The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State
183. Talk with French political officer yesterday indicated at least part of French objection to Berlin’s participation in West German government (mytel 175, February 3, repeated London 79, Paris 651) stems from view that Berlin as former German capital signified strong centralism and if included in West government now might again develop centralist tendencies.
In our opinion this danger less great than irredentism which would be aroused were Berlin excluded. Exclusion would also play into hands essentially nationalist Soviet propaganda which presents Soviets as champions German unity.
Furthermore Berlin leaders, although not without own brand of nationalism, have at least learned through post-war experiences here to look beyond immediate horizons and visualize Germany more within international framework than do west Germans who often appear mired in local nationalism. Berliners struggle against Communist encroachment has also awakened in them some real understanding of what democratic government means in terms actual application. Their influence at Bonn in these respects has been helpful even though they participated only as “observers.”
Fact must moreover be realized that several Berlin political leaders (notably Reuter), who are rapidly emerging as potential national leaders, will inevitably play important role in future Germany even if they are limited for present to local scene. And nothing would be more likely to develop in them most undesirable form of anti-western nationalism than refusal now to permit them what they consider undeniable right to share West German government.
Should Department agree Berlin’s participation advisable and wish approach French, above views may be helpful.
Sent Department 183, repeated London 84, Paris 68.
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