740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–1048: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy), at Berlin

top secret

685. Personal for Murphy from Hickerson. We consider General Clay has skillfully handled difficult Berlin situation and we have joined Army Dept in seeing he has been given all necessary authority. Your reports have been informative and timely. I would like your frank views on the real question which faces us, namely, what do we do about the Control Council and about the timing of an announcement of intent to proceed with the establishment of a government for western Germany. This Govt has declared its firm resolve to continue in the Control Council and this is one of the best arguments for our staying in Berlin. How would our position be affected by our taking the lead in forming a western German government in advance of any similar Sov step? If we adopt this initiative, which the Sovs will surely exploit to impute to us responsibility for splitting Germany, do you think it advisable we should try to represent our plan as having wider scope than western Germany, that is, should we claim also that we are aiming at the initiation of constitutional processes in Germany in the tradition of the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848?

Have just received your letter of Mar 29 with US plan of Mar 22 presented to Berlin governmental working party.1 Although events [Page 177] have now overtaken plan, we question advisability of three sets of elections, that is, one for provisional government, another for constituent assembly, and final election for “permanent government”. It seems to us Germans would become “election happy”, and given remarkable consistency in balance between political parties, such elections would probably lead to superfluous and identical results. With respect to your 800, Apr 6 [7],2 we are working on possibility of combining direct elections for provisional government with those for constituent assembly. Would appreciate your views. Without engaging in backseat driving, I would like to suggest to Lew Douglas that you be made US Rep on governmental working party at London3 in view importance of this question. [Hickerson.]

  1. Neither the Litchfield memorandum of March 22 nor Murphy’s letter of March 29 to Beam is printed. The Litchfield memorandum was discussed by Reber in telegram 1628, March 27, from Paris, p. 151, and by Murphy in telegram 731, March 31, from Berlin, p. 155.
  2. Not printed; it transmitted the preliminary text of the report of Working Party No. 2 of the Military Governors Conference on Germany; for the text of the Final Report of Working Party No. 2, document MGC/P (48) 8, April 9, 1948, see p. 170.
  3. i.e., the scheduled meetings of the London Conference on Germany.