CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 142: United States Delegation Minutes

United States Delegation Minutes of the 11th (1st Restricted) Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, Paris, June 3, 1949, 3:10 p.m.




Mr. Vyshinsky (Chairman)

General Chuikov

Mr. Semenov

Mr. Smirnov

United Kingdom United States
Mr. Bevin Mr. Acheson
Sir I. Kirkpatrick Mr. Jessup
General Robertson Mr. Dulles
Lord Henderson Mr. Murphy
Mr. Bohlen


M. Schuman

M. Parodi

M. François-Poncet

M. Couve de Murville

Mr. Vyshinsky (Chairman) opened the meeting at 3:10 p. m.

Mr. Acheson stated that he had circulated in the 10th meeting a paper on the question of Berlin [CFM/P/49/101] with the proposal that the Ministers discuss this paper paragraph by paragraph. He had intended this paper to be broad enough to cover all proposals previously submitted on the Berlin question, and it was understood that in discussing the separate paragraphs there would be no final agreement unless the whole subject were agreed. Paragraph 1 provided for new city elections, on the basis of the 1946 Electoral Law, thus eliminating the necessity for drawing up a new electoral procedure. Certain modifications, however, might be necessary. [Mr. Acheson then read the text of USDel Working Paper/13 Rev. 1, June 3, 1949.2] Under Point (2), he noted that the provision concerning qualifications for voters arose from the fact that some of the people disqualified in 1946 had since been declared eligible to vote in all four Sectors.

Mr. Bevin said that he considered the USDel Working Paper/13 a good elaboration of Paragraph 1 of the proposal.

Mr. Vyshinsky noted that the US proposal coincided with the Soviet proposal for the reestablishment of the Berlin Magistrat. The Soviet Delegation desired clarification on the following points:

He agreed that there should first be a provisional regime, but he felt the CFM should agree on the functions of this provisional regime in connection with the election.
He agreed that the electoral law of 1946 needed some change, not only with respect to the right to vote but also on the method of voting.
The old electoral procedure was restricted to registered political parties. He felt that consideration should be given to the social organizations and trade unions established in the Soviet Sector. This would entail some change in Paragraph 8 of the 1946 Law, which said that only large political parties have the right to nominate candidates.
He desired to know what was meant by “quadripartite control” since the US proposal made no mention of a control body.

Mr. Vyshinsky said that he was not setting forth a formal position but simply raising questions to which he desired answers before a formal position could be submitted.

Mr. Acheson said that, as clarification, he would like to point out that four-power control had two aspects: (1) The controls of the temporary Magistrat, created for election purposes, to which each sector commander would appoint an equal number of representatives; and (2) The types of control covered in Paragraph 4 of the US paper, which would provide for supervision over German activities and handle problems which the Germans themselves were unable to solve. The trade union question was a point on which the Four Powers had disagreed for a long time, and it seemed unlikely that their differences could be reconciled at this meeting. It would be better to take as a basis for the electoral procedure a document on which there was previous agreement, citing in particular in this connection Paragraph 8 (1) of the 1946 Electoral Law.

Mr. Vyshinsky asked whether the US proposal accorded the right to nomininate candidates only to politcal parties. Could a person be put forward as the candidate of both a political party and of a social group or trade union?

Mr. Bevin said that he would prefer to adhere to the previous provision which authorized candidates only from political parties. If the German people desired to do something else at another election, that would be a different matter. If the CFM would agree to retain Paragraph 8 (1), it would mean that this election could go forward speedily and thus help to solve the German problem. The idea of four-power control over the elections was designed to take care of the eligibility of voters.

M. Schuman pointed out that while the list of candidates would be submitted under this provision by the established political parties, there was no restriction on the choice of candidates. According to the 1946 Law only registered political parties could present lists, but a candidate did not have to be a member of the party. He favored adhering to the provisions of the 1946 Law, since the elections would [Page 947] serve other than purely municipal functions, in that the new assembly would be authorized to write a constitution. He therefore felt that authorizing trade unions to nominate candidates would be inappropriate, but he considered the point unimportant since the parties could nominate non-party candidates.

Mr. Vyshinsky again asked whether it would be possible for a list of candidates to be presented by a bloc of political parties or by a bloc including parties and non-party groups. He wanted to know whether the US proposal meant that social organizations could take no part in the elections.

Mr. Bevin said that he was against the bloc system. What the Germans might do in the future was entirely up to them, but the CFM should not depart from the 1946 procedure. If it were not possible to agree on this, no agreement could be reached.

