740.00119 EW/9–444

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Riddleberger)1


Suggested Recommendations on Treatment of Germany From the Cabinet Committee for the President

1. Appointment of an American High Commissioner

It has become urgent that an American High Commissioner for Germany be appointed. Immediately upon occupation of Germany [Page 96] many important problems will have to be decided on a tripartite basis between the U.S., the U.K., and the U.S.S.R. These problems will have not only important military aspects but will require the working out of a common policy in the political and economic fields as well. The American High Commissioner should be an official of high political ability and considerable prestige who can speak with authority for this Government in all matters where a common policy must be worked out with the U.K. and the U.S.S.R. The appointment should be made as soon as possible.

2. American Policy for the Treatment of Germany

The following policies for the treatment of Germany are recommended as the objectives of the United States, and for which we should seek agreement with the U.K. and the U.S.S.R.:

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, especially the SS and the Gestapo, should be arrested and interned and war criminals should be tried and executed. Party members should 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 should be annulled.
Extensive controls should be maintained over communications, press and propaganda for the purpose of eliminating Nazi doctrines or similar teachings.
Extensive controls over German educational system should be established for the purpose of eliminating all Nazi influence and propaganda.
No decision should be taken on the possible partition of Germany (as distinguished from territorial amputations) until we see what the internal situation is and what is the attitude of our principal Allies on this question. We should encourage a decentralization of the German governmental structure and if any tendencies toward spontaneous partition of Germany arise they should not be discouraged.
The American Government has no direct interest in obtaining reparations from Germany and consequently no interest in building up German economy in order to collect continuing reparations. However, the U.K. and the U.S.S.R., together with a number of smaller states which have been victims of German exploitation, may have claims on German production which they will require for purposes of rehabilitation and reconstruction. Consequently, we should not take a fixed position on reparations at this time but should await the views of governments which have a more direct interest.
As the great Junker estates have provided the economic basis for the military caste in Germany, these estates should be broken up and the holdings distributed to tenants.
The primary objectives of our economic policy are: (1) the standard of living of the German population shall be held down to subsistence levels; (2) German economic position of power in Europe must be eliminated; (3) German economic capacity must be converted in such manner that it will be so dependent on imports and exports that Germany cannot by its own devices reconvert to war production.

  1. The source text bears the typed endorsement “(O.K. Hull)”. The memorandum, which had been drafted by Riddleberger, was presented at the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Germany on September 5, 1944 (see the editorial note, post, p. 97), and was presented to Roosevelt on September 6 (see Hull, p. 1609).