drafted and approved a statement on the general objectives of American economic policy and has received the approval to this document by the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy.4 Without attempting to sum marize here all of the reasoning contained in this document, there is [are] quoted below the four major objectives to be sought:
The performance by Germany of acts of restitution and reparation required by the United Nations.
The control of Germany’s economic war potential, by the conversion of German economic capacity directed to war purposes, and by rendering vulnerable to outside control the reconversion of Germany into a war economy able to launch and sustain a war of aggression.
The elimination of German economic domination in Europe, which Germany achieved by the systematic exploitation of the socalled “New Order” in Europe and by a series of other practices.
Effecting a fundamental change in the organization and conduct of German economic life to the end that German economy can be integrated into an inter-dependent world economy.

[Page 85]

These statements, together with the justification thereof, have now been presented to the Secretaries of War and Navy for their comment.5

In the meantime, the State Department has received, in the course of drafting instruction[s] to its representative on the EAC, various proposals from the military authorities which apparently contemplate the dismantlement or destruction of all German industry capable of pro ducing war material. Its objection is that such proposals contradict the general objectives quoted above, particularly paragraph 2. They would likewise presumably remove the possibility of extracting reparation goods from Germany,

The problem of German reparations is obviously closely linked to two others: (a) the level of subsistence which will be determined for the German people, and (b) the extent to which German industry may be dismantled or destroyed either for the purpose of long-term security or for short-term reparation payment.

Therefore it seems essential that this Government should determine its basic policy and should decide at an early date what kind of economic structure it proposes to leave to Germany. If a far-reaching program of industrial destruction or dismantlement is agreed upon, it is apparent that, if put into effect, it will bring about extensive and important changes in European economy as a whole. Germany is a deficit country in foodstuffs and it is doubtful if a plan of making Ger many predominantly agricultural can be put into effect without the liquidation or emigration of X-millions of Germans. Germany is furthermore an important producer of certain raw materials, namely coal and bauxite, for Europe as a whole, not to speak of the vast amount of industrial goods which Germany normally exports. If we advocate a “wrecking program” as the best means of assuring our security, we may face considerable European opposition on account of its effect on European economy, and if we desire continuing reparations out of Germany, we shall eliminate any such program by a policy of destruction of German industry.

  1. This covering memorandum is entirely in Riddleberger’s handwriting.
  2. Cf. the memorandum on this subject dated August 22, 1944, ante, p. 73.
  3. The text of the Soviet proposal was received by the Department of State on September 2, 1944. See Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 299.
  4. ECEFP D–36/44, “Germany: General Objectives of United States Economic Policy With Respect to Germany”, dated August 14, 1944, but approved on August 4. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 278.
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, pp. 276277.