740.00119 EW/9–444

The Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Riddleberger) to the Secretary of State


The Treatment of Germany

SMr. Secretary: At the request of the President, Mr. Harry Hopkins has called together several advisers to the Secretaries of the State, War and Treasury [Departments] for an exchange of views prior to a meeting of the three Secretaries to discuss the treatment of Germany. Three meetings were held over the weekend in which the following participated:

Messrs. Dunn, Matthews and Riddleberger for the State Department;

Mr. McCloy and General Hilldring for the War Department;

Dr. Harry White for the Treasury Department.

At the first meeting both State and Treasury presented memoranda relative to the post-surrender treatment of Germany. Copies of these two memoranda are attached hereto.1 A comparison of these memoranda is set forth below.

1. Points of Agreement

Demilitarization of Germany, including the complete dissolution of all German armed forces and all Nazi military, para-military and police organizations, and the destruction or scrapping of all arms, ammunition and implements of war. Further manufacture in Germany of arms, ammunition and implements of war should be prohibited.
Dissolution of the Nazi Party and all affiliated organizations. Large groups of particularly objectionable elements, such as the SS and the Gestapo, would be arrested and interned and possibly tried. Party members would be excluded from political or civil activity and subject to a number of restrictions. All laws discriminating against persons on grounds of race, color, creed or political opinion shall be annulled.
There will be extensive controls over communications, press and propaganda.
There will be extensive controls over the German educational system.
A decentralization of the German Government is favored.

2. Points of Disagreement

The State Department is, in general, opposed to the forcible partition of Germany. Such a measure, however drastic, would not remove the necessity of imposing and enforcing extensive security controls upon Germany for an indeterminate future, whether Germany is left united or divided. It would, furthermore, probably lead to a preferred treatment for certain succession states and would create a situation whereby any policy based on “spheres of influence” would have much greater chance of success. Furthermore, the disruption of German economic unity would carry with it grave dangers for the economic stability of Europe as a whole. Finally, the victor powers, by imposing partition, would take upon themselves the burdensome task of preventing surreptitious collaboration and of restraining a nationalistic determination to reunite.
The Treasury memorandum advocates the partition of Germany in the following manner: The Ruhr and the surrounding industrial areas of the Rhineland and an area extending to the Kiel Canal should be made an international zone to be governed by the International Security Organization established by the United Nations. The remainder of Germany should be divided into two independent states: (1) A South German state comprising Bavaria, Wuerttemberg, Baden and some smaller areas, and (2) a North German state comprising parts of Prussia, Saxony and Thuringia and several smaller states. It is suggested that a customs union be permitted between the South German State and Austria.
Economic Policy. The State Department advocates far-reaching rights of control over German economy after surrender for the purpose of effecting performance by Germany of acts of restitution and reparation. This control would furthermore force the conversion of German economic capacity from a war to a peace production and would eliminate German economic domination in Europe. Its ultimate purpose would be to effect a fundamental change in the organization [Page 95] and conduct of German economic life so that German economy can eventually be integrated into an interdependent world economy.
The Treasury memorandum contends that reparations in the form of recurrent payments and deliveries should not be demanded; restitution and reparation should be effected by the transfer of German resources and territories, i.e., particularly the internationalization of the Ruhr area.

3. Appointment of an American High Commissioner for Germany

In addition to the subjects discussed above, the Cabinet Committee on Germany might consider another most important question, namely, the appointment in the near future of an American High Commissioner for Germany. Immediately upon occupation many important problems will have to be decided on a tripartite basis. The European Advisory Commission has not been able to consider many of these problems and has concentrated primarily on the organization that would be set up for the control of Germany. Once the first military phase of occupation is completed, it is essential that a tripartite board be established as soon as possible to assume the political and economic responsibility for the control of Germany and to advise the military commanders how the objectives of occupation can best be obtained. The High Commissioner should be a person of great political ability and prestige who would be able to work out with both the British and Russians a common policy and who would be capable of directing the control organization to be established in Germany. This appointment should preferably be made as soon as possible in order that he may meet with officials both here and in London who have been working on these problems.

  1. See ante, pp. 81, 86.