740.00119 Council/5–2549: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers to President Truman and the Acting Secretary of State


Delsec 1791. For President and Acting Secretary. Third meeting of CFM opened by Vishinsky as chairman with long defense of Soviet proposals for restoration of ACC and establishment of all German [Page 920] State Council. He asserted that three Western Ministers claimed that principles of Potsdam were fundamental to policies of their governments but that they then ignored fundamental Potsdam provisions on economic and political unity. The [He?] suspected arguments advanced yesterday merely designed lay basis for objections to restoration of ACC. Vishinsky maintained it could not be argued that this is not time to re-establish control mechanism since Western Powers in Washington agreement1 provided for organ of control and one which still recognized principle of unanimity. Western Powers called Soviet proposal backwards step but apparently they only consider restoration of control backwards when it refers to quadripartite control. Vishinsky likewise denied that creation of all German State Council would be backwards step. Soviet proposal in reality step forward since there is now no central German body for whole country. He further elaborated prior proposal by suggesting governmental powers in economic and administrative fields for all German Council.

Acheson pointed out that Ministers had reached agreement on fact that German unity is goal all four governments seek. They disagree on method. Western Ministers did not say there should be no Allied control which recognizes certain basic principles. If there is conflict between mechanism and substance, mechanism must yield to substance. Acheson therefore proposed get down to real issues and analyze necessary conditions of unity.

Acheson reviewed progress made in Western zones in raising ration, increasing coal and industrial production. West had done much to produce conditions necessary for peaceful and democratic life, which was basic aim of Potsdam. All of progress achieved in Western zones was public information, whereas West had been flatly denied information on state of affairs in Soviet zone. He listed basic requirements to be met in German states as (1) ability to supply own needs, (2) ability to produce for export, (3) ability to produce for reconstruction. There was no surplus in Western zones and we believe this also true of Soviet zone.

He suggested that balance sheet on German unity would include as asset only (1) fact of political unity and (2) realization of economic unity which we hope, but do not know will be asset. As liabilities we have: (1) Question of reparations. If we can not solve reparations question here, all German Council will never be able solve it. (2.) Soviet ownership of large percentages [of] producing assets in Eastern. Germany. Satisfactory answer to this is fundamental to whole economic question. We must, he concluded, meet these complex and interrelated [Page 921] problems and not content ourselves with drawing organizational charts.

Schuman noted that Vishinsky had not questioned Western goals but only right of West to act outside Potsdam. Sequence of three events—breakdown of CFM at London, collapse of ACC, and announcement of London agreements—clearly showed West acted only when USSR blocked quadripartite implementation of Potsdam. West had moved ahead in accord with Potsdam in hope of political system established might in long run lead to unity. On question of control he noted (1) Western Powers have not established control with past mistakes and have made some advances, (2) West has no prejudice against Soviet participation but insists that no control system be allowed to paralyze German life, (3) Four-Power control itself will not mean, political unity.

Bevin commented briefly that CFM confusing German unity and Allied unity. In his opinion Allied unity can be achieved if we agree that Allied controls would be limited to reserved subjects (as provided in Washington Agreement). On other hand German unity is question for Germans and cannot be legislated by Allies. Four Powers must leave to Germans determination of exact economic principles and political systems, so long as they are free and democratic. If Four Powers can agree on this, it will be possible to move forward.

Next meeting 3:30 p. m. Thursday.

Sent Department Delsec 1791; repeated for information London 323, Berlin 195, Moscow 102, USPolAd Heidelberg 3.

  1. Under reference here are the agreements signed April 8 in Washington by the three Western powers with regard to the status of the three Western Zones of Germany. For the texts of these agreements and related documentation, see pp. 156 ff.