Truman Papers

No. 230
Memorandum by the Joint Civil Affairs Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff1

top secret

Termination of European Advisory Commission and Delegation of Authority to National Commanders in Chief


The European Advisory Commission was established for the purpose of making recommendations concerning European questions connected with the termination of hostilities. Hostilities have now terminated. In Germany the four national commanders have been designated as the representatives of their respective governments. Similar designations will shortly be made with respect to Austria.
During hostilities the European Advisory Commission was the one organization through which the four [sic] powers could regularly consult together on problems relating to Germany and Austria. That has ceased to be true of Germany and will shortly cease to be true of Austria. If the problems of military government in Germany and Austria are to be handled expeditiously it is essential that there should be no needless duplication of consultative agencies. The European Advisory Commission should, accordingly, cease forthwith to consider problems relating to the control of Germany and should deal with no problems concerning the control of Austria after the Allied administration is established there.
Experience in the European Advisory Commission has shown that a principal cause of delay in the solution of problems of pressing importance is the reluctance of the respective governments, and particularly of the Soviet Government, to delegate to their representatives [Page 289] on the Commission broad authority to decide current questions. It is most important that the respective national commanders be vested with broad authority to decide the day-to-day questions of policy with which they will be confronted.


  • a. It is recommended that agreement be sought that the jurisdiction of the European Advisory Commission with respect to problems concerning Germany shall terminate forthwith and, with respect to those concerning Austria, be terminated upon the establishment of the Allied administration in Austria.
  • b. It is recommended that the United States urge the broadest possible delegation of authority to the respective commanders in chief in Germany and Austria, and insist that on all matters, other than those involving the alteration or establishment of basic policy, such commanders must be empowered to act without advance reference of the questions to their governments.
  1. This memorandum was forwarded to Leahy by the Secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 26, together with other reports, under cover of a memorandum which stated explicitly: “These reports represent the views of the committees only and have not been approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” Leahy subsequently passed it to Truman.