740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–749

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1



U.S. Delegation British Delegation French Delegation
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

The Ministers continued discussions on the paper concerning tripartite controls.

With respect to French concern over the appeals procedure in para 7,2 I said we recognized French interest in such important matters as disarmament and demilitarization, but there was another factor which was that we should not accept too rigid a procedure which could bind us in dealing with the Soviets, should there be four power agreement. The Russians can act quickly and we should not adopt methods of control which would hold up necessary German government action.

Mr. Schuman said he would try to make a distinction between the types of reserve powers under which appeal could be taken to the governments. First, there might be decisions by a majority of the High Commission altering inter-governmental agreements; these should be suspended indefinitely until there was unanimous government agreement. Secondly, there might be majority decisions having a bearing on the implementation of inter-governmental agreements; these should also be appealed and be subject to indefinite suspension. Thirdly, there should be majority decisions connected with day-to-day operations but involving important policy questions; these should also be subject to appeal but suspension should be only temporary.

Mr. Schuman said these matters were connected with the form of control in the Laender and argued for his proposal for Tripartite Commissions at the local level.

I said we must be clear as to where supreme authority resides. The High Commission should speak in the Laender through one individual but at the same time it must be adequately informed. I suggested that the High Commissioner in each zone have representatives from the other High Commissioners as observers.

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Mr. Bevin agreed that the High Commissioner should have supreme authority and that the local control officials in the Laender should be the servants of the Commission. He had no objection to there being in each Land observers from the other occupying powers.

Basic Law

Mr. Bevin distributed the text of a message he wished to send to the Parliamentary Council dealing with the question of taxation for purposes of social services.3

Mr. Schuman thought it unwise to submit new proposals to the Parliamentary Council and thought the previous message from the Foreign Ministers was quite sufficient which reminded them of the terms of the London Agreement.4

I explained our concept of grants-in-aid to the states. We considered that under a federal system the states should have independent powers of taxation but there was no objection to federal grants-in-aid being made to the individual states, provided such federal grants were not taken out of the state budgets but derived from the federal budget. Such grants were administered by the states themselves but under federal regulations.

Mr. Schuman said he had no objection to the procedure in principle.

  1. The memorandum was prepared by Beam. A transcript of proceedings in file 740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–749 indicates that the meeting convened at 11:15 a. m., April 7.
  2. For the text of this paragraph, see the memorandum of conversation, supra.
  3. Not found in Department of State files.
  4. For documentation relating to the deliberations of the Bonn Parliamentary Council, including the text of the Foreign Ministers communication to the Parliamentary Council on April 4, see pp. 187 ff.