740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–1149: Telegram

The Acting United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Riddleberger ) to the Secretary of State


111. Frankfurt’s 94 February 4, 5 p. m.1 Main committee Parliamentary Council yesterday completed third and final reading basic law on basis proposed by interparty five man committee. Present text maintains basic provisions federal control taxes and fiscal administration, with changes to require Laender concurrence appointment local administrative personnel and to give Upper House equal powers on legislation involving assessment and establishment taxes. Upper House also given equal powers on legislation involving economics and nationalization resources and means of production (Article 36 Items 11 and 14–A).

It is now anticipated plenary session will be postponed few days in hope of receiving indication from Military Governors that basic law is generally acceptable. Informal statement being submitted stressing federalist character provisional constitution and arguing its compatibility with basic conditions outlined in aide-mémoire of November 22, 1948.2

Feeling of uneasiness prevalent among delegates with reference particularly occupation statute. Among SPD delegates considerable feeling that they have compromised too much on basic points powers of Upper House and federal versus Laender control taxes and financial administration.

Attitude delegates all parties uncertain if confronted with demand for significant changes in basic law as now drafted, or if provisions occupation statute appear excessively severe. Communist representative Renner yesterday proposed in main committee suspend all further action until terms occupation statute known. He accused CDU and SPD leaders of wishing complete basic law and leave Bonn to evade this issue.

Repeated Berlin 331, London 215, Paris 14,

  1. Ante, p. 190. For a translation of the Basic Law as passed by the Main Committee of the Parliamentary Council, February 10, see Documents on the German Federal Constitution, pp. 88–105. A copy of the German text was transmitted in despatch 108, February 12, from Frankfurt, not printed. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–1249)
  2. The aide-mémoire of November 22, 1948 is printed in Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, p. 442. For the text of the statement of the Committee of Five on the federal character of the draft Basic Law, February 14, see Documents on the German Federal Constitution, pp. 105–108.