740.00119 EW/3–2445

Draft Memorandum To Be Sent by President Roosevelt to the United States Representative on the Allied Commission on Reparations (Lubin)18

Subject: United States Policy on Reparations

In implementing the Reparations Protocol19 that was agreed upon at Yalta, you should be guided by the following general principles as representing the policy of the United States Government in this matter:

The basic principle, which is controlling under all circumstances, is that reparations should contribute to the maximum extent in eliminating Germany’s war potential and making Germany economically weak.
Reparations should aid in rehabilitating, strengthening and developing industries in the devastated countries of Europe as part [Page 1180] of a broad program of reconstruction for these countries and should assist the liberated countries and England to expand their exports.
With respect to a minimum standard of living for the Germans, it should be borne in mind that the peoples in the devastated countries of Europe have priority and no policy should be adopted designed to maintain the German standard of living above that of any other country of Europe.

In accordance with these principles, you should undertake to secure an agreement in Moscow on a program embodying the following specific objectives:

To the maximum extent possible, reparations should be taken from the national wealth of Germany existing at the time of collapse, including the removal of industrial machinery, equipment and plants, particularly the metallurgical, electrical and chemical industries (including all industries producing synthetic oil, synthetic nitrogen and synthetic rubber), ships, rolling stock, German investment abroad, shares of industrial, transport, shipping and other enterprises in Germany.
Delay in determining the total amount and division of German reparations should not prevent the immediate removal of plants, equipment and raw materials from Germany and the confiscation of German assets abroad, as parts of a program of reparations and restitution.
To the extent that reparations are collected in the form of deliveries of goods over a period of years, such goods should be of such a nature and in such amounts as not to require the Allies to take any steps designed to maintain, strengthen or develop the German economy or to develop a dependence of other countries on Germany after reparations cease.
This policy can best be realized by making recurring reparations over a period of years, after the removal of plant, equipment, etc.,
As small as possible in relation to the reparations to be paid in the form of industrial plants and equipment.
Primarily in the form of natural resources, such a coal, metallic ores, timber and potash, and not in the form of manufactured products.
In as small annual amounts as possible.
Over a period of approximately ten years. (The period recommended in the Russian proposal made at Yalta.20)
Arranged to taper off toward the latter part of the reparations period.
We are opposed to any reparations program which for its achievement would require the United Nations to take widespread, [Page 1181] detailed and continued control and responsibility for the efficient running of the German economic and financial system.

If the policy outlined in the preceding pages is adopted, there would still remain the following industries:

  • Coal mining
  • Iron ore mining
  • Salt mining
  • Potash mining
  • Petroleum refining
  • Stone
  • Ceramics
  • Porcelain
  • Glass
  • Optical Instruments
  • Textiles
  • Carpets
  • Paper and Pulp
  • Printing and publishing
  • Leather
  • Rubber products (not synthetic)
  • Sawmills
  • Wood
  • Furniture
  • Musical instruments and toys
  • Food processing
  • Flour mills
  • Bakeries
  • Sugar
  • Candies
  • Fish
  • Meats
  • Dairies
  • Margarine
  • Canned goods
  • Coffee
  • Breweries
  • Wine
  • Tobacco
  • Clothing
  • Furs
  • Shoes
  • Public utilities
  • Transportation
  • Building construction
  1. This document was sent to President Roosevelt on March 22 under cover of a memorandum from Mr. Lubin, which indicated the latter’s authorship (copy obtained from Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.). It was transmitted to the Secretary of State on March 24 under a covering memorandum from Mr. Roosevelt, asking Mr. Stettinius’ advice on whether the President should sign it. Announcement of Isador Lubin’s appointment to the Allied Commission on Reparations had been made by the Secretary of State on March 12; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, March 18, 1945, p. 434.
  2. Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 982.
  3. See Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 707.