862.00/10–949: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany ( McCloy ) to the Acting Secretary of State


15. Following is proposal of UK High Commissioner to be discussed at meeting 1100 hours October 10 of three High Commissioners at Frankfort. This is strictly raw.

“The High Commissioners have reviewed the political status of the city of Berlin in the light of

The desire of the people of Berlin for incorporation within the German Federal Republic.
The dependence of Berlin on the German Federal Republic for assistance.
The establishment of a so-called government in the Eastern zone of Germany with its seat in Berlin.

2. According to article 23 of the basic law, Greater Berlin is a Land within the German Federal Republic. The application of this article to Greater Berlin has been suspended by the occupying powers when they gave their approval to the basic law. The High Commissioners today see no objection in principle to the withdrawal of this suspension but they observe that certain practical considerations make it impossible for Greater Berlin to be treated as having the same position in the German Federal Republic as any other Land. Not only is Greater Berlin divided so that one part of the city is deprived of the opportunity to join the German Federal Republic or even to enjoy normal democratic rights, but also the whole city is geographically isolated from the other Laender which at present, form part of the German Federal Republic. The economy of the city presents problems which are quite special and distinct from those concerning the economy of the Western zone of Germany. The financial position in the city is also special and is affected by the fact that the city is surrounded by a different currency area. Finally the internal affairs of Berlin are so involved with major questions of international relations that the occupying power must have a greater voice in them than they do in other Laender of the federation where their vital interests and those of the other Western nations are less directly engaged. For these reasons, if Berlin were given the same status in the German Federal Republic as any other Land it would be found that Federal Legislation and the acts of the Federal Government could not in the majority of instances be made effective in Berlin.

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3. The High Commissioners accordingly put forward the following recommendations:

Berlin shall be recognized as being included in the German Federal Republic with the status of a Land in accordance with article 23 of the basic law, but subject to the following stipulations:
The city government of Berlin shall enjoy the powers accorded to a Land government under the basic law. In the field of concurrent legislation the city government shall retain all competence and the federal government shall not exercise the competence afforded to it under article 72 (11) and article 105 (11) in respect to Berlin. Federal legislation in this field may, however, be adopted for application in Berlin by legislative action in the city council subject to the rights of the Allied Kommandatura under (d) below.
The Federal Government may arrange with the Berlin city government such measures as may be necessary to ensure that requests for its assistance are properly substantiated and that the assistance which it provides is properly used. This might be done by the establishment by the Federal Government of an economic mission in Berlin with defined powers agreed to by the city government.
The relationship between the occupying powers and the Berlin city authorities will continue to be governed by the statement of principles issued in May 1949.1
Berlin shall be given full membership in the Bundesrat.
In view of (b) above, Berlin shall continue for the present to be represented in the Bundestag by observers without voting rights.
Allied organization in Berlin, should be reviewed to ensure that in title and character it is appropriate to the new arrangements.
The High Commissioners having received the approval of their governments to the above proposals in principle will wish to discuss them in detail with the Federal Government and the responsible German authorities in Berlin and might wish to make some amendments of detail but not of principle as a result of this consultation.”

Sent Department 15, repeated Frankfort 19, Berlin 5, London 6, Paris 5. Frankfort pass Berlin, London, Paris, Niact. Department, Paris, Berlin, London please notify Bonn time of receipt and repeat to Bonn for information any replies to this cable.

  1. For the text of the Berlin Occupation Statute of May 14, 1949, see Germany 1947–1949, pp. 324–326.