740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–649

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1



The Secretary of State Mr. Bevin Mr. Schuman
Mr. Murphy The British Ambassador The French Ambassador
Dr. Jessup Mr. Steel Mr. Couve de Murville
Mr. Kennan Mr. Dean Mr. Bérard
Mr. Beam Mr. Barclay Mr. Laloy

Paper on Agreement as to Tripartite Controls

I read to the Ministers the paper on the above subject2 and the following are the important points which arose from the discussion:

Paragraph 1. [According to the transcript of proceedings the preamble and first paragraph read:

“The Governments of the United Kingdom, France and the United States agree, prior to the promulgation of an Occupation Statute, to enter into a trizonal fusion agreement. To this end, there shall be established a board composed of representatives of each of the three occupying powers who will formulate an agreed detailed plan for the establishment of tripartite control machinery for Western Germany, including the Western sectors of Berlin, which will become effective at the time of the establishment of a provisional government. The following provisions agreed by the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, and France shall be incorporated therein:

1. A tripartite Commission composed of one civilian representative of each occupying power, together with the necessary tripartite staff organization, shall be the supreme Allied agency of control.”]

At Mr. Schuman’s suggestion it was agreed that the reference to the Western sectors of Berlin be deleted from this paragraph, since Berlin was a special problem apart from the Western zones. A separate paper [Page 166] would be drafted applying the same principles to the control of Berlin.3

Paragraph 2. [According to the transcript of proceedings the second paragraph read:

“2. The nature and extent of controls exercised by the Tripartite Control Commission shall be in harmony with the Letter of Approval of the Basic Law.”]

The phrase “and international agreements” was added.

Paragraph 3. [According to the transcript of proceedings the third paragraph read:

“3. In order to permit Western Germany to exercise increased responsibilities over domestic affairs and to reduce the burden of occupation costs, staff personnel and occupation troops shall be only those needed for security.”]

The reference to occupation troops was deleted and it was agreed it should be stated that staff personnel should be kept to a minimum.

It was agreed that the question of the numbers of occupation forces should be dealt with in another connection. Mr. Kennan made the general observation that he hoped we would have an understanding that the impact of the occupation troops on the population should be limited to the greatest possible degree.

Paragraph 4. [According to the transcript of proceedings the fourth paragraph read:

“4. In the exercise of the powers reserved to the Occupation Authorities to approve amendments to the federal constitution, the decisions of the Occupation Authorities shall require unanimous agreement.”]

Mr. Schuman desired a provision to be added that decisions by majority vote approving amendments to the state constitutions should include the vote of the representative of the occupying power in whose zone the particular state was included.

Paragraph 5. [According to the transcript of proceedings the fifth paragraph read:

“5. Prior to the conclusion of a bilateral ECA agreement between the United States and the Federal German Government, in cases in which the exercise of, or failure to exercise, the powers reserved under paragraph 5(g) and 5(h) of the Letter of Approval of the Basic Law shall increase the need for assistance from the United States appropriated funds, there shall be a system of weighted voting. Under such system the representatives of the Occupation Authorities will have a voting strength proportionate to the funds made available to Germany [Page 167] by their respective governments, except that no action taken hereunder shall be contrary to any inter-governmental agreement among the signatories. This provision shall not, however, reduce the present United States predominant voice in JEIA and JFEA while these organizations, or any successor organization to them, continue in existence and are charged with the performance of any of their present functions.”]

Mr. Bevin thought that the reference to 5(h) should be omitted, since he did not wish to extend the JEIA weighted vote formula to other purposes. I agreed we should omit the reference in this paper to 5(h) of the Letter of Approval but should keep it in the latter document. I explained that until the ECA procedure is established, 5 (g) and (h) in the Letter of Approval should be operative. Thereafter the provisions in (h) could be deleted, but we should retain (g) in order to have at hand a sanction in case the Germans did not observe the ECA bilateral agreement with the US; we would exercise the weighted vote under (g) after consulting with our other Allies. It was accordingly agreed to delete the reference in the agreement as to tripartite controls to paragraph 5(h) in the Letter of Approval, but to keep in the latter document both paragraph 5(g) and (h).4

Paragraph 6. [According to the transcript of proceedings the sixth paragraph read:

“On all other matters action shall be by majority vote.”]

Mr. Schuman said he accepted this paragraph subject to suggested amendments in paragraphs 7 and 8.

Paragraph 7. [According to the transcript of proceedings the seventh paragraph read:

“7. An Occupation Authority which considers that a majority decision concerning demilitarization and disarmament is not in conformity with inter-governmental agreements regarding Germany, may appeal to his government. Such appeal shall suspend action for no more than twenty-one days from the date of the decision and for such further period or periods as any two of the governments may agree upon, provided that any such further extension is so agreed upon before the existing suspension expires.”]

