396.1 LO/5–450: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State

Secto 145. First round of general policy talks on Germany opened this morning1 in a small informal meeting with British and French. Kirkpatrick and Steel were present for the UK, Massigli and Bérard for the French, Jessup and Byroade for the US.2

Byroade opened the discussions by expressing his regret that the talks had been held up by his failure to arrive as previously scheduled, as well as his concern that local press here had hinted he was arriving with bold new program for solution of German problem. He stated we must arrive jointly at a program for moving forward in Germany and that US did not have a blueprint which they professed would solve all the problems. As a tactic to reassure French, he commented briefly upon extensive rumors since last meeting in Paris and stated the rearmament of Germany was not a part of our policy.

Kirkpatrick stated he believed we were all agreed that Germany must be quite closely associated with West. He believed, however, next [Page 924] step was up to Germans and they should join Council of Europe as part of their commitment to live up to Petersberg Protocol. He believed after Germans had taken that step next move would be up to Three Powers and that we must consider now what our next move will be. Massigli questioned need for taking any further step until the time scheduled for review of Occupation Statute.3

Kirkpatrick thought next step was of such importance that we should attempt reach agreement now and that Ministers should establish broad outlines under which we would move forward. He believed we must now formulate our plans to give Germany greater equality in international organization and that this would involve a change in field of control over Germany’s foreign affairs. Byroade agreed but stated he thought this was only a part of problem and that a very important additional aspect was in the economic field. Germans would judge their real acceptance by West, not only upon political equality but upon question of equal opportunity to markets within West and our action in continued restrictions in economic field. We could not afford in face of East-West situation to have Germany believe that she would never find a place for her normal economic aspirations in the West.

Kirkpatrick agreed completely and stated he believed we would want review our economic restrictions to see if they were all realistic. He gave as example necessity for a more liberal attitude on such questions as German ship-building for export. In later discussions he stated that besides ship-building, we must determine whether our policy on other restrictions, such as the level of steel, production of synthetic oil, and electronic valves to see that they were realistic. He asked if such a proposal shocked French. Massigli replied it seemed they were getting into items of security significance which would make problem very difficult. Byroade stated he thought we could approach the question of a relaxation of certain economic restrictions from another viewpoint.

He pointed out need of building greater real strength in West and felt that we should secure Germany’s contribution to such an effort, barring of course German participation in actual military fields. He discussed briefly question of Germany’s contribution to support of Allied forces, which we should in our thinking begin to look upon more and more as North Atlantic Treaty forces. In field of economies,” he felt Germany should be able make substantial contributions without production of ordinance items. Kirkpatrick said he agreed with that approach but he would wish emphasize at same time the psychological [Page 925] factors involved in attempting to move Germany towards a status of equality in the West and at same time in maintaining unnecessary restrictions, even though such restrictions might fringe upon the subject of security against Germany. He felt you could not succeed in making Germany a member of the club if we could not progressively release even security restrictions. He stated we would either have to trust Germany or not trust her.

Kirkpatrick then stated we must move forward in three fields: (1) relaxation in field of foreign affairs; (2) relaxation of economic restrictions; and (3) a more liberal interpretation of occupational statute. He was specifically thinking of restricting temptation which we all have to interfere in German domestic affairs. Byroade agreed but stated we should progress as well in execution of the majority vote principle embodied in statute. He stated that the very great efforts of the HICOM to reach complete unanimity in Germany had been extremely gratifying but that after these efforts have been made, If agreement did not exist, we should move forward without extensive delays. If we could all come to accept the necessity of moving forward on basis of majority vote we would be better off. Kirkpatrick was strong on this point, stating that too often the French and British positions in Germany were frozen by Cabinet decisions and there was no way to alter instructions to their HICOMs. He pointed out, however, that governments had also accepted the principle of majority vote and cabinets would occasionally have to be informed that their representatives had done best they could but had been out-voted. It was difficult to tell throughout discussion of relaxation of economic restrictions and a more liberal interpretation of the occupational statute whether French were in agreement with trend of discussion.

Byroade pointed out that another tenet of our policy in Germany should be agreement to take more affirmative line on question of German unity. He felt that recent moves in this direction had been quite effective and had somewhat upset Soviet propaganda and plans. Kirkpatrick stated that was what was already an agreed principle among three powers in past meetings. Byroade stated that while it was agreed, he felt public action [of] the three on joint basis would be necessary to make it clear that we all stood together on this issue. The British and French both agreed.

Kirkpatrick then summarized that apparently we all agreed we must maintain our present policy of steady advance towards the road of harmony in our relations with Germany. The next move, however, seemed to him to be up to Germans in entering Council of Europe. After that step had been taken we must move forward on our side along lines of the objectives previously mentioned, to which he would [Page 926] now add question of action on German unity. Massigli offered no objection to this summary. Discussion follows as to when Germany might enter Council and it was noted that action by Bundestag would not be taken prior to termination of the conferences. Byroade asked whether this prevented, from British-French point of view, any concrete action or announcements at this conference on subject of Germany. After some discussion, it was generally agreed that we and Ministers must proceed in this conference on assumption that Germany will enter Council of Europe; i. e., that the timing factor of this should not impede laying sound plans for future during the present talks.

Massigli stated West forces must be prepared make statement concerning next step for Germany at same Council session when Germany takes its seat and presumably makes general speech. If there were delay we would appear to be yielding to German pressure. Kirkpatrick more inclined to announce next step after Bundestag approves joining. There was no attempt made to reach agreement on this point.

The German subcommittee reserved for discussion tomorrow question of Adenauer’s request for federal police; protest note to Soviets on East German remilitarization and question of a security guarantee for Germany. They referred to the political working group: (1) question of drafting of statement on German unity including reference to all-German elections; (2) question of status of Federal Republic; (3) drafting of an agreed memo to Ministers on question of termination of state of war; (4) refugee problem. The question of first draft of a paper on Berlin was referred to economic working group as well as problems in connection with Ruhr authority.

Kirkpatrick’s attitude about a more liberal approach to economic restrictions on Germany was one of most significant aspects of the meeting. It was particularly surprising that he used subject of shipbuilding restrictions as an example several times. It is difficult so far to get a “feel” of the French position which will probably only become clear when we meet to consider an agreed draft of the tentative decisions taken at this meeting. It was clear that no understanding was reached with either French or British on our concept of the problems that might be referred to a continuing study group on Germany. This question came up several times with inconclusive results. In effort to clarify this situation the US will produce a draft of terms of reference for such a group. We feel there are many technical and legal problems which clearly affect normalization of Germany’s relations with other nations, and which tie closely into points two and three of agenda of political working group and that it will be fruitless to consider these questions in isolation.

Sent Department Secto 145, repeated Paris 748, Frankfort 200.

  1. The meeting was held at 10:30 in the India Office.
  2. Armand Bérard, Adviser to the French High Commissioner for Germany; Col. Henry A. Byroade, Director of the Bureau of German Affairs.
  3. For text of the Occupation Statute for Germany, signed April 8, 1949 at Washington, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, p. 179.