396.1 LO/5–1150: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Foreign Ministers Meeting to the Acting Secretary of State


Secto 243. 1. Morning session tripartite meeting today devoted exclusively to consideration agenda Item 3—Germany.1

2. After Bevin had opened meeting with suggestion that Minister discuss paper on “policy towards Germany” (document MIN/TRI/P/72), Schuman made long statement re Germany and re proposal for international control coal and steel. Plenty details on Germany to discuss here, but before doing so he would like to recall difficulties we have had with Russia over Germany. Certain general principles had been laid down at Potsdam. Despite them, contradictory nature Russia’s policies soon became apparent, first in organization of Laender, and thereafter in other matters. In view impossibility applying joint quadripartite policy we were forced to establish separate organization in western zones along different lines from that in east.

3. Task before us today is to review our common policy. We might begin with brief recapitulation of disappointments we have suffered in past months and realize that gratitude is “rare quality.” Germany has largely forgotten benefits received under Marshall aid, as well as other measures we have taken to assist her such as agreement on termination dismantling.3 Despite all this, we wish to maintain our present policy in interest not only of Germany but also of peace. Our policy envisages progressive restoration to Germany of control over its own affairs and rights of an independent state. What should our policy be in coming months? First point to be considered is Germany’s entry into Council of Europe. We have no intention of “bargaining” over this as Germany’s decision to do so was “virtually promised” in Petersberg Protocol. Secondly we have agreed to undertake study looking toward revision of occupation statute. In meantime we might as experiment “apply present controls more liberally,” although naturally continuing certain long term entities as Military Security Board and IAR. That is our immediate program for next six months. HICOM must of course maintain supreme authority in Germany. We [Page 1045] should, however, consider desirability of limiting controls to most important matters, namely security and assurance that Germany will continue on democratic course. In Schuman’s personal opinion we might abandon controls over Laender thus permitting reduction of Allied civil personnel stationed there. We should also permit Germany to develop its foreign relations with other countries and thereby strengthen her position in Council of Europe. There are a series of questions to be studied at present meeting. He had general observation to make which amounted almost to a reservation, namely that certain of questions to be pursued by proposed intergovernment study group should not be handled in such manner as to give impression we were concluding peace treaty.

4. With respect to economic aspects of problem, Schuman said that Germany’s entry into European economy was “already accomplished or at least far advanced”. Germany was full member of OEEC and enjoyed Marshall aid on same footing as other participants. It was necessary to ensure however that re-equipping Germany with Marshall aid should not conflict with Allied policy.

5. Schuman then said he wished to explain the recent French proposal on coal and steel. It is European rather than Franco-German plan although naturally of major importance as regards Germany since latter’s steel production is among highest in Europe. Plan also has political implications and because of them suggestion could only have come from France. It is necessary to bring about change in the psychological outlook, and French could not have accepted proposals coming from any other quarter. French Government under no illusions re psychological and political opposition to plan. These, however, will be overcome. There are also number of technical difficulties which must be studied carefully by all interested countries. Finally, offer is not a “fait accompli” but proposal for further study and consideration. As regards German participation, it is clearly understood that this could only come about under authority of HICOM which would be unaffected. Schuman therefore suggested that HICOMs take advantage of their presence London to acquaint themselves with details of plan in order that they may thereafter advise Adenauer, in making this suggestion he did not refer to technical details but “general principles of the plan”. French proposal did not envisage change in functions IAR and MSB. However, study would be necessary as to possibility co-existence these functions with contractual relationship in French plan. In conclusion, Schuman said that his remarks equally applicable to other countries since French feel that all European countries desiring to do so should have opportunity to cooperate in plan.

