396.1–ISG/8–150: Telegram

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


Sigto 82. 1. First item on ISG plenary agenda yesterday was report of Deputies on review of Occupation Statute.1 Mentioning that it was merely progress report Gainer suggested that heads of delegations only take note of it rather than discuss paper in detail. Douglas and [Page 759] Massigli agreed. Gainer then made general statement re Deputies examination of Occupation Statute stressing “enormous range” of problem and “considerable divergence” of views as to how it should be revised. There appeared to be danger that ISG has been paying too much attention to details rather than to principles. In view international situation it would seem desirable to approach matter “boldly” and to contemplate “maximum relaxation of controls”, thus encouraging Germans to take their place in west. Such an approach might be gamble, but in British opinion “gamble well worth taking.”

2. Massigli replied that he was not so pessimistic re document. Real problem is whether governments are prepared to surrender considerable powers to Germans or only to suspend exercise such powers.

3. Douglas said that there were number of different issues to consider such as Occupation Statute, termination of state of war, prewar treaties, and debts and claims. It was difficult to have clear view on any one individually and even more so collectively. Nevertheless they are all related to one another. As he saw it, task is to determine what we wish to do with Germans and then try to fit these particular questions in to general context. In his view, 2 basic objectives of occupation powers are to weld Germany into west and to encourage, foster and develop in Germans deep desire for rights of individual and attachment for representative government. Assuming correctness definition of objectives, important question is what we must do to achieve them. Douglas emphasized desirability of selective approach, asserting that there are some things we can do and others in which we should act in restrained manner. With respect to Occupation Statute there are number of powers that can be abandoned, some that can be given up or suspended contingent upon completion programs and others which might be relinquished in return for German undertakings. As regards status of Federal Republic, question to be determined is whether we wish to make public definition or merely to reach understanding among 3 powers as to its status. If we publicly state that Federal Republic is only government capable of speaking for Germans which is another way of saying that Federal Republic is government of Germany, perplexing questions might be raised affecting relations with Soviets such as the position of Berlin. We must draw distinction between public statement re status of Federal Republic and private understanding in regard to matter.

4. Douglas continued that termination state of war must be approached against same backdrop and measures to be taken to deal with consequences thereof such as rights of Germans to litigate in our courts. PLI must likewise be examined in this context. He concluded that impossible for ISG to lay before ministers definite, precise documents representing our view on which they can act. Nevertheless it would be possible to submit to them clear statement of principles and [Page 760] clear statement of objectives on basis of which they could issue instructions to ISG or its successor re steps to be taken to attain basic objectives of occupation.

5. Gainer asserted that status of Federal Republic was particularly important matter and unless we are very clear on this point, it would be impossible to discuss prewar treaties and debts and claims. He questioned however practicability further suggestion made by Douglas that Federal Republic might itself assume certain obligations of Reich and accept in principle responsibility for meeting them within limit of its present capacities, maintaining that this might emphasize division of Germany. Massigli also expressed certain misgivings re reaction in East Zone to suggested procedure, asserting position of west occupation powers different from that after “victory of Berlin” and, hence we should consider what we can do “within framework of practicabilities”. He did not mean to imply that we should abandon initiative but merely that we should not overlook “immediate implications” of any action west powers might take.

[Here follows a discussion of the future work of the ISG and agreement that the delegations would reassemble on August 16 after consulting With their Governments.]

Sent Department Sigto 82, repeated info Paris 179, Frankfort 105.

  1. Under reference here is IGG(50)35 Final, dated July 31, not printed (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 196: Intergovernmental Study Group Papers IGG(50) 1–39). The minutes of this fourth plenary meeting are in CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 198: USDelISG(50) Meetings (P)4.