740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–1146

The Director of the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department (Hilldring) to the Acting Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Mr. Acheson: At the suggestion of Secretary Byrnes, General Eisenhower30 transmitted to the Secretary of War31 the draft statement of principles28 regarding policy-making for and the administration of Germany, prepared by the Secretary of State after his meeting of 2 January 1946 with General Eisenhower.

The Secretary of War has replied that while he accedes to the proposal of transferring the overall policy direction in Germany to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee he believes the plan suggested in General Eisenhower’s letter of 26 October 1945,32 and indorsed by the President, is the most satisfactory from the national point of view and regrets that it cannot be made effective now.

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In his mind some question still exists as to whether the change of policy making from the State Department to SWNCC will be an improvement over the present arrangement. In any event, he feels that General Clay34 is already in a very important and most active post and therefore is not able to accept the proposal that Clay be assigned to the Department of State.35 Since responsibility for executing the policy will remain with the War Department he assumes that any commissioner who may be appointed should be selected by the War Department with the consent of the Department of State and the approval of the President.

With respect to paragraph 1 of the proposed statement, Secretary Patterson desires to recommend that if the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee is to be entrusted with the overall policy direction, any member of the Committee should be authorized to initiate consultation with other governmental departments rather than leaving this entirely to the discretion of the Chairman. He suggests further that paragraph 3 relative to assistance from other governmental departments be strengthened to assure greater cooperation of the agencies in obtaining essential personnel.

Except for the assignment of General Clay, it appears that in general Secretary Byrnes’ proposal is acceptable to Secretary Patterson. In view of the fact that no fundamental, time-consuming change is to be made in the existing administrative set-up here in Washington, it is suggested that the revision of the memorandum for the President36 be postponed until the two Secretaries have an opportunity to confer in London or Washington, or at least until General Eisenhower returns from Canada.37


J. H. Hilldring

Major General
  1. General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; formerly Military Governor, U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany, and Commanding General, United States Forces, European Theater.
  2. Robert P. Patterson.
  3. Not printed.
  4. In this letter, General Eisenhower had expressed the hope that responsibility for the occupation could be turned over to civilian control by June 1, 1946; see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, p. 906, footnote 40. For text of General Eisenhower’s letter, see Department of State Bulletin, November 4, 1945, p. 711.
  5. Lt. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, Deputy Military Governor, U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany; Director, Office of Military Government of the United States for Germany (OMGUS).
  6. The proposal concerning General Clay is not contained in the Draft Statement of Principles, but is mentioned in a draft memorandum to Secretary of War Patterson by General Eisenhower concerning the latter’s conversation with Secretary Byrnes on January 2 (740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–246). According to this plan, General Clay was to become head of the SWNCC Directorate dealing with policy formation for occupied areas.
  7. Reference is to the Draft Statement of Principles, not printed.
  8. In his reply, January 15, Mr. Acheson indicated that he had transmitted to Secretary Byrnes (who was in London for the General Assembly of the United Nations) General Hilldring’s suggestion that a decision on the submission of a memorandum to the President be temporarily postponed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–1146).