762A.5/7–650: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Douglas ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

112. Eyes only for the Secretary. In compliance with Deptel 3224 (repeated Frankfort 4695, Paris 3105)1 Holmes and I took up matter today with Prime Minister, Mallet of German section FonOff present. I explained that we were very much concerned with the reports, which we believed to be correct, of unilateral discussions between HMG representatives and Germans concerning German police force and even rearmament of Germany. I referred to the encouragement which Robertson appeared to have given Adenauer and Robertson’s views in regard to the rearmament of Germany. I also pointed to the conversations which von Schwerin was reported to have had with British officials in London.

These activities and discussions raised, I said, two important questions which were giving us great anxiety. The first question was the impropriety of unilateral negotiations with representatives of the German Republic or, if not negotiations, at least giving encouragement for the German Government to take a position on matter in respect of which the HICOM had not yet reached a decision. Continuation of the practice, I indicated, would cause a serious deterioration of the prestige, dignity and authority of the HICOM itself, if in fact it would not reduce the status of the HICOM to a low level.

The second question which these activities under discussion raised, was that of the rearmament of the German indirectly if not directly through the organization of a police force. The seriousness of the question emphasized the dangerous nature of unilateral discussions [Page 696] on matters about which the HICOM was not in complete agreement. Beyond this, the matter of rearmament of Germany was, we felt, at the moment premature. Any discussion of a police force should be held within the limits of a pure federal police force and should not, by implication or otherwise give rise to suspicions about the rearmament of Germany.

The Prime Minister who had not been thoroughly briefed on the subject of the police force, indicated that he agreed that the practice of backstage consultation was dangerous. He would, he said, look into the whole matter.2

Sent Department 112, repeated info Frankfort 19 (eyes only for McCloy), Paris 38 (eyes only for Bruce).

Douglas
  1. Not printed; in it Secretary Acheson requested Douglas to present to Prime Minister Attlee the United States view as indicated in telegram 4428 of June 21 (p. 689) (762A.5/6–2450).
  2. In telegram 157, July 8, from London, not printed, Douglas reported that Attlee had given him an oral reply, denying any British discussions of remilitarization with Adenauer. Kirkpatrick’s conversations with von Schwerin “had been informal and had occurred because von Schwerin had been useful prewar intelligence contact.” Attlee stated further that the British position on remilitarization remained unchanged. Douglas believed that the representations to the Prime Minister would “serve as a useful warning and would deter further unilateral acts by British vis-à-vis Germans.” (762A.5/7–850)