740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–1449

The Secretary of Defense (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: The agencies of the National Military Establishment, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Military Governor of the U.S. Zone of Germany, have reviewed the tentative outline “Program for Germany” prepared in the State Department and transmitted to me by letter from the Under Secretary of State dated 4 May 1949.1

The comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are attached.2 Cables CC 8508, WAR 88256 and CC 85191 containing the comments of the Military Governor of the U.S. Occupied Zone of Germany were transmitted, [Page 876] as they were received, to the Acting Director of the Office of German and Austrian Affairs of the State Department.

I summarize the position of the National Military Establishment on the general subject covered by the “Program for Germany” as follows:

The strategic advantages accruing to Western Europe from any Soviet redeployment might be more illusory than real. In case of hostilities, Soviet preparations therefor conducted within their own borders, or even in Poland, would be more difficult to detect than similar preparations made in the Soviet Zone. In the former case, the United States would probably have less warning of the impending attack. The shorter warning period would offset in large measure the few additional days required by the Soviets to cover the intervening distance in their advance.
The military forces of Britain and the United States cannot contribute to the security of Western Europe if they are located in Bremen and Hamburg but instead should be located on the axis of a probable Russian attack and in the vicinity of the Rhine River.
Security for the Western Germans from fear of Russian aggression, either by military invasion, individual acts of terrorism, agitation, or threats is essential to the continued development of Germany as a democratic nation. This security has in the past been adequately provided by the presence of troops of the Western Allies in their zones of occupation. The withdrawal of troops of the Western Allies to enclaves along the Rhine will weaken this feeling of security in the Germans. Withdrawal of the British and U.S. troops to enclaves at Hamburg and Bremen would probably destroy it. It does not appear that this is a propitious time for relocation of forces. Acceptable conditions may be created later which would permit relocation to the enclaves along the Rhine. The principal one of these conditions is the creation of a German police force that will have proved effective before the relocation is Carried out. The impossibility of estimating at this time when the German police force will become effective makes it undesirable to attempt to reach an agreement on the relocation of forces in enclaves at this time.
No sound agreement can be reached which does not include provision for Germany to belong to OEEC and to be included in the ERP program. Germany is not yet independent economically, and withdrawal of our aid would result in an immediate economic slump. This might destroy the new democratic government. The Western German leaders are looking forward to participation in OEEC. Such participation is a logical step in drawing Germany into closer relationship with Western European nations. If ERP aid is not available, Germany will lack funds to procure food and will have to turn to the East to get this food under conditions which will enable the East to control prices and to secure export from Germany of manufactured products, large numbers of which will be the type that we are now withholding from the East.

Sincerely yours,

Louis Johnson
  1. Not printed.
  2. The comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not attached to the source text and have not been found elsewhere in Department of State files.
  3. Not printed.