Mr. Schuman suggested the following substitute language: “If one of the occupation authorities considers that a decision taken by majority vote in the reserved fields covered by paragraphs 5 (a), (b), [Page 168] (c) or (e)5 contradicts or modifies agreements concluded between the three Governments, or is in contradiction to the fundamental principles of tripartite policy in Germany, he has the right to appeal the aforesaid decision to his Government. This appeal will have suspensory effect pending agreement between the three Governments.”

Mr. Schuman justified the change by stating that the language in the US draft in effect gave the Germans more power in the reserved fields than in other matters and he thought it was essential to provide some guarantee for the government voting in the minority with respect to such important decisions.

I asked Mr. Schuman to think of his proposal in terms of application to the Soviets, should there be Four-Power agreement. The Soviets would be able to obstruct effective action by the German government, and I felt the fields Mr. Schuman had mentioned were much too broad and provided no clear definition. I said I was willing to consider certain specific fields, such as disarmament questions, in which France had a special interest. It was agreed to defer decision until tomorrow’s meeting.

Paragraph 9. [The transcript of proceedings did not indicate the text of this paragraph, but according to the undated draft, it read:

“9. All powers of the Tripartite Control Commission shall be uniformly exercised in accordance with tripartite policies and directives. To this end, zonal boundaries and administration shall be eliminated, except to the extent required to limit garrison areas for occupation troops and to provide the administrative support thereof. Control shall be exercised exclusively by organizations of the Tripartite Control Commission extending down to and including Land levels. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the functions of bodies established pursuant to inter-governmental agreement.”]

Mr. Bevin suggested omission of the word “exclusively” and expressed strong objection to tripartite control staffs at the Land level. He said that while he agreed the zone commander should carry out policy determined by the Tripartite High Commission, the zone commander must be responsible for day-to-day operations and had special tasks with regard to his occupation troops. The principle of tripartite staffs would offer the Soviets unlimited opportunities of interference should there be Four-Power control. In the various zones relations with the Ministers-President were [not?] good and he feared that there would be endless trouble with the Germans who would be only too eager to play off against each other members of tripartite staffs in the [Page 169] Laender. Mr. Bevin would agree to their being a special tripartite group at the federal capital who would examine Laender laws to see that they conform with joint Allied policies, but he opposed any suggestion that there should be tripartite administration in the Laender. This would be much too cumbersome and would lead to unwarranted interference. Should difficulties arise in the Laender, the High Commission could send out a commission of inquiry, but he strongly opposed the permanent establishment of tripartite staffs at the local level.

Mr. Schuman said that a great deal of policy was made at the Laender level and that it was logical that tripartite control be extended to the Laender. Furthermore, there would be certain forms of federal administration in each Land which required control. He favored disappearance of the zone boundaries, the logical result being that there be uniform tripartite control throughout Western Germany. The Laender staffs could be kept very small and in all need not include more than twenty officials.

The British Ambassador suggested one tripartite committee might be set up in the capital to review Laender legislation or there might be one per zone which would perform this function but would not engage in policy determination, which would be the task of the High Commission.

I said we wished to ensure uniformity and in any event be certain that authority emanates from the High Commission. I suggested the High Commission might possibly have a small group of consultants or agents in each Land who could report to the Commission.

This general question was left over until tomorrow for decision.

Basic Law

I read from a telegraphic report from General Clay on the latest developments in the Parliamentary Council.6 I furthermore furnished the Ministers with a general set of criteria which we thought should be observed by the Germans in the final drafting of the constitution.7

  1. The memorandum was prepared by Beam. A transcript of proceedings in file 740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–649 indicates that the meeting took place from 4:50 to 7:00 p. m.
  2. Not printed. The bracketed insertions which follow have been provided by the editors to indicate the text of this draft according to the transcript of proceedings or the undated draft text referred to in footnote 2 of the memorandum of conversation, supra. Among the position papers prepared by the Department of State is another draft paper on tripartite controls, dated March 31, not printed. Presumably this draft was taken to the meeting on April 5 by the United States representatives, since it corresponds to that read by Secretary Acheson. (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140: Position Papers)
  3. For the text of the agreed minute on Berlin, see p. 183.
  4. Paragraphs 5 (g) and (h) dealt with control of foreign trade and exchange and control over internal matters to ensure the use of funds, food and other supplies in a manner that would not increase unnecessarily the need for external assistance to Germany.
  5. The reserved fields covered by paragraphs 5 (a), (c) and (e) were: disarmament and demilitarization; controls in regard to the Ruhr, restitution, reparations, decartelization, deconcentration, foreign interests and claims against Germany; foreign affairs; and protection, prestige, and security of Allied forces, dependents, employees, and representatives.
  6. According to the transcript of proceedings, Secretary Acheson reported on a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Bonn Parliamentary Council at which the response to the Military Governors was further considered. For further documentation relating to the drafting of the Basic Law, see pp. 187 ff.
  7. According to the transcript of proceedings, Secretary Acheson suggested that the Western sectors of Berlin should not be included in the initial establishment of the West German Government, that both the Federal Government and the Laender should have the right to tax in their respective fields, and that requests for modifications of the priority powers of the Federal Government should receive sympathetic consideration.