The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Director of the Office of European Affairs ( Hickerson )


Dear Jack : Mr. Couve de Murville is in Berlin as the guest of General Clay for a two-day visit.1 General Clay and I had a lengthy conversation with him last night on the subject of Germany and its relation to the USSR. We found that Couve’s thinking has apparently progressed enormously since our last meeting. He said, for example, that in his personal opinion “war with the Soviet Union within the next two or three years is inevitable—and that may mean this year”. With that as a keynote we found that Couve’s approach to the German problem has undergone substantial evolution. For example, we discussed with him the question which has been under consideration as the result of French representations in Washington and London regarding German participation in the plenary session of the CEEC in Paris next week.2 Couve stated it is his personal opinion that the German representatives should accompany General Robertson as originally planned. He stated as his opinion that obviously there was a question of French internal politics which could not be ignored but he believed that the importance of the impact that German attendance might have on French public opinion may have been colored and exaggerated. Couve promised to telephone to Mr. Bidault this morning in an effort to see whether matters could not be arranged. In that connection it might be mentioned that General Clay is determined that if the Germans are not permitted to enjoy this modest participation after having received his assurances some weeks ago that it would be permitted then he would, wish to withdraw OMGUS representation [Page 170] from the plenary session. I believe that he intends to discuss that matter with the Department of the Army by telecon.

Our conversation with Couve regarding German political structure in Western Germany took a very satisfactory turn. We found that Couve had a much more advanced time-table on the constitutional assembly than the instructions heretofore given to the French Delegation in Berlin have permitted. In other words, Couve proposed a much earlier convening of a constitutional assembly which would place the date of the eventual establishment of a constitutional Western German government far in advance of anything heretofore suggested. Under those circumstances, General Clay assured him that he would be willing to forego the idea of the establishment of a provisional government to be followed by a constitutional assembly because Couve’s present proposal would eliminate the necessity for such action. If Couve’s suggestion is confirmed, I believe that we have the solution of the most controversial point in that issue.

Yours ever,

Robert Murphy
  1. According to his account in Decision in Germany, pp. 397–398, General Clay learned informally that Couve de Murville was interested in conferring with him. On April 6, Couve de Murville interrupted his Riviera vacation to fly to Berlin in General Clay’s personal aircraft.
  2. Documentation regarding the arrangements for the inaugural session of the Council of European Economic Cooperation and the question of the make-up of the delegation from Bizonia is included in volume iii .