The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Lovett )


Dear Bob : I take pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of your letter of November 231 enclosing a copy of the Department’s August 26, 1948, Policy Statement on Germany.2 It is noted that this Policy Statement is dated August 26 (according to the note on page 1, the Statement was prepared early in the summer of 1948), evidently representing the Department’s German policy as of that date. This is the first information which has reached this Mission regarding it.

I find the Statement an excellent outline of certain features of our German policy as I understand them.

There is however a basic consideration which I would like to advance at this stage. Over and above the expense which the United States taxpayer is now suffering for the maintenance of an Army of Occupation in Germany, the Congress is appropriating under the heading of GAROIA and ECA funds approximately one billion dollars annually for the support of the German economy. Possibly it is old-fashioned to assume that this amount of money is substantial but what I have to say is based on that assumption. The principal argument which could be advanced for the expenditure of this money is that it is required as support for the prosecution of our German and European policy. Our policy contemplates the development of a peaceful, democratic and self-sustaining Germany. I believe that, if left to its own devices, the United States would be able to achieve that objective. It has not, however, been able to coordinate this policy with its Allies. While the United States has gone forward during the past year in an honest endeavor to further German reconstruction and provide a substantial basis for democratic development, this effort has not been well synchronized with the policies of France and the UK, to a lesser extent with Benelux, and not at all with the Soviet Union. Having split completely with the Soviet Union on German policy, the United States is now struggling to harmonize its efforts in Western Germany [Page 1339] with the policies of France, the Benelux and the UK. I use the word “harmonization” as a polite expression because what actually happens is that US policy is subordinated both to French and UK policy. French policy, I think it can be said unequivocally, is based primarily on fear and apprehension of the Germans as potential aggressors and, to a lesser but still to an important degree, as commercial competitors. While the French for selfish reasons do not want Germany to be an economic morass they wish the Germans to remain in an unrealistic limbo which will keep them submerged both economically and militarily. UK policy, which has been paralleling US policy in many respects, more recently has taken another turn which is illustrated by the UK note of December 43 from which the following is quoted as apropos. “In their opinion neither the international situation nor the present political and economic position of Germany dispel the possibility of a resurgence of German Military Power at a future date, whilst the danger of German War Potential being put to effective use by an invading power has greatly increased.”

Of the Benelux countries the Dutch view of Germany is by far the most realistic and particularly during the past year the Dutch have been constructive and forward-looking. This applies to a lesser extent to Belgium and Luxembourg.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The point I am trying to make is that if the Carthaginian school of thought regarding Germany is to prevail, then the huge expenditure of funds which the United States is making in this area is thoroughly unjustified and is an abuse of the United States taxpayer. If our objective is not the reconstruction of German economy to enable the present density of population to maintain a minimum standard of living, then there is utterly no basis for our expenditure of funds for this purpose and the United States should withdraw the present subsidy.

Apart from this, I feel that there has been a further tactical error in our policy from the end of hostilities. I brought this matter up for discussion with Ambassador Douglas in London last February and I have also called it to the attention of the Secretary. We have never forced the issue regarding a general provision for security although a start was made in that connection with the proposal evolved during Secretary Byrnes’ administration concerning a quadripartite security board. In the absence of this provision at every step of the way progress has been impeded by French insistence on loading with the question of security every item, whether relating to the manufacture of aspirin or textiles, traffic on the Rhine, the Occupation Statute, western German [Page 1340] government, or the Ruhr Control Authority. In fact, every issue has had attached to it French fear and apprehension, regarding security and commercial interest. This approach is inconsistent with our basic policy of reconstructing a peaceful and self-sustaining Germany and if it is continued it is doomed to failure for which the United States will be blamed and for which again the United States taxpayer will foot an enormous bill. I have never believed in reparations as a security measure nor do I believe in the theory of prohibited and limited industries as a means of obtaining security. As an analogy, there were ample provisions in the Treaty of Versailles which would have prevented Germany after the first World War from becoming again an aggressor nation but in the absence of a determination by the Western Powers to take the necessary security action those clauses fell to the ground. Thus again, tearing down factories and formulating control provisions will not provide security unless there is a continuing determination to prevent aggressive moves by prompt measures of intervention. Dismantling of plants producing consumers’ goods will only succeed in delaying recovery and in defeating the underlying purposes of our European policy.

[The remainder of Ambassador Murphy’s letter is devoted to proposed detailed revisions of various paragraphs of the Department’s Policy Statement on Germany.]

Sincerely yours,

Robert Murphy
  1. Not printed.
  2. Ante, p. 1297.
  3. Ante, p. 838.