740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–3045

No. 340
The Political Adviser in Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State ad interim
top secret
No. 519

Subject: New State Organization in Western Germany

Sir: With reference to my telegram no. 3749 of June 211 regarding the proposal put forward by American officers in SHAEF for the constitution of a new German State (Land), I have the honor to inform the Department that Headquarters of the European Theater of Operation, United States Army (ETOUSA) has directed U. S. Twelfth Army Group, pending the definitive fixing of the French zone and establishment of the Western Military District, to proceed with the organization of the Western Military District for Military Government purposes on the basis of three German States (Laender), as follows:

Hessen–Nassau (including Provinces Kurhessen and Nassau), capital: Kassel

Hessen (North and South Hessen, excluding that portion of South Hessen West of the Rhine), capital: Darmstadt

N. E. Württemberg, (roughly north of a line drawn from Karlsruhe to Ulm), and N. Baden (including LKB [Landeskommissärbezirk] Mannheim and LKB Karlsruhe less the Kreise of Rastatt and Buehl), capital: Stuttgart

A copy of the pertinent instruction is enclosed herewith.1

This provisional arrangement appears to meet, in substance, the very strong reservations which we entered to the original proposal for a single German State in the Western Military District, and which were approved by the Department in its telegram no. 12 of June 21, 7 p.m.1 It affords the military authorities the framework for a coordination of the German regional administrations which they desired, yet does not commit us to an entity which would obliterate the larger traditional State units such as Wurttemberg. It will be noted that paragraph 6 of the ETOUSA instruction will [Page 475] permit the German authorities in each of the Laender to establish machinery to coordinate functional activities in such matters as food control, communications, and transportation. This provision meets the requirements of the U. S. economic authorities for an over-all control in the Western U. S. area which in large part were the motivating reason for the suggestion for the establishment of a single State in the military district comprising that part of the U. S. zone West of Bavaria.

. . . . . . .

For the Department’s background information, the following papers are enclosed which throw an interesting light on the discussions that took place here with respect to the single State arrangement:

A memorandum2 submitting the proposal to General McSherry of SHAEF G–5;
A memorandum2 with supporting arguments drawn up by the proponents of the proposal;
My memorandum to General Clay requesting that action be suspended on the proposal and suggesting that certain arrangements might be made to meet urgent administrative necessities in the field of transport, food control and communications, etc. (See paragraph 2 of my telegram under reference).

It may be acknowledged that the supporting memorandum, attached as enclosure 3, presents some cogent arguments in favor of the proposed new State in the Western Military District. These arguments draw further weight from the conclusions of the German States Conferences (Laenderkonferenz) of 1928 which, seeking to counteract the dominance of Prussia, put forward a suggestion for the constitution of a similar State to be known as Rheinfranken, with the addition, however, of the Rhine Province.

The supporting memorandum also takes up several arguments against the proposed new State, but it may be held to dismiss some of them in too summary a fashion. The main argument which I stressed in discussions here and in my memorandum attached as enclosure 4, was that the proposal in any event was premature at the present stage of our occupation of Germany. Furthermore, we felt we did not yet possess sufficient knowledge of German public opinion to say with certainty that the proposal would meet with the support necessary to sustain it.

The following other reservations of a more long-range nature which suggested themselves in connection with the single State [Page 476] proposal appear to have been in large measure taken into account in the arrangement for the three-State organization:

Whether it is desirable to dilute, by submergence in an arbitrarily created State, the desire for local autonomy of the populations of areas such as Wurttemberg and Baden which might be turned to advantage later in establishing a federative structure based on the historical German States;
Whether such a step taken now would not render difficult any decision which might eventually be agreed upon to divide Germany into independent, homogeneous units comprising either the Southern or Western areas;
Whether the suggested single State would command sufficient popular support and would be economically stable enough to withstand the pull toward Prussia or toward a nationalist German government, which would find it all the easier to take over an already highly centralized organism.

I trust the Department will find these considerations of interest and I would appreciate being kept informed of current thinking in the Department on the general problem of German government organization.

Respectfully yours,

Robert Murphy
[Enclosure 4]
top secret

There are weighty arguments in favor of a proposal to combine the area of Hesse–Nassau and the parts of Baden and Wurttemberg into one Land. The chief argument however seems to be one of immediate expediency in the administration of food and transportation. The problem imposed by the food and transportation shortage is of the highest priority and there should be no hesitation in using new administrative procedures to cope with it.

On the other hand, there is the objective of political decentralization, the solution of which is not immediately urgent but which may be of the greatest eventual importance. While it is possible that the proposal may meet the needs of the decentralization policy later on, at the present time decentralization can only be started by emphasizing the traditional and existing governmental units. The early and arbitrary establishment of the new political unit would certainly seem to interfere with future decisions about the government structure of the Reich. A solution should be sought which will meet the present administrative and economic emergency but which will not prejudice future political development and policies which we are not yet able to foresee.

[Page 477]

It is suggested that the economic emergency toward whose solution the present proposal is directed could be met by a special German economic administration for the western military district. This administration could handle distribution of food, rationing, transportation, communications, and such other economic problems as cannot be solved on the basis of the present political subdivisions of the district. To avoid giving it any political character the administration might be known, say, as “Economic Authority West”. The creation of such a special and non-political administrative organization would enable ETOUSA to confine its supervisory contacts to two units, Land Bavaria and the Economic Authority West. At the same time this would preserve the existing political divisions and local sentiment which exists and may be re-developed.

In any event it would seem inadvisable for us now in the absence of consultation with our Government to go beyond any arrangement such as the above in the direction of the constitution of new political entities within the Reich. The proposal would also have a bearing on decisions for the treatment of Germany as a whole which must be decided by Allied Control Council authority.

From recent developments in the negotiations concerning the boundaries of the French zone, it appears that practically all of Württemberg may remain in the American zone. Instead of dealing with fragments of the state of Württemberg therefore, we may have the opportunity of maintaining this historic state practically in its entirety. This state has a long history and has been one of the most democratic of the German regions.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.