740.00119 Council/5–1749: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State

top secret

2017. For Secretary and Murphy from Jessup. Three delegations today considered and revised papers prepared by drafting committee on: (1) tripartite attitude towards possible Soviet proposals at CFM; [Page 882] (2) political conditions for German unification; and (3) procedures for accession of Eastern zone Laender to Bonn constitution.1

Under (1) consideration was given to proposals reiterating conclusions of Warsaw declaration, to proposal for new all-German constituent assembly, to proposal for new all-German plebiscite on unification, and to proposal which by imposing checks on German freedom of action in international affairs might prevent united Germany from joining Council of Europe or from concluding bilateral ECA agreement with us.

Three delegations agreed that all of these proposals must be rejected and drew up arguments on which rejection might be based.

On point (2) above all delegations agreed that it is to interest of three powers that Germany be unified provided it can be done on truly democratic basis and without prejudice to progress already achieved but that certain prerequisite political and economic conditions must be laid down. Among essential political conditions are following: (1) Freedom of person, including freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of association, freedom of speech and press; (2) freedom of all political parties wherever established, excluding parties with Nazi ideology, to operate in all zones;

(3) freedom of elections through universal, equal and direct suffrage and by secret ballot, para-political organizations to have no right of representation, a single list to be forbidden and elections to be carried out under adequate supervision (whether supervision should be quadripartite or international left open for further discussion); (4) Volkspolizei in Eastern zone to be abolished.

It was agreed that an essential condition to any acceptable proposal for united Germany was that Western German Government should be formed and should continue to function independently of any procedures established for accession of Eastern zone Laender and that before being adopted any such procedures should be discussed with appropriate Western German authorities. It was recognized that one possible procedure would involve accession to Bonn constitution by Eastern Laender under machinery provided in constitution to be followed by federal and Land elections in all four zones. It was agreed that a preferable procedure, in order to avoid the accession of Eastern Laender still under Communist domination, would be fresh Landtage elections in all four zones to be followed by ratification of constitution for united Germany by newly elected Landtage. (West German Government [Page 883] would, of course, continue in operation until constitution for united Germany ratified through above procedures.)

This morning’s session also considered economic conditions for German unification and agreed that following were essential prerequisites: (1) termination of reparations; (2) relinquishment of Soviet held companies in Eastern zone; (3) four power agreement on occupation costs. It was felt there might be an accord in principle on monetary and trade unity but that German Government could be left to work out details. Other problems discussed were treatment of prohibited or restricted industries in Eastern zone and relinquishment of claims against Germany but it was left open whether or not these points were essential prerequisite to German unification.

On Ruhr it was agreed that we would not scrap existing Ruhr agreement nor would we accept Polish and Czech participation. British and US felt it might be possible to accept Soviet participation on Ruhr authority if this point should prove to be only obstacle to full agreement on German unification but that it should not be accepted under any other conditions. French expressed anxiety at Soviet participation but did not commit themselves.

It was agreed that any Soviet proposal for total evacuation of troops must be rejected. As to possible regroupment of troops we indicated there would be some advantage in regroupment which, without jeopardizing strategic necessity of maintaining screen across West Germany, might induce Soviets to withdraw their forces to restricted garrison areas. Both British and French seemed reluctant to accept any sort of regrouping at this time, though British indicated their chiefs of staff might consider some regrouping which would maintain their forces in strategic areas in center of their zone but outside of large centers of population. They quoted Bevin as holding that no withdrawal or regrouping should take place until satisfactory German Government exists capable of maintaining public order. They suggested first reply to Soviet proposal might be request that they reduce their forces approximately-to level of those maintained in Germany by each Western power. French stressed this is vital question for them from point of view both of security against Russia and security against Germany. We emphasized that any regroupment which might take place would not be immediate and would be geared to formation of adequate German security forces. This subject will be discussed again tomorrow.

It was agreed that tomorrow’s meeting will deal with: (1) quadripartite occupation statute; (2) military security board; (3) frontiers; (4) Austria; (5) modus vivendi. It was recognized that latter point will require extensive discussion in view of probability that Foreign [Page 884] Ministers will be unable to reach agreement on German unification and that acceptable modus vivendi will therefore be main point of latter stages of conference.

It was agreed that, after the delegations had reached agreement on recommendations to Foreign Ministers on points of substance listed above, the final session would be devoted to recommendations concerning tactics as to timing and form in which our proposals might be made and Soviet proposals dealt with. Order in which questions so far considered in preliminary conversations does not necessarily indicate our recommendations in regard to timing and tactics at CFM.2

Sent Department 2017, repeated London 304 for Ambassador and Holmes Eyes Only, Berlin 176 for Riddleberger Eyes Only.

  1. The texts of the papers prepared by the drafting committee were not found in Department of State files. Presumably the revised papers are the same as the individual sections of the Report to the Foreign Ministers on the Tripartite Conversations Preliminary to the Sixth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, May 20, not printed. (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140)
  2. In telegram 2041, May 18, from Paris, not printed, Jessup reported substantial agreement existed on the political and economic conditions for German unification, the attitude toward possible Soviet proposals, accession of Eastern Zone Laender to the Bonn Constitution, frontiers, a modus Vivendi for all of Germany if agreement could not be reached on unification, and discussion of Austria at the Council. Four other points resulted in certain differences among the three Western Powers despite a wide measure of agreement. These were the French reluctance to admit the Soviet Union to representation on the Ruhr Authority, British and French reluctance to admit the Soviet Union to the Military Security Board, the right of appeal under the Occupation Statute, and the question of Berlin municipal unification and the introduction of a third currency in the city. (740.00119 Council/5–1849)