The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State
747. For Saltzman and Hickerson Eyes Only. Third meeting Governors Conference Berlin was held this morning. French proposed further effort be made to progress in matter of the discussion undertaken at London of future political organization western Germany. UK and US pointed out that progress had been made on reconciliation their views but, in view French apparent inability to yield on any of positions taken (in fact on some points such as size and population of Laender which French insist should be fairly analogous and represented in Constituent Assembly by equal number delegates they seem to have gone backward rather than forward), Robertson and Clay expressed view it would be useless continue discussions this subject Berlin. They recommended that matter go over to London meeting. Benelux said that as the paper has thus far only had a first reading in order clarify the points but not to compromise it might be well to go over it again as Benelux was quite prepared make some compromises. [Page 157] Working party instructed go over report once more and then submit it final form.1
There was discussion re preliminary report working party on arrangements which had been made for administration Bizonal area with view to exploring possibilities of fusion French zone and Bizonal area.2 French maintain their previous criticisms of Bizonal organization. Robertson pointed out present arrangements resulted from long negotiations with Germans and that it would be difficult if not impossible change them now because of French criticisms at least until a German government is established. Clay took position as long as there is no western German government it would be impossible change Bizonal organization and as French indicate they are unable join on present basis further discussion now would be fruitless. Sentiment of three delegations was to effect that fusion was impracticable but that with establishment of German Govt it will develop automatically.
Working party instructed submit their report final form.
There was also discussion of preliminary report of working party on improvement of economic cooperation between Bizonal area and French zone.3 Robertson made statement to effect that he thought there would be an attempt to harmonize procedure of two areas leading up to eventual fusion for purpose of accelerating such fusion. He said that frankly results obtained by working group so far are to effect that sessions in effect in French zone and Bizonia are incompatible and that efforts to harmonize them are futile. Principal difficulty seems to lie in degree of authority which occupying powers are willing give to Germans. He said that in almost every instance in French zone authority still rests in hands of French authorities. He pointed to a good example of this coming under heading of interzonal and internal trade. In French zone programming is restricted to essential items and both programming and negotiating is carried out (by Germans who are directly in employ and work under instructions of French military government. This was contrasted with degree of responsibility and authority given Germans in Bizonia. Koenig admitted frankly that thus far French had tightly kept lines of authority in economic and financial fields and on the whole they are satisfied with results. However a reorganization is now in progress and instructions have been received from Paris to release some of “administration” to Germans. Koenig made distinction between “administration” and “authority”. [Page 158] Robertson said no doubt we could keep on discussing this matter forever but unless there is fundamental change of position no real progress could be achieved. He again referred to possibility that we may still be discussing these things when Hammer and Sickle reign in western Germany.
Clay made following two points: (1) Are we working toward fusion? If so, when? (2) Are we working toward a western German Govt? If so, when? If these questions are answered in affirmative and time is indicated then working groups will have to find solutions to details of the problem. If we are not agreed on these fundamentals then we are wasting time discussing them here in Berlin and should return the question to London.
General Koenig replied that both these points are for consideration on governmental level and it was obvious he had no authority to go further on them. Meeting noted the preliminary report on this subject and working party was requested submit report in final form.
This meeting again demonstrates point made by Ambassador Douglas at London meeting that German problem must be reviewed in light of changed context of European situation. This is not yet reflected in changed attitude on part of French re timetable for western Germany. Both UK and US representatives minimize security risk in permitting Germans assume responsibility and authority now. French on other hand are apprehensive on security grounds and apparently not alarmed over danger of Soviet penetration in western zones. It is obvious that between the two risks their principal fear continues to attach to Germans rather than to Russians.
Repeated London personal for Douglas 95, repeated Paris personal for Caffery 121.
- For the text of the Final Report of Working Party No. 5 (Future Political Organization of Western Germany), see document MGC/P(48) 8, April 9, 1948, p. 170.↩
- The Preliminary Report of Working Party No. 3, document. MGC/P(48) 3, March 31, 1948, is not printed.↩
- The Preliminary Report of Working Party No. 2, document MGC/P(48) 4, March 31, 1948, is not printed.↩