SWNCC 15 File: Telegram

The Commanding General, United States Forces, European Theater (McNarney), to the War Department

No. S–7639

Reference your WX–94172 of 12 [11] July 1946.77 Do not recommend extension of French Zone of Occupation to include Karlsruhe. Karlsruhe is the capital and political center of Baden and its transfer would make the Government of Baden more difficult. Moreover, its importance as a communications center to our Government of Germany can not be over-estimated. It is a key telecommunications center through which main communications are made between Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Munich. The railroad route through the area has almost 50 percent capacity for rail movements from the northern part of the American Zone to the southern and eastern parts and into Austria. From the point of view of Military Government in regard to the placing of Baden and Wuerttemberg under joint French and US control, the following considerations are pertinent.

The French proposal is for Wuerttemberg to be under American control with French Liaison and Baden to be under French control with American Liaison. This is not a quid pro quo. While both [Page 685] areas are deficiency areas for agriculture, there is not much difference in the size of population and volume of industry in South Wuerttemberg as compared to North Baden. However, the light industries in North Baden more nearly complement the industries remaining in the United States Zone. The transfer of North Baden to French control would increase our difficulties in developing an export trade with which to meet our food imports. Of greater import, however, is the fact that North Baden is an important cultural area with the city of Heidelberg of particular value to Military Government in accomplishing its objectives.
While the Secretary of State at Paris invited any other zone to join with our zone to effect economic unity, this invitation did not extend to political unification. Such political unification is undesirable until the eventual success or failure of Quadripartite Government has been determined. The German officials in our zone would be greatly upset by the transfer. It would increase the prevailing opinion that the United States will not stay with the job in Germany and will render almost impossible our efforts to secure democratic-minded officials to administer German Government. Our objectives and French objectives are quite different, particularly with respect to the utilization of German economy. An effort at Joint government would accentuate these differences and could not result in harmony and understanding. The French have refused consistently to join in the establishment of central administrative machinery which would lead to the establishment of a provisional German Government.
The objectives of Military Government can not be accomplished if we should comply with this French request. It offers no advantage to our administration in Germany but on the contrary positive disadvantage. Moreover, it would seem more logical for the French to be asked to return both South Wuerttemberg and South Baden to the United States as neither of these areas is self-supporting cut away from its northern area. If France obtains the Saar, there would appear little reason for its strong desire to occupy Baden unless it visualizes annexation here also.
The only French argument with merit is that Wuerttemberg and Baden should be set up as independent Laender. While traditionally this is correct, the number of states in future Germany should be reduced and there is much to commend eventual consolidation of these two states into one state for incorporation into future Central Government. The views of some leading Germans are indicating a trend in this direction.
In view of our objectives in Germany, the views of our German officials must be taken into consideration with respect to the French [Page 686] proposal. They are unanimously and bitterly opposed to the proposed transfer. Therefore, its effect on our prestige in Germany can not be over-emphasized. From a supply and housing viewpoint any contraction of the US Zone at this time would seriously complicate an already critical housing situation. Attention is called to the heavy commitments laid on the US Zone of Occupation to furnish accommodations for persecutees, expellees and others coming into our zone. Heidelberg contains the headquarters of the 3d US Army and it is contemplated to be used as the hqs for the constabulary at a later date. It is a center of great strategic importance to the US occupation. It is recommended that the French Government be advised that the US does not propose to transfer Karlsruhe in view of its importance as a political and communications center to the US Zone and that it is unwilling to enter into joint political arrangements pending the determination of the success or failure of Quadripartite Government to establish a Central German Government. If and when Central German Government is established and is operating through German administrative agencies, then, and only then, will the US be prepared to discuss possible modifications in the boundary lines for occupying troops. Reference W–92445,78 it is not believed that the granting of the French request would preclude our capability for furnishing transportation assistance to British troops in Austria. It is pointed out, however, that the medioc [MedLoC?] route to Italy and Austria passes through Karlsruhe and the British have established a principal feed halt with transient accommodations in that city. Arrangements would have to be made with the French for the British to retain these facilities.

[Regarding the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” between General Clay and General Sokolovsky on arrest and detention of official personnel, see memorandum by Major General Harold R. Bull, August 15, printed on page 730.]

  1. Not printed; this telegram requested comments and recommendations on the proposals contained in the French notes of May 7 and June 11, whose contents are summarized in the memorandum by Mr. Harris, June 20, p. 679.
  2. Not printed.