740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–1748

Notes Prepared by the United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) of a Meeting Between the Military Governors of the Western Zones of Occupation of Germany and a Parliamentary Council Delegation, Frankfurt, December 16, 1948 1


The Parliamentary Council at Bonn passed by a vote of twenty to one (KPD) in an inter factional meeting a resolution regarding the Occupation Statute. A copy of this resolution (TRIB/P(48)14) is attached.2 The President of the Council, Dr. Konrad Adenauer, recently approached the British with the suggestion that he would like to be received by the Military Governors for an informal discussion of this matter, and this developed into an agreement by the three Military Governors to receive him and a delegation of six other members at Frankfurt, December 16. Whether the delegation should have been received at this particular moment might be open to question but, in any event, it is hoped that it will not adversely affect the work of the Parliamentary Council. I attach in that connection a brief biographical sketch of the members included in the Parliamentary delegation.3

Prior to the reception of the Germans, about which the French Military Governor particularly seemed apprehensive, the three Military Governors had a brief discussion concerning procedure. General Robertson said that the British delegation was actuated by a desire to see the constitutional law enacted as soon as possible. He said that if we wait for a final seal of governmental approval to be given the Occupation Statute we will not achieve this result. He pointed out that the draft of the Occupation Statute is not yet complete and certain points are not resolved. The legal drafting is not final. For that [Page 645] reason the Military Governors are unable to give the Germans the text for the present. Furthermore, General Robertson noted that the Military Governors are working on the text as a recommendation to Governments. He thought that subject to these preliminary remarks the Military Governors could give the Germans information on the Statute except on points where there is no agreement, and on these he thought the Chairman should exercise tact. General Koenig thought that the situation might be met by merely reading to the Germans the contents of Document No. 34 which had already been communicated to them last July in accordance with the London Agreements. General Clay thought that it might be possible for the Chairman to make a brief statement to the Germans to the effect that negotiations are now in course and after the Military Governors had made their recommendations and the Governments had approved that then the Germans would be notified. Not having reached a clear-cut understanding as to the procedure to be followed, the Germans were then received in a formalized manner and in a rather unhappy atmosphere. I felt that for this particular meeting there was little to be gained and possibly something to be lost.5

The meeting opened with a formal greeting by General Koenig who introduced himself as the Military Governors’ Chairman for the month of December. He stated that the Military Governors had not had sufficient time to consider the comments of the Parliamentary Council on the Occupation Statute and, for this reason, while prepared now to hear what the Germans had to say would not reply to the questions until the evening of December 17.

Dr. Adenauer spoke on behalf of the delegation, declaring that the work of the Parliamentary Council had been more difficult than expected but that nevertheless the progress already made indicates that the text of the Basic Law will be finished by the end of January 1949. He pointed out that as the Military Governors have reserved the right to approve or disapprove the text before the vote of the Parliamentary Council, the Germans were anxious to achieve the maximum agreement with the Military Governors now. He said that the principal questions pending include those relating to cultural affairs, to the upper chamber and to the question of financial powers.

On the subject of financial powers Dr. Adenauer stated that the Military Governors have provided the necessary information in an aide-mémoire.6 He felt that the resolution of the General Committee [Page 646] should be compared with the Military Governors’ memorandum and that that would suffice. He said that the Parliamentary Council is eager to see the law accelerated and the Western German Government established as soon as possible. So far as completion of work is concerned much depended on whether ratification of the Basic Law is to be made by popular referendum or by legislative sanction. This question is not yet decided. The Members of the Parliamentary Council are keenly interested to know the eventual contents of the Occupation Statute. He reminded the Military Governors that on July 19 they had said “According to the London Agreement the basic principles of the Occupation Statute will be given to the Parliamentary Council”.7 The Germans would be gratified if they could be informed of these basic principles as soon as possible. The main points on which they are concerned are: (1) Financial powers, (2) the basic principles of the Occupation Statute and (3) the question of the form of ratification. He said that the Military Governors’ views on the upper chamber are not clear and the Germans would like to have greater precision. If the Military Governors cannot inform the Germans now of the details of the Occupation Statute in accordance with the London Agreements, probably they could do so a little later.

Robert Murphy
  1. The source text was transmitted to the Department under cover of a brief letter from Ambassador Murphy to John D. Hickerson, dated December 17, not printed. Much of the substance of these notes were contained in telegram 334, December 17, from Ambassador Murphy in Frankfurt, not printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–1748). This, of course, is the same meeting for which minutes are printed supra.
  2. For the text of the resolution under reference here, see p. 637.
  3. The biographical sketch is not printed.
  4. The reference here is to the document on the occupation statute presented to the Ministers President by the Military Governors at their meeting at Frankfurt on July 1; see the editorial note, p. 380.
  5. The discussion among the Military Governors described in this paragraph was recorded in detail in the United States Delegation Minutes of the Sixth Meeting of the Military Governors (Second Part), held at Frankfurt on December 16, 10 a. m., not printed (CFM Files, Lot M–88, Box 121, File—Occupation Statute).
  6. Ante, p. 442.
  7. The reference here probably is to the statement made by General Clay at the outset of the July 20 meeting between the Military Governors and the Ministers President; see footnote 1 to the minutes of the meeting, p. 403.