Policy Planning Staff Files: Lot 64D563: Box 20029: Germany CFM

Memorandum by Mr. Ware Adams of the Policy Planning Staff to the United States Ambassador at Large (Jessup)


Pursuant to your memorandum of April 12, 1949,1 Mr. Kennan held a meeting today with Ambassador Murphy, Mr. Hickerson, Mr. Beam and myself to discuss the clearance of “Program A”.2 Mr. Kennan offered the attached memorandum for consideration. The others said they would study the memorandum together with “Program A” and express themselves promptly.

The discussion then turned to other related matters on which there appeared to be general agreement as follows:

Any new meeting should in general be held within the existing framework of the CFM, and not in the form of a special meeting of the heads of state or other forum. There is some advantage in holding such meetings at a quiet place such as Geneva or Annecy, although the natural course will probably prevail of holding the next session in the capital, or at least the country, of the member next in line of rotation. For the meeting to accomplish anything, it would probably be desirable to have the delegation smaller and less unwieldy than hitherto, and to revert to the original practice of closed sessions to be held confidential while they are in progress, except for agreed communiqués, rather than continue the recent practice of each member informing the press of the entire proceedings at the end of each meeting.

It was considered that a proposal to alleviate the pressure of the displaced population of ten million or so now in Western Germany by restoring to Germany some or all of the German territory now under Polish administration, and possibly also Koenigsberg, for which Poland might be compensated with territory taken from it by the U.S.S.R., would put considerable pressure on the Soviet Union. It [Page 857] would be desirable to make such a proposal if we find the Russians using the meeting merely as a propaganda opportunity, but that we should refrain from doing so in the opening stages in order to avoid disturbing the atmosphere if the Russians do in fact manifest a genuine desire to reach a settlement.

In spite of particular deviations on all sides from the Potsdam Agreement,3 we consider it undesirable to denounce that agreement or to take the position that the agreement as a whole is no longer legally binding, since to do so would leave the Soviet Union in the position of full and sole sovereignty in Eastern Germany.

It was noted that in the last CFM meetings4 the United States took the position that economic unification of Germany should be achieved by direct quadripartite military government prior to the establishment-of any German government, but that this would no longer be a satisfactory alternative to “Program A” in any new meeting since we have now found by bitter experience that direct quadripartite operations of this complexity are impossible, and economic unification could only be achieved through the medium of a German government which itself must therefore first come into being.

Any new four-power arrangement concerning Germany should not depend for its workability upon future agreements among the Four Powers. Instead, the security and demilitarization arrangements, should be in the form of flat prohibitions upon the Germans, subject to four-power inspection; and in other matters concerning the governing of Germany the Four Powers should have the power to take any action which they might wish to take by unanimous agreement, while in the absence of such unanimous agreement, the German authorities should be free to act on their own initiative. We should not rely upon future unanimous agreement to resolve action in “reserved matters” even to the extent we might hope to do so on a three-power basis in Western Germany. Action in the presently broad reserved fields in Western Germany is feasible even on a tripartite basis largely because of the predominant voice exercised by one of the three in financial matters. Even in Western Germany this arrangement will presumably be altered when the ECA takes over economic operations in Germany.

It was considered desirable that the Bonn basic law5 serve as the pattern for any provisional constitution for Germany as a whole.

It was considered that the present Military Security Board arrangements would need to be modified in any four-power arrangement, [Page 858] toward relying more upon quadripartite inspection and information, and less upon operating decisions or direct action to interfere in economic matters.

On the question of “agenda” for any new CFM, Mr. Kennan expressed the view that we should avoid having before the meeting an agreed list, as in the past, of particular items, such as “reparations”, “economic unification”, etc., to be discussed seriatim in an order which would need to be agreed beforehand. Instead, he thought the next meeting should be one at which each of the Four Powers would have an opportunity to make any proposals or express any views that it wished on the subject of Germany. For our own part, he thought our proposal should be a “single package” containing the various elements of our proposal, since these elements would all be interrelated and interdependent in such a way that it would be impossible to discuss any single one of them until we had outlined the concept as a whole into which they were designed to fit. There would thus be no discussion or argument about anyone’s proposal, or elements of it, until all four members had received the over-all proposals or views of each one of the four. This would enable each member to put forth a rounded-out concept without becoming side-tracked in argument over detail. It would also offer an opportunity for the Council to see whether or not each of the members was approaching the meeting in a sincere effort to achieve results or not. After this initial exchange of views the meeting might then wish to establish some order or agenda for continuing its discussions. But until then the “agenda” for the meeting would consist merely of a single comprehensive item such as “the problem of Germany”.


Memorandum by the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Kennan)


Position of the United States at Any Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on Germany That May Occur

On November 12, 1948, the Department completed and submitted to the Secretary a document known as “Program A” as the recommended ideal position of the United States for discussion with the British and French in preparation for any eventual meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss Germany. There was disagreement in the Department on the prior question whether or not it would be desirable to have such a meeting or to put forward any program at all concerning all four zones of Germany at that time. Subject to this overall decision, there was unanimous agreement among; all the working levels of the Department that if such a meeting did [Page 859] occur the ideal position for the United States would be one identical with, or substantially similar to, “Program A”.

If a meeting of the CFM does occur, the Ministers or their principal representatives will no doubt wish themselves to discuss only the basic principles and leave the discussion of detail to subsequent drafting meetings of deputies.

The basic principles of “Program A” are set forth in the section thereof entitled “Outline of the Program” of which a copy is appended hereto for reference.6 These principles are practically identical with those now being implemented in Western Germany under the London program.7 It is recommended that they be discussed with the British and French with a view to proposing them at any new meeting of the CFM that may eventuate.

If such a meeting does eventuate it is recommended that the rest of “Program A”, consisting of the detailed implementing provisions, before being formally presented, be subject to final review in the light of circumstances as they may then have developed, and that it meanwhile be taken by the American negotiators for background guidance as the most desirable detailed implementation of the basic principles; mentioned above and appended hereto, subject to such changes as may become desirable in the light of new developments or of the negotiations as they proceed.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Under reference here is a paper prepared by the Policy Planning Staff in November, 1948, on the United States policy toward Germany and subsequently called “Program A”. The text of “Program A” and related documentation are printed in Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, chapter iii .
  3. For the text 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. 14781498.
  4. Documentation relating to the Fifth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London, November 25–December 15, 1947, is in Foreign Relations, 1947, volume ii .
  5. For documentation on the drafting of a Basic Law for the Western zones of Germany by the Bonn Parliamentary Council, see pp. 187 ff.
  6. Not printed; the “Outline of the Program” is printed as a preface to “Program A” in Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, p. 1325.
  7. Under reference here is the program evolved by the London Six-Power Conference regarding Western Germany which met February 23–March 6 and April 20–June 7, 1948. Documentation relating to this conference, including the text of the London Agreements, is printed ibid., chapter i .