862.00/4–948: Telegram

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


821. Personal for Saltzman and Hickerson. During course our informal conversations with Couve de Murville he stated personal willingness to advance time-table of political structure western Germany by advancing date on which Constituent Assembly might be held. General Clay has informed him we would be willing compromise our position re early establishment of Provisional Western German Govt if French would agree to convening of Constituent Assembly not later than 1 Sept 48. We discussed this point informally with Robertson and Koenig and Couve de Murville today. British while insisting that more rapid action is required under prevailing circumstances said that they might be willing to accept such formula if French Govt found it possible to do so. Informal suggestion this connection made by Clay to French and British includes:1

Several states would be advised that Constituent Assembly [Page 176] would be held not later than 1 Sept 48 to prepare constitution for ratification by several states:
Delegates would be elected by people of several states under procedures adopted by states;
Number delegates to be in proportion to population; total number to be determined by dividing population figure by 750,000;
Assembly would be instructed to draft democratic constitution establishing federal governmental structure and to determine boundaries of the several states to form that federal govt recognizing traditional patterns, etc.;
Constitution to be ratified by two-thirds of participating states;
Constitutional Assembly would designate electoral procedures committee consisting of one representative of each of proposed states which in cooperation with state governments will arrange for elections provided in constitution. Government so elected would take office 30 days after ratification.

Sent Dept as 821, repeated London 120, Paris 146.

  1. The points set forth here were contained in a paper hastily prepared by General Clay on April 9 and subsequently often referred to as the “Clay paper”. For the text of the paper, see Clay, Decision in Germany, pp. 398–400. The full text of the paper was transmitted by Ambassador Murphy to the Department in his telegram 898, April 16, from Berlin, not printed (862.011/4–1648). Telegram 1904, April 12, from Paris, not printed, reported that Couve de Murville brought back to Paris a copy of this paper which had been sympathetically studied in the French Foreign Ministry (740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–1248). Telegram 1980, April 15, from Paris, not printed, reported that the French Cabinet had discussed the paper and probably would accept it as a basis for discussion at the reconvened London Conference on Germany (740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–1548).