740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–149

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1

top secret
Participants: The Secretary of State Others present:
Mr. Bevin Mr. Couve de Murville
Mr. Schuman Mr. Bérard
The British Ambassador Mr. Barclay
The French Ambassador Mr. Beam
Mr. Murphy
Dr. Jessup

I recapitulated what I told Mr. Bevin and Mr. Schuman separately2 concerning our suggested new approach regarding an Occupation Statute and Military Government relationships in Western Germany. I said that a more practicable arrangement along the Austrian model would resolve many problems and put us in a stronger position as against the Soviets. We should agree to go through with a logical, firm plan, even if the Soviets refused to accept it.

Mr. Bevin asked what would become of the Occupation Statute, the Military Security Board and the Ruhr Authority under this new approach. We should set up the Ruhr Authority immediately since this would be one of the first things the Soviets would try to get into. We should also go ahead with the Military Security Board. Was it suggested [Page 161] that we amend the Occupation Statute? Mr. Schuman concurred that the Ruhr Agreement should be signed now.

Mr. Murphy said we wanted to see everything tied together and would be ready to sign the Ruhr Agreement after agreement was complete on all other matters. In the meantime the text of the agreement stood as it was, as did also the Military Security Board.

I explained there was nothing revolutionary in our new concept, but we wished to simplify the vast machinery of Military Government, so that it would not be necessary for it to continue to be the government of Germany. We wish to see the following principles established: (1) the western Allies would reserve the right to revoke any powers accorded to the Germans; (2) in the meantime the German government should go ahead and govern unless we decide to stop its actions; (3) we would specify certain areas in which the Western powers may take direct action. The Germans would be responsible for running their own economy; if they were spendthrift they would get no more money.

Mr. Bevin and Mr. Schuman hoped they could be furnished with US written proposals this evening and will be glad to consider them. A British expert would arrive within a day or so. It was not necessary to bring the Military Governors here.

I expressed the hope that we would shortly achieve complete agreement.

With reference to the German constitution, Mr. Bevin said his Cabinet had approved it. Mr. Schuman said he did not like the counter-proposals submitted by the Germans in reply to the Military Governors’ objections to the constitution.3 He did not regard these counter-proposals as official and he would wait until he had received the official text. As regards the possibility of bringing Berlin into the federation as a twelfth state, Mr. Schuman said he agreed with General Clay that for the present the pertinent provisions of the Bonn constitution should remain suspended and that Berlin should be regarded as being juridically under four-power jurisdiction.4

  1. The memorandum was prepared by Beam; the meeting convened at 2:30 p. m.
  2. Memoranda of these conversations are printed supra.
  3. For documentation relating to the drafting of the West German Constitution, including the objections of the Military Governors, March 2, see pp. 187 ff. For the texts of the counterproposals of the Committee of Seven on March 10 and 17, see Documents on the German Federal Constitution, pp. 110–113 or Litchfield, Governing Postwar Germany, pp. 569–576.
  4. At this same meeting the Foreign Ministers discussed the JessupMalik conversations concerning Berlin. A memorandum of their discussion is printed on p. 709.