740.00119 Council/4–2848: Telegram
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Douglas ) to the Secretary of State
1792. Delsec 1696. As the Department is aware the agreed report of the Berlin Working Party (TRI/4) which considered the various problems in regard to the future German government showed little progress.1 During Couve de Murville’s visit to Berlin General Clay handed him a compromise proposal (see Berlin’s 898, April 16 to Department repeated Paris as 1642) and subsequently the three military governors agreed to transmit Clay’s paper to the present London meeting as a basis for discussion.
Last Friday Couve de Murville, after preliminary discussion with Clay and Murphy, submitted a French counter-proposal. This was followed by a British redraft on political organization dated April 26. USDel was prepared to base discussion at this meeting on the French counter-proposal as it is believed better progress could be made working from one paper which seems to offer the possibility of agreement. However, the British paper is not without merit. Both the French counter-proposal and British redraft are quoted below. These are now the basis of current discussions on German political organization.
At yesterday’s meeting there was reached considerable area of tentative agreement on the language in the French counter-proposal below. Thus paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 were agreed but there was no agreement on paragraph 4 on the key question of whether the delegates to the Constituent Assembly would be “designated” or elected. Paragraph 5 was agreed but paragraph 6 is still wide open. In that connection please note paragraph 4 of British redraft below. There was no particular difficulty about paragraph 7 and on the point here involved of ratification by the states it was agreed that the states would be the new ones after whatever boundary changes are eventually approved. [Page 208] It should also be said in that reference that the British and French are wide apart on the question of the boundaries of the future north Rhine-Westphalia, Paragraph 8 was agreed with the amendment of “this committee” in the second sentence to read “the Minister Presidents”. Paragraph 9 also seemed to find agreement. Paragraph 10, it was agreed, would be replaced by paragraph 8 of British redraft. There was discussion without agreement on the question of approval or disapproval by the Military Governors of the several actions to be taken by the Germans. British and US agreed that disapproval could be indicated by majority but the French desired more time to consider this point.
It was also tentatively agreed that the provisions of paragraph 11 are not necessary in the present paper.
Today a working party is endeavoring to bring the French and British papers into a single draft. After another attempt by US, British and French delegates to harmonize views, Benelux, which has not yet participated in these discussions, will be asked for views.
Text of French and British drafts follow:
- Three commanders-in-chief will, not later than blank, call for meeting of Presidents of States of their respective zones. This meeting will be instructed to examine boundaries of the several States in view of determining what modifications might be proposed to commanders-in-chief. This survey will be carried out recognizing traditional patterns, and avoiding, to extent feasible, creation of States which are either too large or too small in comparison with the other states composing the federation. This survey will take place in close contact with allied authorities, so as to enable them to take their decision before meeting of Constituent Assembly.
- Meeting of Minister-Presidents shall be informed of decisions taken as to convening of Constituent Assembly. It will be instructed to communicate those decisions to the various States and to make the necessary arrangements.
- Constituent Assembly will be held not later than September 1, 1948 to prepare constitution to be ratified by states composing the federation.
- Delegates to this Constituent Assembly shall be designated, in each of existing States, under procedure and regulations as adopted by each of these States.
- Number of delegates from each State will be in proportion that its population is to total population of participating States. Total number of delegates will be determined by dividing total population from last census by 750,000.
- Constituent Assembly will draft democratic constitution which will establish for States composing the federation a government structure of federal type which will protect rights of participating states and which will contain guarantees of individual rights and freedom. (This paragraph to be completed.)
- Constitution as prepared by Constituent Assembly will be examined by occupying powers to determine its compliance with general principles stated in paragraph six. If constitution as prepared by Constituent Assembly does meet these principles, it will be submitted for ratification by states composing the federation under such rules and procedures as these may adopt. When constitution has been ratified by two-thirds of the states, it will become the constitution of the federation. It will come into force and will be binding upon all states. Thereafter, any amendment to constitution must be ratified by like majority of the states.
- Constituent Assembly shall designate committee consisting of one representative from each of the States which will form the federation. This committee, in cooperation with governments of existing States, will take necessary steps for election in due time of Assemblies of such States boundaries of which will have been modified. These Assemblies and those of the States boundaries of which have not been modified shall determine conditions for ratification of constitution as stated in paragraph 7 above.
