740.00119 Council/5–548: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Douglas ) to the Secretary of State


1958. Delsec 1717. Informal meeting heads of delegations this morning discussed draft letter to military governors regarding powers of civil and military governments.1 (Working Party text transmitted in Delsec 1716). Strang stressed fact this draft did not commit delegations and that British had several important reservations of general nature to make in Working Party text. Robertson indicated British attached great importance to contractual aspect which not included in draft letter. In British view statute had two objectives, (1) to define limitation of Allied authority and (2) to make sure Germans assumed responsibility with respect to powers left to them. He felt letter as drafted put too much emphasis on powers retained by Allies, was [Page 224] not sufficiently positive and might not ensure Germans assumed responsibilities because did not envisage making them party to statute.

Clay made point no German government could survive after being forced approve statute. Therefore, it was necessary to impose it. On other hand he envisaged German people being fully informed its contents before voting for constitution. Thus ratification would imply acceptance by German people of powers reserved to MG. This had contractual aspect without involving German Government.

Couve de Murville, speaking for French in Massigli’s absence, agreed with US point of view and Strang appeared impressed with Clay argument. He asked for further enlightenment on manner in which Clay envisaged letter of instructions to Military Governors would be used and succeeding steps to be taken by Military Governors. Clay stated that constitution should be drafted without reference to MG or powers to be reserved to MG so that it might have chance of surviving after occupation. Steps might be as follows: (1) Confidential letter from governments to military governors along general lines of present draft would provide necessary useful guidance to military governors. (2) Military governors, consulting with ministers-president, would then collaborate on paper describing in general way powers to be reserved to MG; this would be made available to Constituent Assembly upon its convocation; (3) Later after constitution drafted and after consultations with drafting body (Constituent Assembly) military governors would define in greater detail powers to be retained by them, in commenting on specific articles in constitution. This would be part of formal communication approving constitution and would have force of German law. It would be published (presumably together with occupation statute) and available to Germans voting on ratification.

Couve de Murville brought up question of procedures for exercising control over German Governments and circulated French proposal for two additional paragraphs to be inserted after Paragraph 2.

Verbatim text. “Paragraph 3. Military governors shall exercise the above-mentioned controls, jointly on federal government and individually on governments of the states, according to following procedure:

Any amendment to constitution shall be submitted to approval of military governors, as provided in Article 7 of (paper on political organization);
In fields mentioned in Article I (A) to (I), German authorities shall comply with decisions or directions of military governors;
Whenever not otherwise provided, in particular for implementation of Paragraph (b) above, all laws and regulations from German authorities shall come into force automatically within 21 days unless disapproved by military governors, after majority vote, whenever federal government is concerned.

[Page 225]

Paragrah 4. Appointments to important functions shall be subject to approval by military governors.”

Clay indicated general acceptance of substance of French paper except Paragraph 4. Couve de Murville also brought up question of complications in Allied control which might result from any changes in Land boundaries, particularly those which affected two zones, e.g. Wuerttemberg-Baden. Clay felt it would be necessary to have integrated staffs at Land level in all Laender. He envisaged tripartite boards in each Land to ensure enforcement by Laender of federal law and also to take action on Laender legislation which appeared to be contrary to Laender or federal constitutions. He did not envisage maintaining MG staffs below Land level.

Robertson stated British had no intention withdrawing officers from Kreise. They believed it necessary for long time to come to have at least one officer per Kreis to act as go-between between troops and populace and to obtain information on what was going on throughout zone. These officers would have no real power and would not intervene in German governmental affairs. He felt, contrary to Clay’s experience in US Zone, that Germans welcomed presence of such officers. Couve de Murville agreed with Robertson that contact with Germans at local level was important. Clay disagreed, pointing out that removal of officers below Land level would stimulate Germans to assume responsibilities; leaving them there would have reverse effect even if their powers limited. He stressed need for uniformity of policies but did not believe this personnel problem presented insuperable difficulties, important question being coordination of control at Land and federal levels. He urged three powers act together in order to do away with present fences between zones. It is time, he said, to cast our lot together and to do so MG must be used to enforce orders from the center. Acting together meant acting on tripartite basis.

At this point Strang asked pertinent question whether three military governors in considering all such questions would have equal voice or whether there was any question of “another conception” which had recently been raised by USDel in rather surprising field (paper on international control of Ruhr).

Clay, backed by Douglas, replied three military governors would have equal voice and that quite different machinery was set up to handle that “other conception”. Clay recalled he was ready to accept French amendment.

Both British and French wished time to consider points raised in discussion and no time was fixed for next meeting on political organization matters. In meantime Clay and Robertson together with French representatives will endeavor reconcile views. Clay and Robertson will also endeavor agree on formula regarding definition of “people [Page 226] of the affected arenas” who will vote on any recommendations president may make for changes in Land boundaries.

No discussion today on unresolved points other two political papers. Deptel 1599 (Secdel 1568) May 42 replying to Delsec 17123 regarding police powers will be helpful when discussion this point resumed.

Sent Department 1958; repeated Paris 202, Berlin 118.

  1. The document under reference was TRI/17, May 3, not printed. The text of this document was transmitted to the Department in telegram 1933, Delsec 1716, May 4, from London, not printed (740.00119 Council/5–448). The Department’s comments on the draft letter were sent in telegram 1613, May 5, to London, not printed (740.00119 Council/5–548).
  2. Ante, p. 221.
  3. May 3, p. 220.