740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–1745

No. 350
The Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs ( Thorp ) to the Assistant Secretary of State ( MacLeish )1
top secret

In accordance with our brief conversation, and in view of the fact that I cannot attend the Secretary’s Staff Committee meeting on Monday, this is an attempt to put down on paper some of my reactions to your proposed memorandum to the Secretary on the Objective of the United States Government in the Occupation of Germany. 2 The present directives and the immediate handling of various problems in connection with the occupation do not appear to recognize any single basic objective. We seem to have a series of objectives, some immediate and some long-run, and many of which may be, from time to time, in conflict with each other. The following is a partial list of these objectives:

The reform objective to which you refer.
The removal or destruction of a considerable part of the industrial base of German military might.
The prevention of starvation and epidemic disease.
The satisfaction of reparation and restitution claims against Germany, and the use of German output for the relief of liberated countries.
The satisfaction of American public opinion and of public and official opinion in other countries where we have important political interests.
The development of friendly and harmonious relations with the Soviet Union.

It is obvious that these objectives are likely to conflict with each other at many points. Examples may serve to clarify this point. The use of German output for the relief of liberated areas (a purpose not related to the question of German aggression) may increase the acute economic distress in Germany in the near future. It now appears that Germans will be cold next winter because German coal will be used to provide heat in the countries of Western Europe. It will not be a free choice by the German people or producers that this shall happen. Unhappily, the creation of economic distress in Germany is not a policy which would be chosen if our sole interest were to convert Germany to our values and our outlook. It is apparently felt to be less important that a good start be made immediately in the reeducation of the German people than that the people of the liberated countries be warm this winter.

The same conflict appears in connection with our longer-range economic policy. Germany’s military potential is to be destroyed. Her standard of living is to be held down to that of neighboring countries. She is to have no credit and little assistance in reconstruction. Substantial reparations are to be collected. Her imports and exports are to be completely controlled. Any technological and scientific eminence is to be destroyed. To accomplish this, the occupation must last for a substantial period. Parenthetically, it is the thought of those who have emphasized this objective, that permanent security can be obtained if Germany is reduced to a low economic level in contrast to other states,—that she cannot possibly recover from such a condition ever again to be a world threat. However, the point to be made here is that the steps involved in pursuing this objective do not encourage the concepts of the rights, dignity and freedom of individuals, or the limited authority of the state.

A third important example relates to the question of our relations with the Soviet Union. It is by now a commonplace that Germany cannot commit another aggression so long as the Big Three remain united. Occupation policies designed to cement our alliance with the Soviet Union could thus be considered as serving indirectly the purpose of overcoming the threat of another German aggression. Yet the policies which may be chosen to serve this objective seem certain to make impossible the adoption of a clean-cut pattern of policies related to the reeducation of Germany. It seems highly unlikely that the best program that we could devise for the reeducation [Page 505] of Germany, from our viewpoint, would be acceptable to the Russians. We should then have to face the choice of agreeing to an unsatisfactory compromise, or jeopardizing one of the basic principles of the occupation by adopting a unilateral policy in our zone. If and when this choice has to be made, I do not know how we shall decide; but I know that we shall be very reluctant to acknowledge the failure of the Control Council to agree on uniform policies in the various zones.

In brief, while I certainly do not wish to argue against giving explicit recognition to the reeducation aspect of the occupation, I find it difficult to regard that as the real, or true, or basic, or fundamental purpose of the occupation. This would imply that other objectives, when conflict occurs, should be overridden by the reeducation objective. Rather, we are in the state, which is perhaps the more usual one, of having multiple objectives and of being required to make policy decisions in the light of a number of goals.

A word as to procedure. Mr. Clayton, as Chairman of IPCOG, was instrumental in developing the compromises which are apparent in its directives. I am sure that he endeavored to achieve as much clarification as possible. I am, therefore, not sure as to the propriety of formal action in his absence which might be interpreted as reopening the whole issue of the objective(s) of the occupation.

  1. Printed from an unsigned carbon copy forwarded to Assistant Secretary of State William L. Clayton at Babelsberg.
  2. Annex to document No. 349.