740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–449
The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson)
Dear Jack: With reference to the attached memorandum of the meeting of the three Western Military Governors at Frankfurt on March 1, I feel that the result on the whole was a happy one which promises well for the future. The discussion of the provisions of the Basic Law started off in a rather difficult atmosphere by a statement from General Koenig with a reference to the London Agreement providing [Page 212] that the Basic Law would have a federal character and that the Military Governors were to determine whether the text was satisfactory in that respect. General Koenig said that, after an examination of the text, it did not take much time to appreciate that it is a federal document in appearance only—that it is hypocritically federal but actually centralist. With that as an opening statement, I began to fear that the chances of French approval were dim indeed. However, General Koenig continued on that, while the Military Governors could veto on the ground that it did not conform to the London Accord, he nevertheless suggested that the Military Governors not leave [let] the draft break down and that he would be willing to consider listing certain changes and modifications with the assurance that his government would be willing to consider them. For this purpose the report of the Political Advisers1 would provide a suitable basis.
At this point General Clay pointed out a feature relating to the present text—that there was no official text before the Military Governors and in view of General Koenig’s remarks it might be better to await a vote of the Parliamentary Council at Bonn. The Germans would then publish the document as an official text which would enable the Military Governors to benefit by the opinion of world constitutional experts. He suggested that the Germans be advised to vote their text immediately and the Military Governors would then examine it in accordance with the London Agreement. The discussions then would concern a public document. This suggestion was not happily received by Koenig, who said that such procedure would lead to a test of force between the Germans and ourselves and which would not be desirable. I think that General Clay’s suggestion had the effect of stimulating the French to a more conciliatory attitude which was apparent after they had consulted Paris by telephone.
- Transmitted in telegram 144, February 25, p. 207.↩
- Attached to the source text was another memorandum by Riddleberger, March 3, not printed, which reported the Military Governors’ discussion of Berlin currency, the Military Security Board, travel control, and the administration of Spandau prison.↩
- Telegram 144, p. 207; regarding telegram 145, see footnote 5 to telegram 144.↩
- Not printed; for the text of the draft constitution, see Documents on the German Federal Constitution, pp. 88–105.↩
- For the text of the aide-mémoire of the Military Governors to the Bonn Parliamentary Council, November 22, 1948, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, p. 240.↩
- The minutes of the meeting between the Military Governors and the Ministers-President of the Western zones of Germany, at Frankfurt, July 20, 1948, are printed ibid., p. 403.↩
- Transmitted in telegram 178, March 1, from Frankfurt, not printed. (862.011/3–149)↩
- For the text of the clear draft, see telegram 183, infra.↩