- As soon as constitution has been voted, Constituent Assembly will be dissolved and committee mentioned in paragraph 8 will be instructed to submit constitution for ratification of States composing federation. Within thirty days following coming into force of constitution, this committee shall also provide for establishment of institutions as determined for by constitution.
- Commanders-in-Chief shall determine control and administration powers which occupying authorities intend to retain subsequent to coming into force of constitution, as regards federal government as well as governments of the States.
- Prior to coming into force of constitution, it is impracticable to establish trizonal allied control. However, in interim period, certain steps have or will be taken to ensure full economic coordination of trizonal area and French zone of occupation. Steps which have already been taken are: mint banking policy under tripartite allied banking commission; agreement in principle to currency reform in trizonal area. Remaining steps which should be taken as soon as conditions of implementation will have been agreed upon by Commanders-in-Chief are: common management of export and import by tripartite Allied export-import agency and common custom policy.
- Three military governors will not later than blank call joint meeting of Ministers President their respective zones to tell them that they have decided to authorize them to arrange for convention of Constituent Assembly to which any German Land will be permitted to send delegates.
- (A) In order that serious anomalies in present arrangement of Land boundaries may be rectified before
constitution ratified (see paragraph 5 below) Ministers President
will be asked to examine this matter and to report within one month
to Military Governors as to what modification they think desirable.
Ministers President may conduct this examination in any way which
appears to them appropriate. Military Governors will consider their
report, and will take steps to [Page 210] put into effect such recommendations as they agree
to accept. Where Military Governors fail to agree, no change will be
(B) Constitution will provide machinery to enable changes to be made in boundaries of Laender, subject to approval of people of Laender affected. Any residual problems regarding Land boundaries not settled by procedure in (A) above will be settled subsequently by this machinery.
- Ministers President shall also be told to make necessary arrangements to ensure (A) that Constituent Assembly should meet as soon as possible and not later than September 1, 1948; (B) that delegates to this Assembly should be elected by the people of the several Laender under the electoral procedures and regulations adopted by the several Laender; (C) that the number of delegates from each Land should be in the proportion that its population is to total population of participating Laender, total number of delegates being determined by dividing total population at last census by 750,000.
- Constitutent Assembly will draft a democratic constitution which will establish for the German Federation (Bundesstaat Deutschland) a governmental structure which will protect rights of Laender and contain guarantees of individual rights and freedom. In particular, constitution must provide that: (A) legislature is bicameral, with one Chamber representing the states; (B) chief of state (if any) is not directly elected and is not given direct emergency powers; (C) federation enjoys only those powers expressly delegated to it; (D) Laender have a minimum exclusive power of legislation and administration in fields of education, culture, and religious affairs, public health, public welfare, police and local government; (E) Laender have sufficient independent sources of revenue to carry out their functions.
- Constituent Assembly will also prepare transitional provisions which will lay down procedure for ratification of constitution, and holding of elections as provided in constitution. These transitional provisions must provide that when at least two-thirds of Laender participating in Constituent Assembly have ratified constitution it will come into force and be binding upon all participating Laender. They must also provide for establishment of the government of the German federation within thirty days after entry into force of constitution.
- Constitution and transitional provisions will be submitted to Military Governors to determine their compliance with general principles stated above before they are put to Laender for ratification.
- Constituent Assembly will be prorogued as soon as its tasks have been completed. It may, however, set up, in transitional provisions, committee of one representative from each of proposed Laender which, in cooperation with Land governments, will ensure execution of transitional provisions and establishment of the institutions provided for in constitution.
- Prior to entry into force of constitution, there shall be a determination of control and administrative powers which occupying authorities intend to retain as regards both proposed government of the German federation and the governments of the Laender.
- The reference here is to the Final Report of Working Party No. 5 of the Military Governors’ Conference at Berlin, document MGC/P(48) 8, April 9, p. 170. Document TRI/4, March 4 of the London Conference on Germany is not printed, but its substance is set forth in telegram 894, Delsec 1616, March 5, from London, p. 131.↩
- Not printed; it transmitted the text of the “Clay paper” on the political structure for Western Germany (862.011/4–1648). The essential substance of that paper was reported upon in telegram 821, April 9, from Berlin, p. 175.↩