762A.5/8–2550: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany ( McCloy ) to the Secretary of State


101. Had long session with Adenauer.1 Took him to task for his two last interviews pointing out that public criticism of Laender governments and High Commission and playing up of eastern might versus western plight were only contributing to weakening West German morale and will to resist. Moreover that parallel approach to New York Times 2 and High Commission were scarcely the way to deal with serious problems at such a time as this, etc. He took it without any marked reaction. Informed him that talks in Washington, London, Paris with regard to European army and general defense problems were going on and much was being done particularly in the United States toward increasing western strength. In the meantime it was no time to increase the already anxious attitudes of the German people.

Adenauer replied that as early as last fall he had pleaded for German security before High Commission and received no responses, that London conference had produced no practical result.

I pointed out that London conference had resulted in statement, “attack upon Germany under present conditions equals attack upon US, UK and France”. This most important and first time in our history that we had given such a statement.

Adenauer agreed but stated this guarantee not too highly regarded in Germany as they did not wish to be overrun by Soviets first and thereafter liberated by US.’ This would mean end of western culture and Communist revolutions in France and Italy would undoubtedly ensue.

I countered that there must be an end to this constant fear of mass attack and defeatism, that maybe they did not relish the idea of liberation after the event any more than we did the thought of having to liberate them but this statement was the best we would give. It remained a very significant pronouncement. It was now time for something besides disparagement of everything done and being done in the way of German protection and rehabilitation. I then asked him just what he did want and told him if this was made clear he could be sure we would examine any proposal seriously. He stated that he [Page 711] believes that Soviets will use eastern Volkspolizei to “liberate” Western Germany without involving their own forces; also that if we do not permit the Germans to arm, the Soviets after overrunning West Germany would put them into uniforms and force them to fight on their side. Adenauer proceeded to set forth his reasons for desire of strong police force. Details of this proposal outlined in informal memorandum which he submitted just before meeting and which we are air pouching.3 His thinking has changed since Times interview as his people’s police, army like proposals, ran into strong opposition from Poncet and Schumacher. Instead of heavy-equipped people’s police, he now wants well-trained motorized federal police equipped with small arms, machine guns, mortars, et cetera. Along lines of Schutzpolizei under Weimar Republic. This force would serve for maintenance of inner order and would also be useful in international emergencies. He is still undecided on size of such force, has applications for 40,000. It may eventually run up to around 1,000,000. It is interesting that he stated this new proposal, contrary to the one in Times interview, would meet with Schumacher approval. Any regular military force he now wants only within frame of European army and defense.

What he asks would require constitutional amendment which he says he can get but it takes time to put this through Bundestag. In meantime as time is critical he wants Commission to declare an emergency and direct him from point of view of security and emergency to start creating this force acting under article 3 of occupation statute. Such action to be followed [by] ratification by Bundestag in 60 to 90 days. He speaks of guarantees to insure democratic character, etc.

He would also go ahead with 10,000 increase in Laender police and would ask for a reorganization of existing Laender police to make more efficient and cull out subversives.

Kirkpatrick has stated he strongly favors Times proposal as well as one earlier put forward by saying that our rejection of any contribution to a critical defense problem would be intolerable—that we are receiving some additional strength and getting it without conditions—later they may well insist on conditions or considerations from us before they will be prepared to do as much. He refers to fact [Page 712] that Adenauer is being criticized in a number of circles for failure to exact conditions before making his proposal.

Imagine French would still oppose because of federal aspect.

  1. The session began at 5:30 p. m. Earlier in the day at an executive session the High Commissioners had agreed that the question of German rearmament should be discussed by the Foreign Ministers at their meeting in September. The Commissioners also discussed various aspects of the police problem. (Telegram 92, August 24, from Bonn, not printed, 740.00/8–2450)
  2. In a New York Times interview on August 17, Adenauer had urged the creation of Federal defense forces equal to the Soviet Zone Peoples’ Police and had called for the stationing of two or three more U.S. divisions in Europe. (New York Times, August 18, p. 10)
  3. Not found in Department of State files; however, on August 29, Adenauer sent a similar memorandum, not printed, to McCloy as the Chairman of the High Commission with the hope that he would transmit it to the Western Foreign Ministers for consideration at their September meeting. It outlined the extent of forces in the Soviet zone and the weakness of police and military forces in the Federal Republic, requested again additional occupation troops and creation of a Federal police force (by amending the Basic Law if necessary); and repeated the Chancellor’s willingness to contribute a German contingent to an international Western European army. (762A.5/8–2950) For a summary of this memorandum, see Konrad Adenauer, Memoirs, 1945–1953 (Chicago, Henry Regnery Company, 1966), pp. 279–280.