740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–2849

Memorandum by Mr. Geoffrey W. Lewis of the Office of Occupied Areas 1

top secret

Subject: Meeting of Policy Committee on Germany January 28, 1949.

At the meeting this morning George Kennan told us of an earlier NSC meeting today in the White House at which were present Messrs. Acheson, Forrestal, Royall, Hoffman, Harriman, Bissell, Ohly, Kennan, Voorhees and Souers.2

Mr. Royall opened by stating that the British and French were wrecking our plans for Germany by their foot dragging tactics. Their method was to get to a certain point in piecemeal negotiations on various subjects at the Military Governors level and then raise the matter at a governmental level, thereby often gaining concessions on a piecemeal basis. He said that the US Government must reach an agreement as a whole with respect to Germany using all forms of pressure open to us, e.g., withholding ECA aid, refusal to come into the Atlantic Pact, refusal to approve the Ruhr Agreement, etc. General Clay reports that as a result of the British and French tactics the US is losing ground in Germany. There is urgent need for a US policy paper to be worked out through the NSC and approved by the President. In this paper we should examine such questions as whether or not we should threaten withdrawal of all aid to the European countries who are opposing our plans in Germany, and as to whether we should threaten to withdraw entirely from the occupation of Germany. There should be an early meeting with the British and French to decide the following questions: Occupation Statute; Trizonal Fusion; German Constitution; Prohibited and Restricted Industries; Reparations; Long-Range Economic Program for Germany; Berlin Currency Situation; [Page 88] and Ruhr Control Plan. At this meeting we should not hesitate to use all forms of pressure open to us.

Mr. Harriman then said that some time ago he had telegraphed the Department saying he thought the US was asking the impossible of France in requiring individual concessions from her on all the various matters concerning Germany which have come up.

Mr. Acheson agreed with Mr. Harriman and went on to say that he thought it was quite out of the question for us to deal with the French and the British until we can tell them what our long-range policy with respect to Germany will be.

Admiral Souers then proposed the following procedure for handling the question through NSC:

There should be a sub-committee of the NSC set up consisting of the Secretaries of Defense, Army and State and the ECA Administrator with the Secretary of State in the Chair.
Under this sub-committee should be organized a steering group of representatives of the above men and it was agreed at the meeting that the members would be Messrs. Kennan, Ohly, Voorhees and Bissell with Mr. Kennan in the Chair.
The steering group would immediately undertake to work up a statement of our policy, the first draft to be prepared by State within two weeks.
Any member of the sub-committee who wishes to have other urgent problems considered by the committee and the steering group can submit a paper making a request to that effect. The subject would be taken up if the sub-committee so decides.

The above procedure was agreed to at the meeting. The Army then said they would wish to bring up the individual questions they had listed above. Mr. Acheson said he thought these questions would have to come up in their proper context and Mr. Kennan made the point very clearly, to which all agreed, that day to day operations would continue and would not be interrupted or held up by the deliberations of the sub-committee of NSC.

Mr. Royall then brought up the question of the US representative on the Ruhr Authority. Mr. Acheson listened to what Mr. Royall had to say but said nothing.

After Mr. Kennan had reported the above there followed a general discussion in his committee as to how we would proceed with the job of formulating a policy paper. In analyzing the reasons for our failure thus far to reach real agreement concerning Germany with the British and the French Mr. Kennan gave as two main reasons: our lack of a long-range policy and the fact that much of the negotiations on these matters had been carried on by Army and Military Government personnel who tended to take too rigid positions, thus failing to make use of the accepted give and take of diplomatic negotiations.

[Page 89]

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday at 11:00 A.M.

Mr. Kennan also mentioned that Mr. Draper who is now Acting Secretary of the Army wants urgently to see him (Kennan) this afternoon to talk about the Baden Works Council Law and the question of the US representative on the Ruhr. Mr. Kennan has Mr. Wilds’ file on the Ruhr question and will be briefed by Beam on the Works Council question. However, he intends to state flatly to Mr. Draper that he cannot become involved in these individual questions by virtue of his Chairmanship of the new steering group and that these matters will simply have to be handled between the two Departments in the ordinary channels.3

  1. The memorandum was addressed to Saltzman and Wilds.
  2. No other record of this meeting has been found in the Department of State files.
  3. At the meeting with Draper on January 29, Kennan stated that the problems of a United States representative on the Ruhr Authority and the Works Council Law should be taken up through the usual channels. (Memorandum by Kennan, January 29, not printed, 740.00119 Control (Germany) 1–2949)