740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–148: Telegram

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

top secret

748. Personal for Saltzman and Hickerson (Eyes Only).

[For the first two paragraphs of this telegram, see p. 886.]

Last evening General Clay gave a dinner for Generals Robertson and Koenig which I attended. There was very frank discussion of question referred to in your 5611 re eventual establishment of provisional [Page 159] western German government. This meeting took place really at instance of Koenig who opened discussion with statement it was his understanding Berlin conversations were simply continuation of London meeting and would be completed in London. Therefore in his opinion the discussions here should remain within framework of London outline. He made it quite clear that from information he had obtained from Paris the security consideration re German rehabilitation still remained. His government, he said, was unable accept the proposition that provisional government should be established in western Germany in advance of convening of Constituent Assembly. He said that, speaking frankly, it was his understanding that motivating reason back of accelerated time-table suggested by US at Berlin was apprehension re aggressive tactics of Soviet Union. He never looked at the matter differently and believed that if action proposed by US were taken in western zones it would provide exactly pretext to Soviet Union for which they had been looking. In other words if provisional government were established he believes we would open ourselves to Russian propaganda attack which would then have substantial foundation because our action would involve a violation of Potsdam and spirit of other agreements under which we operate in Germany on quadripartite basis. General Koenig, while not minimizing Russian menace, did not share feeling of urgency to same extent as did Robertson and Clay. Koenig said that while his government could not see its way to approve establishment of provisional western German government it was willing to go further than its delegation had at London and agree to convening of a Constituent Assembly “this fall”. If Constituent Assembly then developed text of a constitution which three western powers would approve it then might be possible permit establishment of western German government as provided by such, a constitution “sometime in 1949”. He had no authority to go any further than this.

Both Robertson and Clay urged with considerable warmth that in their opinions situation was far more urgent. Robertson said if we keep on talking indefinitely we might wake up some fine morning to find Hammer and Sickle already on Rhine. General Koenig did not believe menace was that great. Robertson also said that as far as providing Russians with pretext to accuse western powers of violation of Potsdam he saw no difference in principle between French suggestion and US/UK proposals. French suggestion for Constituent Assembly would amount to same thing and expose us to about same accusations. Clay argued vigorously in support of permitting Germans early progress toward duly elected government and emphasized risk we ran of losing support of approximately 45 million Germans in western zones. [Page 160] He stressed necessity of their orientation to west and their inclusion ERP and western economy.

Sent Department as 748, repeated London personal for Douglas as 96, to Paris personal for Caffery as 122, and Moscow personal for Smith as 92.

  1. March 30, p. 154.