Editorial Note

The Economic Cooperation Act of 1948 charged the Administrator for Economic Cooperation “to request the Secretary of State to obtain the agreement of those countries concerned that such capital equipment as is scheduled for removal as reparations from the three Western Zones of Germany be retained in Germany if such retention will most effectively serve the purposes of the European recovery program” (Public Law 472, 80th Cong., 2d sess., Title I, sec. 115 (f), 62 Stat. 137). To study the matter and make suitable recommendations the Administrator, Paul G. Hoffman, appointed the Industrial Advisory Committee, which is usually known as the Humphrey Committee, for its chairman, George M. Humphrey. For previous documentation on the Committee’s activities, including discussions with British and French representatives at London in December 1948, see Foreign Relations, 1948, Volume II, pages 792 ff.

In late December 1948 and early January 1949, the British and French Embassies in Washington expressed to the Department of State the disappointment of their Governments that the Humphrey Committee had envisaged the problem of reparations deliveries only from a narrowly economic point of view, without regard to political considerations or the requirements of security for Western Europe. In their view, the proposed retention of 167 plants would materially increase the war potential of a united Germany or of a Germany occupied by a hostile power. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–3148; 740.00119 EW/1–349, 1–449)

The Humphrey Committee on January 12 presented to Mr. Hoffman its Report on Plants Scheduled for Removal as Reparations From the Three Western Zones of Germany, and on January 14 a copy was transmitted to Acting Secretary of State Lovett. The text was released to the press on April 14, and there is a copy in CFM files: lot M–88: Box 180.

The Military Governors of the three Western Zones, having found themselves unable to reconcile their differences on the related question [Page 547] of proposed prohibitions or restrictions on industries in Germany, decided at their meeting in Frankfurt on January 15 to refer this matter back to their respective Governments, which subsequently agreed to continue the negotiations in London.