740.5/10–1650: Memorandum

The Director of the Bureau of German Affairs, Department of State (Byroade) to the Secretary of Defense (Marshall)

top secret

General Marshall: Mr. Acheson requested that I prepare and send directly to you a paper along the lines of the attached for possible use in preparation for your meeting with Mr. Moch at 12:15 today. It is my understanding that the Secretary discussed this subject briefly with you on Friday by telephone.

Henry A. Byroade

Briefing Paper for Secretary Marshall

(Meeting With French Defense Minister on Oct. 16, 1950)

Moch is apparently calling upon you to discuss the question of the meeting of personal representatives of the Defense Ministers scheduled to start in Washington this week. We believe that he is prepared to agree that a French representative should attend these meetings but that he would like to discuss the matter with you first and perhaps receive certain assurances from you. He will probably wish assurance that we will not press for a decision on the German question in this meeting of the Defense Deputies.

Such an assurance can be of course readily given. In addition, Moch should be told the general purpose of the meetings. The Ministers’ agenda is crowded and the time set for the meeting is short. It is only [Page 1409] sensible staff procedure to have qualified representatives go over the papers and arrange the work for the Ministers in an orderly fashion. The meetings seem nothing to be excited about and the French representative will not be pressed to make decisions for his government. They will give opportunity for the representatives to become familiar with the thinking of the other nations and allow them to acquaint their Ministers and governments of this thinking before the Ministers meet. We consider this most important and remember the confusion caused by the French objection to our informing the other nations of our thinking before the last Council meeting. This had resulted in criticism of the United States and it also complicated the discussion in the Council. A similar situation should not arise in the Defense Committee Meeting.

We believe it would be well if you take advantage of the meeting to have a frank discussion with Moch about the German question. Moch is apparently becoming more and more bitter on this issue and determined to fight it even to the extent of resignation from the Cabinet. In working himself into this state of mind he has apparently become complacent about the Russian threat and espouses the real danger as being Germany. He frequently states that the Russian threat is only in the form of psychological warfare.

In this situation you might turn the conversation towards (1) a general discussion of the safeguards which we consider can be obtained if we attempt to secure German participation now, and (2) a statement of your views as to the present military situation in Europe, the danger of the Russian threat, and the possible limited time in which to prepare. The purpose of this approach would be to reassure Moch on the question of German units and at the same time, by laying the rather terrifying military situation on the line in a most forceful manner, to convince him that the situation is such that he cannot, as Defense Minister, oppose available assistance in the defense of his country.

There is attached hereto a list of the safeguards referred to above. The substance of these are in general agreed by State and JCS. We believe that it may be possible to work out additional safeguards in Germany. To refresh your memory there is also attached certain data pertaining to the military situation in Europe.

The following additional thoughts (which do not logically fall within the scope of the above annexes) might be effective:

This is not entirely a military force problem. The political implications may be even more important. The addition of German units to the military strength of the West can be no more important than securing German alliance to the West in a definitive manner. We would like to see Germany stand up and be counted with the West. We simply cannot afford to follow a course of hesitation that could lead to German neutrality or even worse.
The French wish the defense line moved as far to the east of their territory as possible. Do they ask us to commit ourselves to the defense of such a line and not take action to insure the support of the people of that area or to obtain advance commitment of the government of that area to allow us to be assured of active participation and proportional sacrifices? The French have provided no practical answer to this question. Certainly they do not wish the utilization of manpower in a military manner outside the integrated force and under German authority. Yet they must know that the only suggestions they have made (labor units, etc.) have such an obvious degree of unequality as to be unacceptable to the German Government and not win the active support of the German people. How do they propose that the defense line and possible fighting be moved beyond French soil?
History has certainly proven that the German people can accept a sense of mission. We believe this still to be the case and that the German industrialists would, in general, accept the cause of the defense of Western Europe as being over-riding if they are given a sense of responsibility by seeing their country have a dignified role in the defense effort. Without such a sense of responsibility the West cannot benefit fully by Germany’s industrial potential and her industrialists will certainly take advantage of the heavy burden on other economies to regain, without normal competition, her peacetime markets.