[Page 1046]

6. Secretary reverted to suggestion made by Bevin at opening that Ministers consider MIN/TRI/P/7. It was his understanding that paper was one approach to problem, and it was possible that as result of discussion this morning paper should be rewritten. Alternatively, we might take document and study it point by point. He himself preferred former course. Secretary continued that HICOM will be in position to exercise great influence on Germans only perhaps for next 18 months to 2 years. He did not mean that this influence would disappear thereafter. Nevertheless, it would be less subsequent to revision occupation statute and anticipated decrease in Marshall aid. In view these circumstances HICOM should use its present influence to bring about fundamental orientation of Germany towards West. Accordingly, we should see how controls can be used to guarantee prestige of HICOM. In Secretary’s view, merely to release controls would constitute negative approach to problem. He agreed with Schuman that HICOM should concentrate on essential points of security and maintenance democratic regime in Germany. However, he did not concur in suggestion that we give up controls in Laender as well as control over foreign affairs. From Laender comes legislation which profoundly affect regime in Germany. Therefore if controls relaxed there and also with respect to foreign affairs, HICOM will have given up its most effective powers. If HICOM used its powers to achieve really democratic life in Germany, results would be more enduring than could be obtained by reliance on controls which might later be thrown off.

7. In our view no useful distinction can be drawn between controls over internal affairs and those over external affairs and trade. What we want Germany to do is to entangle itself and integrate itself with West. Germans must be convinced that their real interests lie there. Furthermore, Germans should become increasingly aware of fact that occupation forces are not repressive but are stationed in Germany to protect them and, hence that they should willingly and gladly contribute to their support as part of Germany in Western defense. We want Germany to develop foreign policy re Soviet Union and satellites like our own and not desire to enter in surreptitious political or economic arrangements with East. We also want Germany to take real part in Council of Europe, OEEC, including EPU, and GATT, and in general participate fully in expansionist domestic economic policy aimed particularly at reduction unemployment and increased production.

8. All of this requires vigorous exercise HICOM’s functions. This was not contradictory to allowing Germans to do more. They would act under guidance, influence and sometimes direction of HICOM.

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9. If Germany were to be persuaded to regard its interests as lying with West, Germans must in fact be with West. Unless West could offer Germany security and economic future, our efforts would be in vain. Secretary continued that if it is true period of time in which it would be possible for us strongly to influence Germans is limited, this meant we must get on with EPU, relax trade barriers, afford assistance in solving refugee problem, etc. Moreover all these matters must be treated at same time.

10. Secretary said he agreed with Schuman’s observation that work on specific problems re Germany must not give appearance of separate treaty. In his view this could be taken care of by careful attention to form. Schuman had also mentioned the French coal-steel proposal. We have already welcomed this and recognize fully its importance and appreciate initiative French have taken. Secretary also noted Schuman’s statement that plan is not “fait accompli”. Furthermore, it will affect all we have been discussing here including integration of Europe and relation of Canada and US to integration of Europe. Secretary hoped that idea will be further developed and suggested that other countries be kept in touch with developments and given opportunity to submit views. Plan can have all sorts of results. It can affect production, prices, wages and markets, and is important not only to participating countries but to others as well. If it results in expansion and liberalization trade, all will benefit. If, on other hand, plan should lead to restrictions, results would be bad. Finally, Secretary considered Schuman’s suggestion that HICOMs study plan as “most constructive”.

11. Bevin then entered discussion. Britain naturally considers that powers of the HICOMs should be continued. A main objective, however, is to engender respect among west Germans for democratic government. We want to get western Germans rather than HICOM to direct actions of their government. Question therefore arises as to how far we should keep Germans in “leading strings”, and this cannot be decided unless Allies themselves are clear on point. We must be careful not to create situation where Germans will lose respect for their government and slip back to old nationalist attitude. Therefore he liked idea embodied in MIN/TRI/P/7 of setting forth democratic line to be followed and indicating where if necessary HICOM should intervene to insure that it is being followed. This led to further question as to how far we should intervene German internal affairs. HICOM might profitably examine this point which is key one to correct handling of German problem. Bevin continued that any country should be allowed to make mistakes and that he saw no objection to permitting “conflict to rage a little between German Government [Page 1048] and people”. He had no objection to Schuman’s suggestion to possible removal controls over land governments always provided that this would not endanger prestige and security and requirements of occupation forces. He also agreed with Secretary’s suggestion that fundamental control should be maintained even if not exercised.

