740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–3149

Paper Prepared by the Acting Director of the Office of German and Austrian Affairs (Murphy)1


Tentative Outline of Approach in the Discussions With the British and French Foreign Ministers on Germany

The Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom and France are tentatively scheduled to discuss with the Secretary of State German problems on April 6 and 7. The Secretary of State will have brief opening talks with each of the Foreign Ministers before that period on a variety of subjects which will undoubtedly include some general reference to the German problem.
It is anticipated that the following subjects respecting Germany will be discussed in the order indicated:
Relations with the USSR concerning Germany. General discussion of relations with the Soviets on the German problem will be the first item of discussion. The talks will undoubtedly center about the Berlin situation and the possibility of a meeting of the Council of [Page 141] Foreign Ministers. The current situation vis-à-vis the Berlin problem as indicated to the President on March 29 will be discussed with Mr. Bevin and Mr. Schuman with the object of obtaining their agreement to the US course of action already known to the President.2 The course of action to be followed by the three Western Powers in a possible CFM would not be discussed in detail at this stage but deferred until after the exploration of the various issues among the three Western powers on the method of proceeding in Western Germany.

Discussion of the General Concept of Military Government and Occupation. The United States considers that an attempt should be made to bring about a radical change in the nature and operation of Military Government at the time of the establishment of a Western German government. The present approach commits the occupation authorities to assuming too great a degree of responsibility for the administration of Western Germany, thus running the risk of increasing rather than minimizing present differences between the United States, British and French, which in turn would hamper the successful operation of a German government. There should be a radical reduction of Military Government personnel and supervision of the Germans should be exercised only at the higher levels of federal and state government. Future arrangements should look toward the abolition of Military Government as such and the substitution of a small Allied control body, headed by civilian commissioners.

Mr. George Kennan was recently informed by Mr. Schuman,3 and to a lesser but still appreciative extent by British officials, that they were willing to accept this changed concept of occupation. This would be contrary to past positions of the French and British. If Mr. Schuman and Mr. Bevin agree to such a changed concept, the United States should accept this new approach and be prepared to adopt measures to that end without delay.

Such a changed concept would aim at a considerably simpler occupation statute defining the reserved powers of the Western Allies. It would in effect remove the occupation authorities from administering any direct governmental responsibilities except in a very few matters connected with security, reparations, decartelization, etc. It would also allow a simple and workable arrangement for the exercise of these reserved powers. This approach should automatically erase many of the more complicated problems of present dispute among the three Western powers.

If Mr. Bevin and Mr. Schuman do not agree to this changed concept of occupation, the discussion would turn to a resolution of the matters now in dispute which affect the establishment or effective operation of a Western German government. Under this approach it will be necessary to accept as a basis of discussion documents which have been under negotiation on the various matters for several months, since any intermediate course between that outlined above and the one now under discussion with the British and French could only lead to long and laborious negotiations which would involve great delay to the [Page 142] establishment of the Western German government. It will, therefore, be necessary to resolve the outstanding issues in the following subjects:
Occupation Statute. There is virtual agreement on the present text4 but approval is conditional upon agreement on the principles of trizonal fusion.
Principles of Trizonal Fusion. The principal outstanding issue is language providing for the exercise by the United States of a preponderant voice in the control of German economic and trade developments which might affect the amount of the assistance which the US provides in largest part.
Western German Constitution. The issue is whether the Western Allies should approve certain German counter-proposals submitted to Military Government in reply to the latter’s objections that the draft constitution provided for too high a degree of centralization.
Prohibited and Restricted Industries (if final agreement is not reached in current London discussions)5. The differences will probably relate to the duration of the restrictions on industry and to the extent to which the Germans will be permitted to engage in ship-building.
Reparations (if final agreement is not reached in current London discussions). Disagreement would probably relate to the retention of one critical plant in the steel industry.
Procedure in a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers:

After consideration of the above subjects, discussion will turn to the position which should be adopted by the three Western powers in a possible meeting of the Four-Power Council of Foreign Ministers on Germany.

  1. The paper was submitted to President Truman by the Secretary of State on March 31 with the German policy papers printed infra. Acheson went over the approach with the President who approved it. (Memorandum of conversation with the President, not printed, 811.001 Truman, H.S./3–3149)
  2. For documentation on the JessupMalik conversations and the Foreign Ministers’ discussion of them, see pp. 694 ff.
  3. Presumably a reference to Kennan’s conversation with François-Poncet in Frankfurt on March 21. Regarding this conversation, see p. 113.
  4. For documentation relating to the London negotiations on the occupation statute, principles of trizonal fusion, and the status of Kehl, including the texts of the draft agreements, see pp. 1 ff.
  5. For documentation relating to the London negotiations on prohibited and restricted industries and reparations, including the texts of the final agreements referred to the three Western governments, see pp. 546 ff.