740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–2549

Memorandum by the Secretary of the Army (Royall) to the Secretary of Defense (Forrestal)1

top secret

It seems to me clear that the present situation in Berlin2 cannot continue indefinitely without risk both of failure and of impairment of [Page 83] American prestige. I also believe that the present division of Germany and the maintenance there of large numbers of allied troops and larger numbers of Russian troops will in the months ahead impede German recovery and prolong the military and political tensions in Europe. It seems to me immensely important that the United States should at this time take the initiative in suggesting a specific long-range plan designed to meet these troublesome situations. General discussions with out a specific proposal would appear to be inadequate.
Several plans have been considered, including particularly the one comprehensively studied by Mr. Kennan of the State Department.3 While realizing that no one can be too dogmatic about any particular plan, it seems to me that some modification of, or substitute for, Mr. Kennan’s plan should be pressed to a decision at an early date. The following possible substitute might serve as a basis for specific discussion:

Immediately following the formation by the Western Powers of a new German Government for Western Germany,4 the United States shall propose that there be held in Germany a nation-wide election under the supervision of the United Nations (or of selected neutrals) for the purpose of extending the Western German Government to all of Germany and of including Russia as an occupying power under the Western occupation statute.

The announced plan shall also provide that, immediately upon this all-German government being formed, all occupation troops and civilians would be withdrawn from Germany except for a small force (e.g. 25,000) of each occupying power for use in administration and enforcement of the occupation statute. The reduction of Western troops in Germany would not preclude European troop dispositions elsewhere if required by an Atlantic Pact.

The powers of the occupying authorities would be clearly delineated by a German-wide occupation statute. The occupation zones would remain unchanged, but there would be free communications and transportation throughout Germany.

Any such proposal should first be made to the British and the French for the purpose of obtaining an agreed joint proposal to the Russians. If the British and French do not join in an agreed proposal, then a unilateral proposal would be made by the United States to Russia as well as to England and France. If the proposal is declined, we should consider making it through the United Nations.
If the proposal were accepted, it would automatically solve the Berlin situation and would also relieve some of the tension throughout Germany. If the Russians refused to join in the proposed plan—and this might well happen—our offer would still improve our moral position in the eyes of the world. While the Russians might prolong [Page 84] discussions as to the form of German government, etc., such action would at least have the advantage of getting the two nations back to the discussion stage; and even the consequent delay would be no worse than the present stalemate.
If the proposal was rejected, it might give us a better opportunity (if we desired) to leave Berlin with some degree of “face”, on the ground that an all-German government had become impossible and, therefore, Berlin was without further significance.
I believe that the proposal, even if not accepted, might well have a valuable psychological effect upon the Germans. Faced with danger of a loss of our protection and assistance, they might show more cooperation—without us having continually to ask for such cooperation.
Similarly, the mere proposal might tend to change the attitude of the French and perhaps the British, both of whom today we are continually asking to take action or to refrain from action.
The mere making of the proposal might serve to offset (although belatedly) the criticism of our government which will probably result from a failure of Berlin currency negotiations in Geneva.
A proposal such as that in paragraph two might be considered by the National Security Council. However, I suggest that, in the first instance, it be discussed between you, Acheson, Souers and myself and then possibly with the President.5

Kenneth C. Royall
  1. The source text, sent as an enclosure to a memorandum from Secretary Royall to Secretary Acheson, January 25, not printed, was handed to Acheson after a meeting in Royall’s office on January 26, at which representatives of the Departments of State and the Army discussed the creation of a special interdepartmental committee to consider the German question. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–2549) A memorandum of the discussion in Royall’s office, not printed, is in file 740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–2649.
  2. For documentation relating to the Berlin Crisis, see pp. 643 ff.
  3. For the text of “A Program for Germany,” prepared November 12, 1948, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, p. 1325.
  4. For documentation relating to the establishment of the West German Government, see pp. 187 ff.
  5. Also attached to the source text was a memorandum from Kennan to Acheson, January 27, not printed, in which the Director of the Policy Planning Staff expressed his view that Royall’s basic thought of a modus Vivendi for Germany deserved careful and sympathetic study. Kennan, however, felt that the idea of asking the Soviet Union to accept the West German arrangements, the idea of four-power collaboration, the idea of free communication and transportation throughout Germany with continued occupation, and the proposal to leave a small force to administer and enforce the occupation statute, were unrealistic in view of the work done by the German planning group in the fall of 1948. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–2549)