740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–1145

The Acting Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Halifax)

Excellency: The Aide-Mémoire no. 1848/–/45 of June 11, 1945 from your Embassy and the earlier letter of June 7 to an officer of the Department from Mr. Maclean43 touch upon an emergency situation which has had the most careful attention of this Department, namely [Page 1150] the urgent need of utilizing in the common interest of our governments the power over Germans living abroad which is inherent in the archives and selected functions of German diplomatic and consular offices now generally held in trusteeship for the Four Powers which have assumed the supreme authority in Germany.

In as much as the power referred to will be quickly dissipated if not promptly used, it is the view of this Government that the maximum and quickest possible utilization of the advantage now obtained should be sought. It is therefore proposed that the United States and British Governments immediately invite all the United Nations to join with them in opening and operating under the auspices of each such government in its own territory Interim Offices for German Affairs which will perform the services outlined in the attached annex45 under the limitations stated therein. Such offices would likewise be opened at their capitals by each of the Powers assuming the control in Germany. It is furthermore proposed that our governments proceed forthwith, with the assistance whenever possible of the French and Soviet Governments, in the implementation of a corresponding program in neutral countries with the difference that the offices would be directed by the representatives of the Four Powers who are locally available. Such Interim Offices for German Affairs would thus immediately be opened in Spain, Portugal and their possessions as recommended by our missions at Madrid and Lisbon.

With regard to Switzerland and Sweden, it is the firm opinion of this Government that those governments should be urged to transfer the functions of such offices to the representatives of the Four Powers at the earliest possible moment. Arrangements in the remaining neutral countries and possibly in Argentina and Italy should follow the same general pattern.

It follows from the foregoing discussion that the United States Government is not disposed to concur in a suggestion that quasi-consular services for Germans be assigned in Spain and Portugal to the authorities of the local governments.

In view of the pressing questions daily being placed before us by our missions throughout the world and the danger that the normal pattern of control over Germans living abroad may break down if prompt action is not taken, it is hoped that the British Government may find it possible to concur in the proposals made in this note and in the annex45 hereto. The appropriate officers of this Department are ready and anxious to participate in discussions with representatives [Page 1151] of the Embassy in an effort to work out the details of the scheme and the manner of its promptest implementation.46

A copy of this note is being sent to Ambassador Winant for circulation to the European Advisory Commission for its consideration.

Accept [etc.]

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The proposal for interim offices for German affairs was further discussed in an aide-mémoire from the British Embassy dated August 29 and one dated October 16, and in a memorandum from the Department of State to the British Embassy dated November 7, none printed. In its memorandum of November 7, the Department stated that the United States Political Adviser for Germany was being informed with the view of having the agreed suggestions referred to a Control Council subcommittee.

    After prolonged discussion at the Directorate level of the Allied Control Authority, approval was given at the 92nd meeting of the Coordinating Committee, December 3, 1946, to a plan for the establishment of Interim Offices for German Affairs (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–1246).