London Embassy files: Lot 58F47: Box 1394: 350 Germany

The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Voorhees) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Occupied Areas (Saltzman)


Dear Mr. Saltzman: The purpose of this letter is to set forth the considered position of the Army concerning the necessity for the settlement of certain principles of the Trizonal agreement for Western Germany concurrently with proposed negotiations concerning the Occupation Statute.

In a letter to you of 8 November 1948,1 we requested that steps be taken to negotiate the Trizonal agreement. Now, however, the program seems to be to settle the Occupation Statute in the coming meeting in London without simultaneously reaching an accord on any part of the Trizonal agreement. We believe that such a course would jeopardize the interests of the United States in its occupation objectives in Germany.

Laying aside for the moment all other reasons for this course, it is imperative in order to enable us to justify and secure the United States appropriations for imports of food and other supplies upon which our entire program in Germany depends. If agreement is [Page 7] reached on the Occupation Statute and it is communicated to the Germans, we are—subject of course to the Germans agreeing upon a satisfactory constitution—morally obligated to go ahead with the provisional German Government. Our course would then be practically an irreversible one since we could hardly block formation of a German government because of our inability at that time to reach agreement with the British and French concerning the division among the occupation authorities of the reserved powers. This condition would be an invitation to the French not to agree with us on a workable basis, as such failure would leave France with a veto on the exercise of the reserved powers by the occupying authorities on a Trizone-wide basis. This would be so because unanimity of each action would be requisite. Failing such unanimous action, each of the three powers would at most merely have the reserved authority in its own zone.

On either of the above bases, there would be no assurance whatever that the United States, although making the major contribution to Germany, could: (1) exercise necessary control of foreign trade and exchange; or (2) set up an adequate inspectorial and supervisory Tripartite organization operating throughout the Trizone to determine the true German food needs, see that steps are taken for the maximum production and the equitable distribution of German food, as well as the proper utilization of imported food paid for largely by the United States; or (3) that the occupying powers could proceed by a two-thirds vote in matters other than foreign trade and exchange.

We now have in the Bizonal area a Bipartite organization in food and agriculture with an American at the head, which does give needed supervision of the kind mentioned in (2) above. Without it, we could not justify continuing enormous American appropriations to send in food and other supplies, much more than one-half of which would be going into the British and French zones to be utilized without any assurance of effective supervision or even knowledge on our part. We would almost certainly be unable to secure the requisite appropriations under such conditions.

While most of the details of the Trizonal agreement can perhaps be negotiated separately by the Military Governors concurrently with consideration of the German constitution, the following minimum essentials would, we are convinced, have to be settled before agreement is reached on the Occupation Statute and before the virtually irrevocable step of communicating it to the Germans is taken:—

First, that, while the United States is making the major contribution for imports, it should—subject to paragraph third below—have the controlling voice in the agencies dealing with foreign trade and exchange.

[Page 8]

Second, that other reserved powers be exercised by majority vote of the three occupying powers, subject to paragraph third below.

Third, that the exercise of powers under the last two paragraphs be subject to the right of any of the Military Governors who considers that action so authorized would conflict with major policies of his government, to request that the matter be referred to the Governments for consideration; and that such appeal serve to suspend the action for not longer than thirty days, but not to prevent the action in case governmental agreement is not reached.

Fourth, that the three Military Governors, constituting a Tripartite Board, be supported by a staff or committee organization, the nature of which they would work out, which would function throughout the Trizonal area, so that each occupying power would not be functioning merely in its own zone.

Fifth, that the Trizonal agreement continue at least for that part of the period of the occupation during which the United States is, as compared with the other two occupying powers, making the major contribution for imports into Germany.

We are informed by General Clay that it was made clear both by the United States and by the United Kingdom in the London conference last summer that the majority rule, above mentioned in the second numbered paragraph, would govern, although this was not expressed in the terms of the document. There should, therefore, not be too great difficulty on this point if it is insisted upon at an appropriate time.

As to United States control over exports and imports, and foreign exchange, the British have already recognized this in the modified fusion agreement,2 and the French have acquiesced in it in the understanding reached last fall. This should not, therefore, present an insuperable difficulty.

As to the duration of the Trizonal agreement;—As soon as the German Government is set up, and we are relegated to the powers specifically reserved, we would, for the reasons above indicated, be protected in the effective exercise of such powers only by the clauses in the Trizonal agreement above discussed. It, therefore, follows that such agreement should remain in effect throughout the time that the United States is making the major contribution. For the Department of the Army to justify such appropriations, now estimated for fiscal year 1950 alone as $500,000,000, we feel that we must certainly offer at least this protection to the American people.

The Department of the Army, therefore, feels it to be obligatory, in order to discharge its occupation responsibilities in Germany, that [Page 9] this Government incorporate the above principles as part of the United States position for the London discussions, so that understandings with our two allies on these points be reached before we agree upon the Occupation Statute.

Sincerely yours,

Tracy S. Voorhees
  1. Not printed.
  2. Presumably a reference to the amendment to the Bizonal Fusion Agreement, December 17, 1947. For the text of this amendment, see Germany 1947–1949, pp. 454–460.