Mr. Vyshinsky said he agreed with Mr. Acheson that any political party authorized to operate in one of the Sectors should be free to operate in all. He merely wanted to know whether it would not be appropriate to extend this to nonpolitical social organizations. He was not making a formal proposal but was merely trying to ascertain the answers to certain questions. He then suggested that the discussion move on to the second paragraph of the US paper.

Mr. Acheson stated that the second paragraph was designed to cover a step which would follow after the measures outlined in the first paragraph had been accomplished. He was proposing that the first elected government be provisional, that it be authorized to draft a new constitution, and that it be established on the basis of the 1946 Constitution. He was further suggesting that Article 36 of the 1946 Constitution be dropped, and that new methods of control be established. This was covered under Paragraph 4 of the US statement.

Mr. Bevin said that it was quite clear we wanted Article 36 deleted from the constitution. Otherwise he accepted the US position.

Mr. Vyshinsky raised the following questions with reference to this proposal:

In proposing the elimination of Article 36, is it intended to reject the principle of having the civil government under the control of the Kommandatura?
In what form will the Kommandatura exercise control over the Magistrat?
What is intended as a substitute for Article 36?

Mr. Acheson said he was in agreement that Article 36 should not be dropped until it was known what would take its place. He had previously pointed out that agreement on any part of this paper was dependent upon overall agreement. He also wanted to assure Mr. Vyshinsky [Page 948] that it was intended to have a mechanism of control and that the type of control would be discussed under Paragraph 4.

Mr. Bevin agreed with this interpretation.

Mr. Vyshinsky said he understood that the question of Article 36 and Paragraph 4 was to be left open. The USSR was willing to examine the functions of the Kommandatura with a view to giving greater freedom to the German organs, but it had no specific proposal to make at this time. This was an important point and he would be ready at the next meeting to submit positive proposals on the functions of the Kommandatura. Meanwhile he would abstain from further questions.

Mr. Bevin said that his view was that Article 36 should come out of the constitution altogether. He considered it an Allied reservation and felt it was inappropriate in the constitution. He would be glad to consider the question of controls under Paragraph 4 but he did seek agreement that Article 36 come out of the constitution.

Mr. Acheson expressed the view that Mr. Vishinsky’s position was very wise and entirely consistent with Mr. Bevin’s. He understood Mr. Vishinsky to say he would examine the powers of the Kommandatura, turning some over to the Germans, identifying those left to the Kommandatura, and considering how the latter are to be exercised. Like Mr. Vishinsky, he preferred to defer consideration of this question until the next meeting.

Mr. Vishinsky said that since his colleagues agreed to consider Article 36 in connection with Paragraph 4, he would abstain from further questions. He felt, however, that Mr. Bevin had made a mistake when he said that Article 36 dealt with the rights of the Kommandatura. He considered that it dealt with the duties of the Germans and it was therefore appropriate to have it included in the constitution.

Mr. Acheson noted that the Ministers had already discussed Paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of his paper. Paragraph 3 was designed to give authority to the provisional government to draft a new constitution. It was assumed that this would be a matter under quadripartite control. Paragraph 5 merely stated that occupation costs would be kept to a minimum.

Mr. Vyshinshy stated that he had some remarks to make on Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5, but no questions to ask. He felt that a good deal had been set forth and that it might be desirable to adjourn the meeting in order to give the Ministers time to digest these various points and prepare their positions.3

[Page 949]


Mr. Bevin raised the question of a press communiqué and the Ministers agreed to release the following statement: “Communiqué of the Council of Foreign Ministers of June 3, 1949. Today under the chairmanship of the Foreign Minister of the U.S.S.R. Andrei Vyshinsky, a closed session of the Council of Foreign Ministers took place. The Ministers discussed the Soviet and US proposals relative to Berlin. The next meeting will be on June 4.”

[The Ministers then agreed to meet in a restricted meeting at 3:00 p. m. June 4. The meeting adjourned at 5:45 p. m.]

  1. Substance transmitted in Delsec 1839, supra. All the brackets in these minutes are in the source text.
  2. Post, p. 1043.
  3. In Delsec 1843, June 3, from Paris, not printed, the United States Delegation reported that the restricted session was the first business-like discussion in the Council, and analyzed the Soviet response to the Western proposals as an attempt to gain recognition and political stature for mass organizations in Western Berlin and as indicating concern lest the Magistrat be given too much freedom from Allied control. (740.00119 Council/6–349)