Editorial Note

On March 29, Kennan reported on his trip to Germany at Secretary Acheson’s daily meeting. He stressed that the situation had become critical, that the Germans must be won over to positive voluntary participation in the development of Western Europe, and that they should not be allowed to drag their feet and place a dangerous strain on the Western allies. The United States must help those Germans who showed pro-Western attitudes, regardless of whether it completely agreed with their ideas. To avoid a repetition of the last postwar period, the United States should make concessions while it still could help its friends, rather than starting with a harsh program and then letting relaxation appear to be the result of German demands.

In terms of policy, this meant that the United States should not press its federalization policy on the Basic Law, and should take this opportunity to end military government which was inelastic and insensitive, caused friction among the allies, and produced an unfavorable [Page 138] impact on the Germans. As to four-power control of Germany, Kennan proposed three guiding principles: no military government, an Austrian system of control, and continued military garrisons.

A copy of the notes from which Kennan spoke is in file 740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–2949. For another account of his trip, see Kennan, Memoirs, pages 429–442. The draft of a letter, dated March 29, not printed, and marked “Not used GFK” to Acheson also reporting Kennan’s impressions of Germany is among the Kennan papers at Princeton.