862.014/4–849: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

us urgent

1246. Fol is draft text US reply to Sov Note of protest re Ger Western frontier adjustments. Text was shown Dean and Steel who concurred, but they desire FonOff also agree to substance. Intention is to send separate Notes, coordinated in substance. Fr have indicated no objection to substance Note, but for their part intend brief reply pointing out provisional character of changes and slight extent area involved. Unless you inform us of FonOff objections, we will deliver Note early next week.

“The Sov Govt maintains that the provisional rectifications of West Ger frontier are illegal, being contrary to ‘Declaration Regarding Defeat of Germany’ of June 5, 1945. The US desires to call attention of Sov Govt to clear intent of this Declaration, which was to establish supreme Allied authority in Ger in lieu of central Ger Govt and, to that end, to delimit area to be occupied and controlled. Such delimitation was obviously to be made by the four powers acting conjointly through Allied Control Authority for Ger which was established by separate agreement on June 5, 1945. The operations of Allied Control [Page 446] Authority were arbitrarily interrupted by Sov action on Mar 20, 1948 and since that date further implementation of Declaration of June 5, 1945 has of necessity and due to unilateral Sov action resided with the occupying powers in their respective areas of responsibility. The three Western powers, in making new administrative arrangements for certain frontier areas in Western Ger, have been obliged to adopt certain common decisions in the absence of functioning quadripartite org.

US, since 1945, has consistently sought to bring whole matter of Ger’s frontiers under review with purpose achieving permanent settlement at earliest possible date in interest Eur polit and econ stability. At London, Jan 14 to Feb 25, 1947, Deputies of CFM heard views of Allied states with territorial claims against Ger.1 At Moscow, on Apr 9, 1947, the Sec State proposed at mtg CFM that special boundary comm be created to make recommendations concerning Pol–Ger frontier, and also approved further study of other territorial claims against Ger. Mr. Molotov objected to comm to examine Pol–Ger frontier on ground, quite inconsistent with Potsdam Agreement, that final decision had been reached on this boundary.2 Again at London mtg of CFM, Sec State Marshall, proposed on Nov 27 creation of boundary comms to study all Ger frontier questions under direction of the Deputies and to make recommendations. In this proposal Brit and Fr delegates concurred but it was rejected by Sov rep on ground that such action was premature prior to decision upon procedure for drafting peace treaty. He also reiterated view that Pol–Ger frontier was closed issue and not subject to further exam. Furthermore Sov insistence upon procedure for preparing a peace treaty for Ger which wld have virtually excluded effective participation of majority of nations which shared in common struggle against Ger has to date precluded possibility of general settlement.3

US, together with Brit and Fr, did not consider that exam of certain minor territorial adjustments to correct frontier anomalies proposed by Ger’s Western neighbors cld be longer deferred in view of indefinite postponement of general peace treaty made inevitable by consistent record of Sov obstruction, unilateralism in Eastern Ger, and violation of solemn internatl covenants designed to achieve agreed settlement of Ger problems. The US has, therefore, in concert with govts of Brit, Fr, Blg, Neth, and Lux, agreed to certain provisional rectifications in Western Ger frontier, as announced in communiqué of Mar 26, 1949.4 These changes will involve relatively insignificant areas totalling only 52 sq. mi. and a population of 13,500, and were authorized solely to eliminate frontier anomalies, improve communications and facilitate admin. They have been undertaken at this time after careful study and with purpose of stabilizing polit and econ conditions along Ger’s Western frontier pending a permanent boundary settlement. These transfers do not represent annexations but provisional administrative arrangements subject to review by general [Page 447] peace conference. They provide for full protection of civil and econ rights of residents of areas affected.

US views Sov objections to Western territorial changes with surprise when it considers Sov attitude and action concerning those parts of Ger east of Oder–Neisse line which were placed under provisional Pol and Sov admin by the Potsdam Agreement.5 These territories constitute an area of approximately 40,000 sq. mi., (more than 800 times greater than territories affected in the West) with a pre-war population of nearly 10,000,000. Yet these territories have been unilaterally treated as areas permanently ceded and have been arbitrarily incorporated into the Pol and Sov states. Moreover Ger population of these areas has, for greater part, been expelled without consideration for their civil, econ or human rights and contrary to the Potsdam requirement that such transfers ‘shld be effected in orderly and humane manner.’ All this has been done with the acquiescence of Sov Govt.

US did not at Potsdam approve annexation of Ger areas east of Oder–Neisse to Poland. On the contrary it was specifically agreed by the US, Brit and USSR ‘that final delimitation of Western frontier of Pol shld await peace settlement.’ This position was reaffirmed by Sec State Marshall both at Moscow and at London. US wishes to make clear its position that all changes effected in the Ger frontiers to date, both in East and in West, are provisional and subject to review by Allied powers at general peace settlement.”6

  1. For documentation on the meetings at London of the Deputies for Germany of the Council of Foreign Ministers, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. ii, pp. 1 ff.
  2. For documentation on the meetings at Moscow of the Fourth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, see ibid., pp, 139 ff.
  3. For documentation on the meetings at London of the Fifth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, see ibid., pp. 676 ff.
  4. Not printed, but see the Protocol adopted at Paris, March 22, p. 437, and footnote 5 to that document.
  5. For the relevant section of the Protocol of the Proceedings of the Berlin Conference, August 1, 1945, see Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, pp. 1490 ff.
  6. In telegram 1453, April 11, from London, not printed, Holmes reported that the Foreign Office fully approved the note subject to certain slight changes in wording, but the Foreign Office believed that it might be preferable to delay sending the note until it was definitely established that the Dutch and Belgians accepted the boundary changes. The British reply when sent, however, would be similar in substance to the proposed United States text. (862.014/4–1149)