740.00119 Council/2–2048: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1


597. Gerdel. Following views transmitted you for your general background and guidance with respect tripartite talks on German problems. These views are not necessarily to be used in open formal discussion, but probably would serve better for informal private conversations with Brit and Fr delegates and with leading officials Brit Govt. They supplement and give general framework for position papers on specific problems which you have at hand:

As a result of total military defeat and extensive urban devastation, Germany has been practically in a state of prostration since end of hostilities. Effective measures to disband German army and to disarm and demilitarize Germany have been taken throughout whole country. Germany, itself, cannot be in immediate future a threat to security of its neighbors. As long as Germany is occupied, it will not be able to develop prerequisites of military power.
In view of new power configuration which has emerged as a result of the war, Germany in the foreseeable future will hardly be able to play an independent role in same sense in which it has in past. Germany will only play a significant role through alignment with other powers. Its internal constitution, as well as its external position, is likely to be determined by direction of its alignment.
At present Eastern Zone of Germany under Soviet occupation is being reshaped in a totalitarian pattern, both economically and [Page 72] politically, along lines similar to developments in Eastern European satellite countries. Economy of Eastern Germany is being reorientated to fit into Eastern European economic system developing under Soviet aegis. Accordingly, Western Powers have no alternative except to undertake to integrate both economy and political life of Western Germany with Western Europe. Unless Western Germany is effectively associated with Western European powers, through economic arrangements and, ultimately perhaps, through mutual political understanding, Western Germany too may be at some time in future drawn into Eastern orbit with all obvious consequences which such an eventuality would entail.
US Govt has by no means abandoned hope of eventual establishment of economic and political unity of Germany. It recognizes that division of Germany is not desirable and may not even be a tenable solution of Central European problems. It would seek to avoid all steps which might work to preclude establishment of German unity, but it has long since decided, in collaboration with Brit Govt, that desire for an undivided Germany cannot be made excuse for inaction in Western Germany, detrimental to recovery of Western Europe as a whole. This Govt is determined, however, not to permit reestablishment of German economic and political unity under conditions which are likely to bring about effective domination of all Germany by Soviets. It would regard such an eventuality as the greatest threat to security of all Western Nations, including US. We do not ignore residual possibility of an eventual overall agreement with Soviets regarding a peace settlement for all Germany which would be satisfactory to all parties concerned, but regard this possibility as remote at present.
In given situation, it is important to proceed at once with economic integration of Western Germany into economy of Western Europe. In accomplishment of this, Western Germany will, of course, not be given any priority over Western European countries, which have suffered so grievously at German hands. Rather, Western German economy should be rehabilitated, within framework of the program for general economic recovery of Europe, in such a way as would insure a maximum contribution of Western German economy to European recovery. Equitable economic arrrangements should enable conditions in Western Germany to improve along with economic progress of Western Europe generally.
Conception of a Western European Union as proposed by Mr. Bevin has a place for a Germany which has been reshaped politically along democratic lines. The necessary restrictions on German control of Ruhr which may result from an international agreement with respect [Page 73] to control of Ruhr resources would be much more acceptable to Germans if it embodies a contribution on their part to a larger Western European Union, to realization of which other Western European countries will also be making substantial contributions of one kind or another.
Solution of German problem, at least in so far as Western Germany is concerned, has a two-fold aspect:
economic and political reorientation of Germans, fostered by common policies of Western occupation powers; and
integration of Western Germany into Western European community.

A development along these lines is best guarantee of security.

Sent London as 597; Repeated to Paris as 550.

  1. This telegram was repeated to Paris as 550 with the following additional sentence: “Paris please use above as guidance for continued discussions with Schuman, Bidault and others on question of Allied policy toward Germany.”