862.00/4–749: Telegram

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

confidential

444. Effect Foreign Ministers’ message (Frankfurt’s 438, April 51) has been definitely destroy SPD illusions that majority could be secured [Page 236]for Committee of Seven March 17 draft2 and that Occupying Powers would then accept that draft. After party delegation meetings planning strategy, main committee met late yesterday afternoon. FDP, holding balance power, proposed reference finance question to Finance Committee, which with collaboration committee of 7, would seek fundamental solution acceptable both major parties. This motion approved 12 to 9 with KPD delegate voting with SPD in opposition.

In formal statement SPD reviewed work of recent weeks culminating in acceptance of March 17 draft by all parties except KPD. It emphasized extent to which SPD had made concessions and shown willingness to cooperate with other parties, asserting this demonstrated by unanimous approval all party representatives of original Committee of Five draft3 and later Committee of Seven recommendations. Statement continued SPD unable make further concessions as they would endanger legal and economic unity of Germany and would make effective financial policy and administration impossible.

Exploratory talks in enlarged Committee of Seven will continue today and tomorrow. Final decision on SPD position expected at meeting executive board in Bad Godesberg Sunday and Monday. Intransigent tone SPD statement in Bonn and Schumacher declaration in Hanover believed represent final effort win immediate objective, and does not signify intention abandon effort achieve agreed text basic law.

Meeting of main committee expected Tuesday or Wednesday with adjournment thereafter probable until after Easter. Sent Department 444 repeated Berlin 53.

Riddleberger
  1. Not printed; for the text of the Foreign Ministers’ message, see editorial note, infra.
  2. Regarding this draft, see footnote 1 to telegram 381, March 28, p. 231.
  3. Under reference here is the compromise reached by the Committee of Five at the end of January and beginning of February, 1949, concerning the consent and fiscal administration of the Bundesrat and the provisions for church and state. For a discussion of the compromise, see Merkl, West German Republic, pp. 93–95.