740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–748

Communiqué of the London Conference on Germany, Released to the Press on June 7, 19481

In accordance with an announcement issued on June 22 at the conclusion of informal discussions on Germany between representatives of United States, United Kingdom, France and three Benelux countries a report3 containing agreed recommendations on all items discussed was submitted to their respective governments. These recommendations have been submitted as a whole since their main provisions are mutually dependent and form an indivisible program. Principal features of this report are the following:

i. association of benelux countries in policy regarding germany

The recommendations include specific provisions for a close association between military governments and Benelux representatives in Germany on matters affecting Benelux interests. Moreover full opportunities will be given the Benelux representatives to be kept informed of developments in the western zones.

ii. role of the german economy in the european economy and control of the ruhr

As stated in the communiqué of March 64 it had been agreed that for the political and economic well-being of the countries of [Page 314] Western Europe and of a democratic Germany, there must be a close association of their economic life. This close association, which will enable Germany to contribute to and participate in European recovery, has been ensured by the inclusion on April 16 of the combined zone and French zone in the organization for European economic cooperation as full members.
It was agreed to recommend the establishment of an international authority for the control of the Ruhr in which United States, United Kingdom, France, Benelux countries and Germany would participate, and which does not involve the political separation of the Ruhr area from Germany. It does, however, contemplate control of distribution of coal, coke and steel of Ruhr in order that on the one hand industrial concentration in that area shall not become an instrument of aggression, and on the other will be able to make its contribution to all countries participating in a European cooperative economic program, including, of course, Germany itself. A draft agreement5 containing the provisions for its establishment is attached as Annex I. This agreement is to be concluded by the United States, United Kingdom and France as occupying powers. Moreover the Benelux countries are to be fully associated with the preparation of the more detailed agreement provided for in Article 12, and are to be consulted as to the time when the authority begins to exercise its functions.
Arising out of the discussions on the Ruhr it has been recommended that the principle of non-discrimination against foreign interests in Germany be reaffirmed, and that each government should promptly study the problem of safeguarding foreign interests in order that there may be subsequently established as soon as possible an intergovernmental group to review the question and make recommendations to their governments.

iii. evolution of political and economic organization of germany

(A) Further consideration has been given by all delegates to the problem of the evolution of the political and economic organization of Germany. They recognize, taking into account the present situation, that it is necessary to give the German people the opportunity to achieve on the basis of a free and democratic form of government the eventual reestablishment of German unity at present disrupted. In these circumstances they have reached the conclusion that it would be desirable that the German people in the different states should now be free to establish for themselves the political organization and institutions which will enable them to assume those governmental responsibilities which are compatible with the minimum requirements of occupation [Page 315] and control and which ultimately will enable them to assume full governmental responsibility. The delegates consider that the people in the States will wish to establish a constitution with provisions which will allow all the German states to subscribe as soon as circumstances permit.

Therefore the delegates have agreed to recommend to their governments that the military governors should hold a joint meeting with the Ministers-President of the western zone in Germany. At that meeting the Ministers-President will be authorized to convene a Constituent Assembly in order to prepare a constitution for the approval of the participating states.

Delegates to this Constituent Assembly will be chosen in each of the states in accordance with procedure and regulations to be determined by the legislative bodies of the individual states.

The constitution should be such as to enable the Germans to play their part in bringing to an end the present division of Germany not by the reconstitution of a centralized Reich but by means of a federal form of government which adequately protects the rights of the respective states, and which at the same time provides for adequate central authority and which guarantees the rights and freedoms of the individual.

If the constitution as prepared by the Constituent Assembly does not conflict with these general principles the military governors will authorize its submissions for ratification by the people in the respective states.

At the meeting with the military governors the Ministers-President will also be authorized to examine the boundaries of the several states in order to determine what modifications might be proposed to the military governors for the purpose of creating a definitive system which is satisfactory to the peoples concerned.

(B) Further discussions have taken place between the United States, United Kingdom and French delegations on measures for coordinating economic policies and practices in the combined zone and the French zone. Agreed recommendations have been reached on the joint conduct and control of the external trade of the whole area. It has been recognized that a complete economic merger of the two areas cannot effectively take place until further progress has been made in establishing the necessary German institutions common to the entire area.

iv. provisional territorial arrangements

The delegations have agreed to submit for the consideration of their governments proposals for dealing with certain minor provisional territorial adjustments in connection with the western frontiers of Germany.

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v. security

This problem was considered in three aspects: (A) General Provisions. (B) Measures during the period in which the occupying powers retain supreme authority in Germany. (C) Measures after the period in which the occupying powers retain supreme authority in Germany.

General Provision.

The United States, United Kingdom and French Delegates reiterated the firm views of their governments that there could not be any general withdrawal of their forces from Germany until the peace of Europe is secured and without prior consultation. During this period there should be no general withdrawal of the forces of occupation of the United States, France or the United Kingdom without prior consultation. It was further recommended that the governments concerned should consult if any of them should consider that there was a danger of resurgence of German military power or of the adoption by Germany of a policy of aggression.

Measures during the period in which the occupying powers retain supreme authority in Germany.

The prohibitions on the German Armed Forces and the German General Staff as contained in 4-power agreements were reaffirmed, as well as the exercise of controls by the military governors with respect to disarmament and demilitarization, level of industry and certain aspects of scientific research. To ensure the maintenance of disarmament and demilitarization in the interests of security, the three military governors should set up a military security board in the western zones of Germany to carry out the proper inspections and make the necessary recommendations to the military governors, who decide the action to be taken.

Measures after the period in which the occupying powers retain supreme authority in Germany.

It was affirmed that Germany must not again be permitted to become an aggressive power and that prior to the general withdrawal of the forces of occupation agreement will be reached among the governments concerned with respect to necessary measures of demilitarization, disarmament and control of industry and with respect to occupation of key areas. Also there should be a system of inspection to ensure the maintenance of the agreed provisions of German disarmament and demilitarization.

The present recommendations, which in no way preclude and on the contrary should facilitate eventual 4-power agreement on the German problem, are designed to solve the urgent political and economic [Page 317] problems arising out of the present situation in Germany. Because of the previous failure to reach comprehensive 4-power decisions on Germany, the measures recommended mark a step foward in the policy which the powers represented at these talks are determined to follow with respect to the economic reconstruction of Western Europe, including Germany, and with respect to the establishment of a basis for the participation of a democratic Germany in the community of free peoples.

  1. The source text was released to the press by the Department of State as Press Release No. 454, June 7, 1948, for publication after 6 a. m. of that date. The Communiqué was simultaneously released to the press in London and Paris.

    The text of the Communiqué was approved at a meeting of the London Conference on the morning of June 1. Telegram 2391, Delsec 1774, June 1, from London, not printed, reporting on the Conference meeting, added that it had been further agreed that the Communiqué would be delivered to the Soviet Ambassador in London by Sir William Strang twelve hours in advance of its release to the press (regarding the Strang-Zarubin meeting on June 7, see telegram 2511, June 7, from London, p. 366). At the same time, the American, British, and French Military Governors in Germany were to arrange for the delivery of the Communiqué to Soviet representatives in Berlin (740.00119 Council/6–148).

  2. Supra.
  3. Ante, p. 305.
  4. Ante, p. 141.
  5. Document TRI/16, May 26, p. 285.