Policy Planning Staff Files: Lot 64 D 563: Box 20029: Germany
Report by the Policy Planning Staff1
Position To Be Taken by the U.S. at a CFM Meeting
To define the course of action to be taken by the United States at a possible meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in the near future to discuss the problem of Germany.
facts bearing on the problem
- The problem is: whether, in the event of a CFM meeting, to come forward with a positive program, making clear the terms on which we would be prepared to consider the establishment of a German government for all of Germany and the withdrawal of forces from the major part of German territory, along the lines of Program A (Tab A), or to rest on a basically negative position, leaving it open to the Russians and the others to come forward with proposals which we would answer, and presumably decline, on an ad hoc basis.
- In the main, the considerations pro and con, concerning the ad vantages and disadvantages to U.S. interests of a broad general settlement of the German question, are those set forth in the first part of PPS 37 (Tab B2). That paper, it will be recalled, addressed itself mainly to the question whether it would be acceptable to U.S. interests to have a settlement along the lines of Program A, if one could be achieved at this time, and answered that question, on balance, in the affirmative. It is, however, highly unlikely that agreement could be obtained to anything like Program A in less than a year, at the earliest. [Page 1321] The Staff is therefore inclined to feel that the question, whether such a program should now be advanced, should also be carefully weighed from the standpoint of its psychological and tactical effect, as a proposal not likely of immediate acceptance. The present paper is addressed to this point.
- Of the group of outside consultants called in to examine this program on September 15–16, all but two (Mr. Armstrong and Father Walsh) appeared to favor a course of action along the lines of Program A.3 The consensus among them certainly ran to such a conclusion. Most of them made it plain that they considered the advantage of our proposing such a program to lie primarily in the favorable position in which we would thereby be placed, from the standpoint of keeping negotiations open and the situation flexible from here on out. They emphasized the importance of our continuing to “keep talking”, and seemed to favor something in the nature of a permanent CFM discussion (principally among deputies), in which we would patiently discuss any and all phases of our program for as long as anyone wished to discuss them.
conclusions and discussions
In the event of an early meeting of the CFM, the Staff would favor the proposal by this Government of something along the lines of Program A, provided we can obtain in advance assurance of a wide enough degree of British and French acquiescence to maintain basic three-power unity.
The Staff’s reasons are:
- To put forward such a program gives us the initiative. If we do not make some such a proposal, our scope of action at a CFM meeting will apparently be limited to reacting to the proposals of others. It is better that we place on the board something to which others will be forced to react.
- To put forward such a program makes it impossible for others to portray our position as negative. It likewise offsets charges that we do not really want any settlement with Russia or that our policy is lacking in vision and imagination. It makes possible for us to state our objective and to keep it clearly before the public and the other members of the CFM.
- By putting a proposal of this sort on the table and evincing readiness to negotiate on it at any length, we keep the situation flexible, as between the Russians and ourselves, for an eventual softening of the Russian position. In this way, the mere proposal of such a program [Page 1322] and continuance of negotiations about it, however difficult and slow-moving these negotiations may be, helps to mitigate the congealment of the present division of Germany and Europe which will tend to take place as long as this division endures. It is possible, as many believe, that the continuance of a firm policy with regard to Berlin and the western German arrangements might, in the absence of our making any proposals along the lines of Program A, eventually disrupt the Russian position in eastern Germany so seriously as to bring the Russians to a point where they would be prepared to negotiate realistically for a German settlement. However, if no proposals along the lines of those embodied in Program A have been placed before the CFM, and there is only the sort of deadlock that exists today, the Russians might have no means of yielding without excessive loss of prestige, and the possibility of a settlement might have been lost by default. By putting forward these proposals we may help keep open the door for an eventual peaceful withdrawal of the Russians from central Europe. Unless that door is kept open, the Russians may not be able to withdraw even when they have come to the conclusion that it would be to their own interest to do so.
- There seems to be no alternative other than a completely negative position.
- The position which we took at former CFM meetings would no longer be realistic, in the light of the events of the past year. We cannot look to four-power collaboration in the government of Germany as a realistic solution when the four powers cannot even agree, after two months of the most strenuous inter-governmental negotiation, on the problem of currency for Berlin. Similarly, we cannot hope that the economic unification of Germany could be accomplished as long as the Soviet police have full control in the Soviet zone; for it has been amply demonstrated that the Russians do not trust their own powers, and cannot maintain their own position, without the most desperate measures of segregation of the population under their control and its isolation from western influences.