12. Bevin stated that in light of our discussion he thought MIST/TRI/P/7 paper and proposed draft declaration by three Foreign Ministers (document MIN/TRI/P/134) should be joined together. Furthermore, as we intended to publish latter, he thought that the more policy principles set forth in MIN/TRI/P/7 which were also included in MIN/TRI/P/3 the better it would be.

13. Bevin then stated that our plans for the evolution of Germany were hampered by conflict of policies of Governments which manifested itself in HICOM. Schuman’s coal-steel plan would have considerable influence on integration of Europe. People in UK have proceeded on basis of planned economy, and here they conflict with US and France. They also proceeded on basis of full employment and here there is conflict with policies of countries like Belgium. Finally there is a conflict between UK and France on preamble to Law 75. All of these are fundamentals which we as Allies do not have right to “bargain away” on behalf of Germans. British fearful of getting back to cartels which were one of causes of last war. British don’t believe German worker anxious to go to war any more than they are. Nevertheless German worker has never had a chance to speak. Accordingly HICOM should examine how Germans can exercise more control over their policies. UK is not opposed to Schuman plan but wants to be careful to see how it develops. If it develops well it can be most important factor, and British want to give it “welcome and helping hand”. Nevertheless we must not gloss over difficulties in HICOM and elsewhere in regard to our attitude on fundamental issues.

14. With regard Secretary’s suggestion that MIN/TRI/P/7 be rewritten, Bevin said that if he understood Secretary correctly, US wished to retain large measure of controls and that Britain and France wished to release them. If this were true, he didn’t see how we could reconcile the two documents. Furthermore, it would be bad from standpoint of Germans to reach “diplomatic” agreement here only to run into differences in approach later on.

15. Schuman observed at this point that he would like to allay any anxiety his remarks re relinquishment of controls in Laender might [have] occasioned. As he had said previously, his suggestion was purely a personal one as he had not discussed it with his government. Moreover it did not envisage abolition of HICOM legislative control [Page 1049] in Laender by merely elimination of Allied personnel. Schuman also agreed with Secretary that there was real need to bring about change in attitude of Germans. This could not be done through exercise controls but through cultural and educational contact, particularly with youth. On other hand, he did not consider that there was wide divergence in views on basic discussion which already had taken place this morning and in his opinion was no reason change wording MIN/TRI/P/7.

16. As regards coal and steel plan, Schuman desired that there be no “ambiguity or misunderstanding” as to its purpose. It is not intended to establish a cartel. Form and shape of agreements which will evolve from consideration of proposal will safeguard against price fixing and restrictions on production. In this connection he pointed out that plan envisages inter-governmental agreement and that governments as opposed to private enterprises are opposed to cartels. Schuman thanked Bevin for Attlee’s statement in Commons yesterday and said that it was all French could have “hoped for or expected”.5 He concluded that French under no illusions re seriousness of problem both from political and technical standpoints and therefore wish assistance from others in evolving plan. In reply Bevin’s enquiry Schuman said that in so far as French concerned trade unions will participate in discussions on plan. It was however up to each country which participated to decide whether or not its unions would be consulted. He hoped all would since such a revolutionary proposal could not be accepted without support of public opinion.

17. Secretary said there was possibility of some misunderstanding re our attitude. Question was not between relaxing and maintaining controls but of positive versus negative approach to German problems. With respect to Bevin’s statement re use of veto this was true if government should take anti-democratic action in US, UK, or France. However, it was not so in Germany where democracy still fragile. Therefore if HICOM should not exercise veto, he doubted if democratic elements would do so. On other hand he agreed that question is what powers should be used. In our view we can move faster in economic and industrial fields in giving up powers but that is more dangerous to do so in political field. Therefore desirable that in each case we consider whether or not we should use our powers. In most cases he thought HICOM could achieve its objectives by persuasion rather than by direct exercise of power.

