862.044/3–2849: Telegram

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

confidential

381. In meeting with German representatives at Bonn last Friday Allied liaison officers made it clear that changes in Basic Law proposed [Page 232]by so-called Committee of Seven in March 17 draft1 did not fully meet spirit and intent of Military Governors’ recommendations of March 2.2 They made it clear at same time that Military Governors had not officially considered these proposals and would be prepared to consider officially only final complete draft Basic Law. Political party delegations at Bonn will meet Wednesday to determine positions on question further changes to conform with Military Governors’ recommendations. Attitude of SPD appears firm against additional concessions of any significance, particularly in field of taxation and finance administration. Impression apparently prevails in SPD circles that developments favorable to their position may come out of forthcoming Foreign Ministers’ discussions in Washington.3 Consequently it is unlikely that any final action will be taken at Bonn for next fortnight. SPD position on basic issues similar to that set forth in statement by Trade Union Council quoted in Frankfurt’s A-138 March 18.4

Resolution adopted by Ministers-President conference March 245 calls for uniform election law for Volkstag elections and requests Parliamentary Council reconsider subject and seek at least two-thirds majority thereon. Purpose to obtain support both major parties to assure acceptance agreed election law by all Laender. Effort would be made provide for election by majority vote in two-thirds election districts rather than in one-half under present draft law. Ministers-President will recommend to Military Governors approval law so passed by Parliamentary Council.

Sent Department as 381, repeated Berlin as 46, London as 41, Paris as 40.

Riddleberger
  1. For the text of this draft and another proposal of the Committee of Seven dated March 10, neither printed, see Documents on the German Federal Constitution, pp. 110–113 or Litchfield, Governing Postwar Germany, pp. 569–576.
  2. Transmitted in telegram 183, March 2, p. 217.
  3. For documentation on the Washington Foreign Ministers’ discussions on Germany, April 6–8, see pp. 156 ff.
  4. Not printed.
  5. For the text of this resolution, see Ruhm von Oppen, Documents on Germany, pp. 367–368, or Documents on the German Federal Constitution, p. 113.