762A.00/9–2550: Telegram

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


2572. Following Saturday’s tripartite meeting I had a further conversation with Chancellor Sunday morning and reviewed in greater detail with him results of New York meeting.1

Adenauer said that increased garrisons promised by allies had already greatly enhanced sense of security among Germans who despite increase in occupation costs would welcome their presence. Some however feared more French troops would mean more Communists.

Re New York proposals for mobile police, Adenauer thought these could be worked out, although SPD would undoubtedly attempt to utilize this opportunity to increase powers of Bund vis-à-vis Laender. Chancellor did not consider that emergency within the meaning of Article 91 of constitution had yet arisen which would permit use of emergency powers of Bund. He was anxious to avoid use of these [Page 725] special powers since they could be terminated by simple majority of Bundesrat which is controlled by Laender and since his difficulties with Laender are not yet resolved. He believed, however, that terms of New York communiqué would permit measures necessary to create and maintain force without recourse to Article 91.

Chancellor then said he understood clearly the necessity of accepting responsibility for pre-war debts of Reich and did not believe this requirement would create difficulties in Bundestag.

In discussing possibility of future German contingents in European Army Adenauer said that, when François-Poncet had stressed to him privately on [Saturday?] that French public opinion must be given time to accustom itself to the idea, he had replied that public opinion Germany likewise presented problems. Although the Chancellor dismissed the idea that Germany might attach conditions to its participation such as recognition of equality of status, he admitted that total defeat and defamation of German military character had left deep marks here. In his opinion it would be necessary to place the rearmament of Germany in its proper relation to Europe as a whole and its defense. He said Germany must be told that best way to preserve peace is to create force strong enough to discourage aggression and that allies cannot make sacrifices for Germany’s defense unless Germany itself is willing to contribute. If that approach can be made and Germany asked for a contribution, Chancellor felt there would be no trouble, except possibly from some elements in the Protestant Church such as Niemöller and Heinemann2 who are insisting that Germany stand aloof from both west and east and take no measures for defense. Chancellor said it would also be helpful if, when the time comes, Germany could be told what specific contribution would be expected from it. It is apparent that Adenauer now desires initiative for German armed contribution come from allies.

Chancellor asked when training starts if a US General could be assigned here as adviser since German officers are no longer in touch with latest developments and will need guidance.

He reverted then to Heinemann’s letter of resignation over rearmament issue. He said he had been most reluctant to accept this but felt it would not be delayed much longer as latter was pressing. He said Protestant Synod does not agree with Niemöller and Heinemann, but latter’s influence could not be overlooked and it was important to avoid representing themselves as sole champions of peace in Western Germany.

Throughout conversation Adenauer seemed more confident than in recent talks and less inclined to attack conditions. No doubt that this [Page 726] is partly due to turn in Korean campaign but I also believe security guarantee contained in communiqué exceeded his expectations. It may likewise have postponed demands for equality of status and reduced some potential objections to continued occupation. It is important, however, that new status be promptly defined and necessary agreements executed without delay.

Sent Department 2572, repeated information London 189, Paris 210.

  1. For a summary report of Adenauer’s meeting with the Allied High Commissioners on September 28. see telegram 165, September 24, p. 657.
  2. Martin Niemöller, President of the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau, and Gustav W. Heinemann, Minister of the Interior, both opposed a German contribution to a European Army. Heinemann tendered his resignation on this issue and Adenauer accepted it in October.