740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–849: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State


492. From Holmes. During course Occupation Statute meeting,1 I stated, in reply French inquiry, that my government had given careful consideration to Bevin’s compromise proposal regarding composition High Court (Embtel 354 January 29 repeated Berlin 682). Views of all competent authorities had been obtained including those Murphy and Clay. It was considered opinion of all that court would lose great usefulness from psychological standpoint if it did not include full German representation and would also place in jeopardy our objective of encouraging Germans to assume responsibilities. I reviewed at length arguments in favor German justice and concluded by stating that the minimum which I thought my government would accept would be nine-man court proposal mentioned Embtel 464 February 7, repeated Berlin 89.3

UK Delegation supported my position pointing out that British favored full German participation in court as indicated in their original proposal. He also asserted that if Occupation Statute read carefully French would see that court will rarely sit in view of provisions enabling Military Governors themselves to decide extent to which exercise of reserved powers is necessary. UK Delegation stated that by agreeing to German representation on court, French would in effect make friendly gesture to Germans which would cost them nothing and emphasized desirability doing this quickly as possible.

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French Delegation appeared somewhat shaken by our combined attack and after mentioning that French objection was one of principle rather than fears regarding ability German judge to influence decisions, said that he was unable to accept my proposal but would seek new instructions.

Sent Department; repeated Berlin 95.

  1. The minutes of the ninth meeting on the occupation statute were transmitted in despatch 314, February 24, from London, not printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–2449).
  2. Ante, p. 22.
  3. Not printed; in it Holmes had reported on a conversation with Kirkpatrick about the composition of the High Court, in which various possibilities had been considered. Holmes had repeated that the United States still strongly favored having a German judge while Kirkpatrick indicated British preference for a German member but would agree to a neutral court if the French were adamant. After reporting on the conversation Holmes said he would propose a nine-member court, including one German, but if no progress was made on his proposal, he would revert to the three-member neutral court. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–749)