[Annex 1]

Safeguards in Provision of German Units

The Basic Safeguards:

German units would at no time be under the authority and command of the German Federal Republic;
German units would be dependent upon Western nations for vital and heavy items of equipment, including munitions therefor and essential spare parts;
Under this arrangement there need be no general staff as such in Germany but merely an administrative and logistical agency.

Additional Safeguards:

The maximum number of German units can be controlled by NATO. This could be done by fixing (1) an arbitrary maximum number, or sliding scale increase schedule; (2) an arbitrary ratio of the number of German units in comparison with Allied Divisions available for the defense of Western Europe. If the French wish, it might be possible to arrive in addition at a satisfactory proportion between German and French units;
As a practical matter, German units will start out far behind French units and always remain in lesser proportion. The fact that there are no preparations in Germany, and the equipment problem itself, makes this a practical fact;
The head of the Federal Agency in Germany could be a carefully selected civilian and steps could be taken to insure the democratic [Page 1411] implementation of such limited prerogatives as the Germans would have in the defense field;
The Occupying Powers would retain general supervision over officer recruitment and be extremely careful about reliance upon Germany’s old officer class. A great deal could be done now to influence the future German officer corps;
There would remain Prohibited and Limited Industries in Germany and a Military Security Board to exercise continued military control. Certain changes in these agreements would be necessary but Germany would be restricted to the contribution of ground units and prohibited from making vital military equipment.

The above and perhaps additional safeguards can be obtained if we act now. As time proceeds, it is a certainty that Germany would demand more and more a status of full equality in connection with the provision armed units. There is today in Germany a spirit for European integration which has been greatly aided by the efforts of the French. We desire to take advantage of this situa[tion …].1

[Annex 2]

Our intelligence sources inform us—

  • Soviet forces are in an advanced state of readiness for war and could initiate offensive operations without warning.
  • They could at any time seize and occupy Western Germany east of the Rhine, the North Sea ports, and the Low Countries.
  • With limited preparation and troop movement indicative of such intention, they could initiate an attack to overrun the entire continent of Europe, initially excluding the United Kingdom and the Iberian Peninsula.
  • The total USSR armed forces are more than 4,000,000 men and probably could be increased to 10,000,000 men in 30 days.
  • Over half the Soviet Army of 2,500,000 ground troops is stationed in the Western part of the USSR, Germany, and the Satellites.
  • The Soviet troop strength is increased by more than 600,000 men of the European Satellite armies under Soviet control.
  • We know that the Soviet Air Force has been developing strategic striking force and building up jet fighter units.
  • We know that the Soviet Navy has been emphasizing submarine warfare.

The above situation, coupled with the known long-range objectives of the Kremlin, have produced a situation which has convinced all our countries that we must sacrifice for our own security and do so quickly while we still have the shield of decided atomic superiority. The stated intentions of the French have indicated that they are fully aware of [Page 1412] this danger. Let us not minimize this danger in arguing a cause against German units or delude ourselves into thinking that the real danger is from Germany. The nature of Germany’s last defeat and the evolution of world affairs indicates that Germany can in the future be a military threat only if aligned with a major power or powers against us. The day has gone where Germany unaided could threaten the peace of the world. Let us make sure that Germany adds her weight to our side and that the Ruhr and German skill is not aligned against us.

We cannot ignore the steps being taken in the Soviet zone of Germany and elsewhere on the basis that these are moves in the psychological war of nerves. We can only assume in our planning that the following steps in Germany are indicative of greater intentions:

  • Airfield reconstruction accelerated. In at least seven locations long runways are being built; hangar space is being expanded; 356 swept wing jet fighters are already there.
  • Increased stockpiling of automotive aviation fuel. Controls are being tightened; civilian gasoline allotments have decreased notably.
  • Increasing stockpiling of all types of engines and replacement parts.
  • Intensified replacement military equipment with latest types.
  • Locomotives and freight cars in Soviet zone being prepared to meet any future wartime requirements. Preparations are being made to fit box cars with seats to hold maximum number of men. Bridges are being strengthened. Accelerated work being done on strategic railroad lines.
  • Bereitschaften training has been extended; concentration on officer type training indicates this force of cadre type for quick expansion.
  • Underground radio and communication centers being developed for tie-in with similar preparations throughout Satellite area.

  1. Parts of several lines are missing from the source text.