Editorial Note

The following information on a meeting at the White House on September 2, 1944, with reference to Germany is taken from a memorandum of October 28, 1944, from the Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Riddleberger) to the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius):1

“On September 1, 1944, Mr. Harry Hopkins informed the Secretary of the President’s desire to establish a Cabinet Committee on Germany and, with the Secretary’s permission, arranged for a meeting in his office on September 2 of officials of State, War and Treasury Departments. At this meeting Mr. McCloy and General Hilldring of the War Department, Dr. Harry White from the Treasury, and Mr. Matthews and Mr. Riddleberger from the State Department, and Mr. Harry Hopkins were present.

“It was at this meeting that Dr. White produced the Treasury plan for Germany2 and gave a lengthy interpretation of this plan which, in its general tenor, was more extreme than the memorandum itself. The plan contemplated the internationalization of the Rhineland together [Page 91] with a strip of German territory extending through Westphalia, Hannover and Holgtein to and including the Kiel Canal. Poland would receive East Prussia and Upper Silesia; France would receive the Saar and German territory bounded by the Rhine and Moselle rivers. The remainder of the Reich would be divided into two independent states. In explaining this plan, Dr. White insisted that no trade would be permitted between the proposed international zone and the rest of the Reich, and he emphasized that the productivity of this zone should not in any way contribute to German economy. No recurrent reparations deliveries would be demanded and reparations would be dealt with by transfer of territory, equipment and labor service.

“A lengthy discussion followed, in which Mr. Matthews and Mr. Riddleberger presented a State Department memorandum3 and explained at some length how our views fitted into the British and Russian ideas to the extent which we were aware of them. After a lengthy discussion in which Mr. McCloy pointed out the difficulties which would arise for the military authorities under the Treasury plan, he stated that on many subjects there was a large area of agreement and he suggested that Mr. Riddleberger draft a memorandum for the Cabinet Committee which would include all points on. which there was obvious agreement. These points related primarily to the dissolution of the Nazi Party; the demilitarization of Germany; controls over communications, press and propaganda; and reparations. Mr. Riddleberger accordingly drafted this memorandum,4 which was discussed by the three Secretaries on September 5.” (862.50/9–2844)

  1. For the full text of Riddleberger’s memorandum, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, pp. 160163.
  2. Supra.
  3. Ante, p. 81.
  4. Post, p. 95.