Matthews Files

The British Foreign Secretary (Eden) to Prime Minister Churchill 1

P. M. (A) 4.

Prime Minister

The Future of Germany

As a result of developments in the war situation, it is becoming increasingly urgent to co-ordinate the policy of the major Allied Powers in regard to the future of Germany. It is clearly of paramount importance to future unity and security that there should be no divergence of policy between the Allies in dealing with Germany.

2. The E. A. C. was set up in 1943 to “study and make joint recommendations to the three Governments upon European questions connected with the termination of hostilities”. So far the Commission have agreed and referred to Governments three documents: (1) Terms of surrender for Germany,2 (2) protocol on zones of occupation,3 (3) control machinery for Germany.4 Of these (1) has been [Page 512]approved by all three Governments, and (2) and (3) so far by the United States and British Governments only.

3. There are a considerable number of major questions of policy on which no decisions have been reached, though there have been exchanges of views at earlier conferences. In my view we should be wise to suspend final decisions until we see what conditions are in Germany. But there is a great deal of preparatory work which can and should be done. Governments have no doubt been studying all these questions individually; but the time has come when they could usefully be examined jointly by British, American, Soviet and French experts with a view to coordinating the individual studies. The obvious body to undertake this task is the E. A. C.

4. I would accordingly suggest that at the forthcoming conference we should try to get general agreement that the E. A. C. should be directed to examine and make joint recommendations at an early date to the member Governments regarding future political and economic policy towards Germany. In doing so, the Commission should pay particular attention to, inter alia, provisions for the disarmament and demilitarisation of Germany and the prevention of rearmament, dismemberment, decentralisation, measures of economic security, reparation, the future of the Rheno-Westphalian basin, the Kiel area, and transfers of population.

5. If this is agreed, it will be important that member Governments should ensure that their delegations are adequately staffed to cope with the increased work.

6. It might also be useful, in order to give the public some idea of the Commission’s work, that the communiqué to be issued at the end of the Conference should announce the approval of the three Governments of the three documents so far negotiated by the E. A. C. This will, however, raise awkward problems as regards the French. While they are unlikely to propose any alterations of substance, they have not yet formally approved the documents, which will have to be recast in quadripartite form. We are telegraphing to the Foreign Office to ask (a) what effect it would be likely to have on the French if we announce the approval of the three Governments only of the three documents, and (b) whether they can devise a formula which we could use to cover the French.

  1. Carbon copy typed in the Department of State.
  2. Ante, pp. 113 118.
  3. Ante, pp. 118 123.
  4. Ante, pp. 124 127.