740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–2046: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State

secret

1060. On February 28, OMGUS instructed office of Military Government for Bavaria to maintain the status quo with respect to the Bavarian Homeland and King’s Party pending clarification of various points in the party’s program. The status quo has been that this party has been approved in Stadtkreis Munich and has applied for recognition as a Land party in Bavaria. The party has now clarified in reasonably satisfactory manner various points in its program concerning whose democratic nature there was some doubt.

Question of recognizing this party is again to the fore in OMGUS with considerable sentiment favoring dissolution of the party in Munich and its prohibition throughout Bavaria.

Though this is no new problem to the Dept, it may be useful at present juncture to summarize current arguments on both sides.

Those persons favoring suppression of Royalist Party argue as follows:

a.
Monarchy is archaic and of doubtful democratic character.
The record of German Royal houses in particular has not been Liberal, Progressive, or Democratic. It is not clear that in Bavaria a King would not in fact have certain powders incompatible with a popularly-controlled government.
b.
Authorization of a Royalist Party in any part of our zone would give grounds for violent criticism by the Russians or Communists or both. We do not want to take any steps which justifiably or not would offend the Soviet Union or give it grounds for complaint.
c.
Restoration of monarchy would probably involve restoration of Royal properties on a scale which would run counter to the demands for land reform.
d.
Formation of a monarchical state in Germany would lead to either a separatism or to a relatively weak federal Reich which would be counter to the Potsdam declaration providing for central administrative agencies and emphasizing the economic unity of Germany.55
e.
Establishment of a Catholic monarchy in Bavaria might be a step toward closer Bavarian relations with Austria or toward involvement of Austria in an enlarged German federation.
f.
That part of the Royalist program which calls for a union of European states might be understood to favor a West European bloc directed against USSR.

Those advancing these arguments admit, however, that the proposed Royalist Party opens its membership freely to all qualified voters, that party officers and candidates would be chosen by the rank and file of the membership and subject to their control, and that the party program itself is not undemocratic. They chiefly rely therefore on antipathy to monarchism, fear of the effects on USSR and the Communists, and fear of the effect on the economic unity and strong centralism allegedly called for by Potsdam.

Those who are opposed to dissolving and prohibiting the King’s Party in Bavaria, advance the following arguments:

a.
It is sheer prejudice to condemn a monarchical state per se as undemocratic. The Scandinavian states and Great Britain offer abundant contrary evidence. Monarchy, moreover, might furnish a stabilizing influence on Germany.
b.
The possibility of external or internal criticism should not determine our attitude toward a movement which is reasonably democratic, spontaneous, and appears to enjoy widespread support. There is no reason to be particularly sensitive to Soviet criticisms in view of the complete freedom which Russians have displayed in actively supporting the Communist Party everywhere. The Communists have in fact been openly critical of occupation policies of western powers and these open criticisms have been carried in Soviet-controlled German press.
c.
The Potsdam declaration calls for the political decentralization of Germany.56 This has been and should continue to be one of our cardinal aims as a result of our experience with a highly centralized Reich. It is in our long term interest to accept any democratic development in Germany which will weaken the central political authority or the Reich. We should therefore actually welcome a Bavarian Royalist movement, provided it is democratic, as giving promise of leading to a less dangerous and more federalized Reich structure. It was never the intention of the framers of the Potsdam declaration to have the economic unity clause used as an argument for the reestablishment of a highly centralized Reich political structure.
d.
At the present time there is no evidence to support the thesis that reestablishment of monarchy in Bavaria might eventually lead to Austria’s incorporation in a German federation.

Persons adopting the foregoing line of argument emphasize the fact that the King’s Party is as democratic in its organization as any other party, that it appears to spring from popular sentiment in favor of monarchy in Bavaria, and that actually there is much to be said for a Bavarian monarchy in terms of assisting our policy of weakening Germany politically.

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We would appreciate being advised of the Dept’s views on this delicate issue. Meanwhile in the current stage of the problem here we propose to suggest continued delay in authorization of the Bavarian Homeland and King’s Party at the Land level and continued noninterference with the existing party in the city of Munich at least until after the Stadtkreis elections on May 26. These elections in Munich may in fact furnish us with useful evidence of the degree of popular support enjoyed by this party.57

Murphy
  1. See paragraphs 9 (iv) and 14 of the Political and Economic Principles to Govern the Treatment of Germany in the Initial Control Period, contained in the Communiqué of the Potsdam Conference, Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, pp. 1499, 1503 1504.
  2. See paragraph 9 of the Political and Economic Principles to Govern the Treatment of Germany in the Initial Control Period, Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1503.
  3. Under date of May 1, Assistant Secretary of State Hilldring transmitted to General Echols, Director of the Civil Affairs Division in the War Department, a copy of a draft cable to General Clay with the request that a message substantially in agreement therewith be sent to the latter on an urgent basis. The Department’s position in this draft cable was set forth as follows:

    “Dept believes that establishment of a monarchy in Bavaria would be contrary to long-range objective of democratic reconstruction in Germany. The German Royal Houses have, as Murphy stated, for the most part an illiberal and undemocratic record; they have also been inextricably associated with the German militaristic and authoritarian tradition. Dept fears that a monarchy in Bavaria, or monarchist party activities, would tend to become a cloak for Nazi or similar elements. It should be recalled in this regard that Bavaria after the first world war provided fertile ground for initiation and early promotion of Nazism, that Nazi Party at that time favored Bavarian separatism and was able to use to its advantage separatist attitude of Bavarian Govt. Furthermore, monarchist activities in Bavaria will assuredly stimulate undemocratic forces in other parts of Germany and impede development of those elements able to reconstitute German political life on sound democratic lines. They would thus serve as a disturbing, rather than stabilizing factor, from viewpoint of Germany as a whole. Moreover, Dept does not see how a Bavarian monarchy could possibly be incorporated into a federal German polity of desirable democratic design.

    “For these reasons, as well as those given in Murphy’s tel 1060, it is requested that Bavarian Homeland and King’s Party be dissolved at once in Munich and be prohibited throughout Bavaria. The dissolution should take place before May 26, since participation of Party in Munich elections would make eventual dissolution more difficult. In future no authorization should be given to any other proposed monarchist party.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–3046)

    On May 10, United States Military Government authorities announced the dissolution of the Bavarian King and Homeland Party.