- Similarly, we cannot seriously limit ourselves to recommending, at CFM meetings, that the Russians bring their zone in on the present western German arrangements, thus extending the applicability of the London decisions to all Germany. In the first place, the London decisions would not be suitable for application to all Germany. They, too, envisage intimate collaboration of the occupying powers in the control of a German government, particularly in such important matters as foreign trade and foreign affairs, on which Russian views could scarcely ever be expected to be anything but in conflict with those of the three western powers. They also envisage a continuation of military occupation; we have just seen what this would mean. Secondly, [Page 1323] any such proposals would necessitate months of detailed and difficult preliminary negotiation with the French and British; for the London decisions represent a compact between the three powers, and any proposal for their extension to the remainder of Germany would have to be in all respects an agreed tripartite one. Finally, it would hardly be realistic to expect the Russians to adhere to a set of arrangements in the negotiation of which they themselves had had no part; for this would amount to a complete capitulation on their part. A proposal along these lines would therefore bear a “take it or leave it” character, and would not appear to U.S. and world opinion to have been a serious bid for an agreed settlement.
- In the light of these considerations, it is difficult to see what proposals of a positive nature we could place before the CFM other than ones along the lines of Program A. The alternative to proposing Program A would therefore appear to be the adoption of a negative position, consisting necessarily in the rejection of proposals advanced by others coupled with the necessity of evading demands for a clear statement of our own desiderata.
- Even though a CFM meeting would presumably not take place unless there had been a lifting of the blockade, it is idle to hope that after a possible unsuccessful outcome of the CFM discussions we would be able to carry on in Berlin as we were carrying on before the outbreak of the recent difficulties. It must be taken for granted that the Russians would continue to bend every effort to force us out of Berlin, whether by a re-imposition of the restrictions or otherwise. Certainly, our position there would never be a comfortable one; and we would be living constantly on the edge of an abyss in the form of the danger of further serious friction.
- Constituting as it would at least the offer of the set of arrangements which would resolve the Berlin deadlock by getting all Allied forces out of that city, the proposal of Program A would place us in a more favorable position to continue the struggle both in Berlin and in Germany as a whole. It is true that Program A is unlikely to be accepted at this juncture, and therefore unlikely to constitute in itself a solution of the Berlin difficulty at the present time. It does, however, provide one more channel of possible negoiation through which a solution can be sought and achieved if and when the Russians should wish to have such a solution. For this reason alone, it would seem that we would be remiss if we did not at least make the offer. Having made it, we would also be in a relatively favorable propaganda position vis-à-vis the Germans in Berlin and elsewhere. For if, in the long run, the hardships resulting from the blockade should begin to cause real distress and discontent among the German population of Berlin, we would be able to point out that we had proposed and urged an arrangement [Page 1324] under which all Allied forces would have left the city and its entire vicinity, and we would thereby be able to disclaim basic responsibility for the resulting difficulties.
PPS 37/1 was circulated within the Department of State to EUR and O and a copy was sent to Berlin for comments by Clay and Murphy. The responses of EUR and O were similar to those for Kennan’s August 12 memorandum (footnote 1, p. 1287).
Lovett pencilled his opinion of PPS 37/1 on a memorandum of December 1, not printed, which transmitted the comments of EUR and O to the Under Secretary. He wrote: “Mr. Kennan—I think this should be reconsidered in light of non-concurrences.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–148)
Murphy reported his own and Clay’s views on the paper in a letter to Beam of December 7, not printed. Murphy found the program for Germany “… a very worthwhile document and as blueprints go it should be valuable. The trouble with our good blueprints often seems to be that they get bloody noses bumping into Russian, French, and at times, British stone walls.” Murphy quoted Clay as follows: “An interesting study. I believe, though, our French friends, if they saw it, would immediately re-classify you and me as ‘les meilleurs amis’. I won’t put this in the hopper for study until we are asked for comment for fear of leakage.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–748)↩
- Tab B not printed here; for the text of PPS 37, see p. 1287.↩
- The reference here is to the Special Consultative Group on German Policy Questions. A full transcript of the Group’s discussions of the German question September 15–16 with members of the Department is in the Policy Planning Staff Files: Lot 64 D 563: Box 20029.↩
- This paper was circulated separately within the Department of State as FMP D–6/21a.↩
- The reference here is to a draft treaty presented by Secretary of State Byrnes, at the Paris Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, April 30, 1946. The text is printed in Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. ii, p. 190.↩
- The bracketed interpolations in this section appear in the source text.↩