396.1–ISG/7–1250: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Intergovernmental Study Group on Germany to the Secretary of State


Sigto 35. Following is roundup of first week of ISG.

Work of group got under way with immediate initiation of committee work on termination of state of war, status of prewar treaties and German foreign debt and claims on Germany. Preliminary discussion on Occupation Statute by Heads of delegation and committee discussions brought out fair amount of information on British and French attitudes.
At outset of meeting, British introduced proposals on organization of work which differed in several respects from views they expressed prior to meeting: (a) Target date for completion of work suggested as September 1, in order to permit full consideration of report at New York FonMin’s meeting; (b) Top priority to Occupation Statute, which British considered to be of overriding importance; (c) Separation of Occupation Statute from other items on agenda for purposes of report. Since FonMins had fixed September 30 as date for at least preliminary report and British apparently envisaged final report as September 1, proposal involves considerable acceleration in time schedule. Both US and French delegations insisted all items on agenda were interrelated and report must cover all. They also questioned that ISG required to complete work before New York meeting. British appear to have accepted both points.
British attitude as indicated in meetings seems to be that major change should be made in fall in Allied relations with FedRep involving: (a) Virtual termination of controls in foreign relations field and probably in numerous other fields other than those affecting security and status of occupation forces; (b) Resumption of diplomatic relations; (c) Termination of state of war; and (d) Recognition of FedRep as successor to Reich. While they have not as yet sketched out in full their ideas on relaxation of controls, their position may be indicated in part by the suggestion that power to ensure respect for Basic Law and land constitutions should be given up completely as soon as Germans set up constitutional court and that right to disapprove constitutional changes might be retained only if changes involved threat to basic purposes of occupation. They apparently envisage that relaxation of controls would give rise to some kind of new agreement with the FedRep comparable to Petersberg agreement.1 [Page 748] They have not indicated very clearly what this agreement would contain, except that they envisage that in certain cases some contractual arrangement might be substituted for present reserved powers. (They have only indicated the status of foreign property and claims against Germany as illustrations.)
French have stressed abolition of controls over internal matters, including possible abolition of all controls over land legislation. While they are prepared to enlarge functions of FedRep in foreign relations field, they seem to wish to impose rather important restrictions on its freedom of action. In committee discussions, French have stressed necessity for dealing with various questions on provisional de facto basis, with the result that numerous matters would be decided by Allied fiat or by Allied negotiation. This attitude has had curious result that frequently British and French seem to agree on specific matters, whereas their basic positions are perhaps some distance apart. Neither of them has expressed great interest in working out any general program for German acceptance. In British case, this apparently reflects desire for unilateral Allied action to improve relationship with Germany. In French case, it probably rests on view that sufficient powers should be retained to impose on Germans solutions to questions on which we wish settlement.
US delegation has stressed necessity for finding solutions which will permit Germany to establish closer relations with west, citing foreign affairs as example of field in which larger German responsibility might be contemplated. However, supreme authority powers related to basis of occupation and essential security controls must be maintained.
By end of week, agreement had been reached on terms of request for information from HICOM on working of Occupation Statute and more detailed discussion in ISG will take place this week. This discussion will undoubtedly bring more sharply into focus attitudes on certain important issues, but detailed discussion on numerous points must await HICOM report which will presumably not be available for several weeks. Political Committee has made reasonably satisfactory progress on termination of state of war, but substantial differences of opinion are beginning to emerge on question of successorship to Reich. Economic Committee has been completing survey of prewar debts. British, with French agreement, have pressed for discussion of successorship issue on Reich debt, while US has urged complete inventory of problems in whole field of claims, debts and other economic and legal issues arising from the war. Discussions have been somewhat slowed down by lack of adequate preparation on part French delegation.

Sent Department Sigto 35; repeated info Frankfort 41, Paris 71.

  1. For the text of the Petersberg Protocol, November 22, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, p. 343.