18. Bevin inquired whether in view discussion which had already taken place Secretary still wished that policy paper be rewritten. [Page 1050] Secretary replied it was unnecessary to act on paper at all. Important thing was what was done re declaration on Germany and statement on German unity.6 In his opinion officials should prepare new draft of latter in light of our discussions. After some discussion Bevin and Schuman agreed.

19. Ministers then approved MIN/TRI/P/127 on terms of reference of working party and agreed on London as site.

20. Schuman proposed that in redrafting communiqué addition be made to effect that Foreign Ministers had full confidence in HICOMs. Secretary and Bevin concurred.

21. Schuman also stated that while French had no objection to present wording sub-paragraph (f) of declaration on unity calling for quadripartite agreement on cessation reparations from current production, he wished to make unilateral statement that France has never renounced principle to right of reparations in kind. This had been agreed to at Yalta but implementation postponed at Potsdam. In view French Government question can only be settled by agreement among all four occupation powers. Reservation, was one of principle which was made for internal political reasons and he did not wish to have it published. Bevin observed that French had never given [Page 1051] up claims of reparations out of current production and had always reserved their position on this point. Nevertheless he thought it might be desirable for Schuman to get his government to agree with US and UK to relinquish rights to reparations out of current production.

22. As meeting broke up for lunch Bevin announced Benelux foreign ministers would be received afternoon May 13.8

  1. Held at 10:30 a. m. at Lancaster House. Attending for the United States were Secretary Acheson, Douglas, McCloy, Cooper, Jessup, Bruce, and Byroade; for France, Foreign Minister Schuman, Massigli, Parodi, François-Poneet, Alphand, and Lebel; and for the United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Bevin, Younger, Kirkpatrick, Lord Henderson, Davies, and Sir Brian Robertson.
  2. For the text of MIN/TRI/P/7, see Secto 169, May 6, p. 932, and footnote 2 thereto.
  3. For the text of the Petersberg Protocol of November 22, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, p. 343.
  4. Dated May 7, p. 1086.
  5. For the text of Prime Minister Attlee’s statement on the Schuman Plan, given before the House of Commons on May 11, see Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th series, vol. 475, col. 587.
  6. The declaration and statement under reference here are the text and annex of MIN/TRI/P/13.
  7. This paper read:

    “It is agreed to recommend to the Ministers that there he established a high level Inter-governmental (Study Group on Germany, to commence its work as soon as possible, and to report at least preliminarily to the Ministers by September 30th, 1950.

    “The tasks of the Group would be to examine and report on the following questions:

    • “1. Review of the Occupation Statute.
    • “2. The status of the pre-war treaty obligations of the former German Reich.
    • “3. Plan for handling outstanding claims against Germany and Germans (including pre-war and post-war claims as well as those arising out of the war) and other economic and legal issues arising out of the war.
    • “4. Termination of the State of War.
    • “5. Implementation of Articles 18 and 19 Ruhr Agreement.
    • “6. Definition of German cooperation required to warrant relinquishment of controls.
    • “7. Such other problems as may be referred from time to time.

    “In discharging these tasks, the Study Group should be guided by the following principles:

    • “1. The Ministerial decisions on policy toward Germany.
    • “2. The political importance of finding a method by which the Federal Government may assume in a suitable proportion the obligations of the former German Reich, together with any connected rights.

    “The Study Group will probably find it necessary to work through subcommittees or to delegate Work to the High Commission.

    “The Study Group will meet in ——.”

    This paper as approved by the Ministers, MIN/TRI/P/12 Final, dated May 22, had a new preamble which read:

    “There will be established a high level Inter-governmental Study Group on Germany, to commence its work as soon as possible and to report at least preliminarily to the three Foreign Ministers by September 30th, 1950.”

    London was designated as the site for the meetings. (Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF 20)

  8. For a report on this meeting, see Secto 251, May 13, p. 1056.