762A.00/11–1750: Telegram

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

top secret

319. Eyes only for Acheson and Byroade (no other distribution to be made on this cable). Verbatim text. AGSec from Slater,1 Following is summary report of executive session held between AHC Council and Chancellor Adenauer, Bonn-Petersberg 16 November 1950 (report of routine business contained Bonn’s 314 to Department of 16 November2).

1. Meeting was held at Adenauer’s request to give him opportunity to present his views on general political situation particularly in light of recent Bundestag debate on foreign affairs and rearmament. After disposing of normal Council business, Adenauer presented HICOM with paper he has labeled “aide-mémoire”, verbatim text of which contained paragraph 2 below. I believe this paper is result of Adenauer’s conclusions on Bundestag debate and his feeling that German public was confused, lacked any marked will to resist; was not prepared to make sacrifices in defense of freedom; and in general was not willing to take vigorous position vis-à-vis East. In view of these feelings and tactics of Schumacher and Evangelical church, which appear to be exerting great influence on German public, Adenauer has been looking for something to invigorate the scene. I believe text contained in paragraph 2 below should be read in that light.

I feel very much as Adenauer does that the situation is not good and may be serious. Also I feel Adenauer’s outright championship of West has to be supported. We can see no one else who has taken similar stands.

2. Following is verbatim text of paper Adenauer presented to HICOM:

“Although I am of the opinion that a majority of the Bundestag will be in favor of making a contribution to the defense of Europe, the successful agitation of the Social-Democratic Party, radio comments, newspaper articles—including even so-called neutral sheets—still show that the idea of making a contribution and of assuming obligations is not finding the acceptance among the German people that it should. In order to overcome the hesitant attitude of the German people, it will be necessary to convince them that the Federal Republic of Germany is free, or that there is at least the prospect of obtaining complete freedom for it soon, that sacrifices are therefore worthwhile. I urgently ask that the psychological preparation of the [Page 781] German people be made easier by appropriate steps of the occupying powers. Ever since the New York Conference of Foreign Ministers the world situation has grown acute so rapidly that in my opinion, some generous acts towards Germany must be forthcoming from the Western Allies without delay, acts which can be understood by everybody. Otherwise it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to win over the minds of the German people to a voluntary cooperation in the defense of Europe.

I take the liberty of drawing attention especially to the following problems:

I. Revision of the Occupation Statute

The information I have received so far indicates that it is only intended to abolish Allied controls with respect to some items, or to relax them, while maintaining in principle the present system of Allied rule. Under the present circumstances I no longer consider such a revision of the Occupation Statute as sufficient. May I call to mind my memorandum of 29 August 19503 in which I termed it a necessity ‘that the relations of Germany to the occupying powers be put on a new basis and that they be progressively regulated by a system of contractual agreements’. I consider that an early realization of this proposal is necessary.

II. Occupation Costs

The question of the amount of occupation costs and of Germany’s contribution to the expense of a common defense requires careful examination. The overall extent of Germany’s burdens must be fixed by taking into account the special social responsibilities which have fallen upon the Federal Republic, such as the question of expellees from the East and the repair of the most serious war damages. In his address on 17 October 1950 in San Francisco,4 President Truman had pointed out the interrelationship of strength in dealing with the outside world and social security at home. ‘We are strong because of our system of social security’, he said. Indeed, outer and inner strength and security cannot be separated from each other. If the Federal Republic were compelled by virtue of the cost of occupation and of the defense of Europe to reduce its contributions for so purposes in spite of increased taxation, the internal security of the Federal Republic would be endangered and the will to defense thereby lowered.

The Federal Republic is willing to have independent neutral experts re-examine its financial capacity taking into account its social responsibilities.

III. Individual Problems

It would seem to be urgent to clear up the following individual problems:

A. Economic:

Immediate stoppage of all dismantling, specifically in Watenstedt-Salzgitter, Toging, as well as Dortmund Horder-Huttenverein (10,000 tons forge press).
Considerable relaxation in the field of prohibited and limited industries, specifically unlimited construction of ships for German account.
Authority to operate on the Fischer-Tropsch process production license for Chemischen Werke, Bergkamen.
Participation of the Federal Government in all questions of deconcentration and decartelization.
Relaxation of the numerous existing controls upon scientific research which would facilitate increased production considerably.
Early settlement of the restitution problem.

B. Legal:

Halting the extradition of Germans to foreign countries as incompatible with Article 16, paragraph 2 of the basic law.
Suspension or termination as quickly as possible of all war crimes trials; commutation of all death sentences not yet executed to sentences of confinement, since capital punishment has been abolished by Article 102 of the basic law; widest possible clemency for persons sentenced to confinement including those serving sentences in foreign countries.
Complete restoration of German sovereignty in the administration of justice.
All persons residing in Germany should in principle be subject to the jurisdiction of German courts, with exemptions restricted to a minimum.
Restoration of the legal status existing prior to approximately 1933 in the field of radio broadcasting. In view of the acute international and internal political situation existing at present, it does not seem appropriate that the propaganda monopoly of radio is in the hands of persons who are not accountable either to the Legislature or to the government.”

3. Cited below in considerable detail are certain remarks Adenauer made in explaining his position and his paper:

a. German military contribution. Adenauer stated that on basis of newspaper reports it appeared that NATO representatives have reached or are about to reach agreement on German participation in form of brigades which would be integrated in US/European army. He stated that although former German generals felt that from military standpoint minimum German contribution should be in division strength, he would agree to German contribution in form of brigades if NATO experts felt that for technical, and not political, considerations brigade strength was sufficient.

Adenauer stated he was not clear what internal reasons SPD had in their opposition as he stated that behind closed door Schumacher had stated his complete agreement with him. He continued that ‘there is no point in talking to anybody else belonging to SPD except Schumacher’. Adenauer was convinced that Brauer of Hamburg and Kaisen of Bremen, (both SPD leaders) who do not share opinion of SPD in this matter would not succeed in their deviationist programs either. In his opinion, SPD attitude on German participation was compromised in campaign politics leading up to landtag elections in Hesse and Bavaria.

Finally, he stated that he would not make another attempt to have a reconciliation of views with Schumacher as this would only convince [Page 783] latter that he was entirely right. However, he stressed that if issue of German participation were voted upon in Bundestag, SPD would either abstain or would vote ‘yes’ but definitely would not vote ‘no’. Adenauer had not asked for vote after recent debate even though he knew that he could have achieved majority, as through such vote SPD would have had to commit itself.

Adenauer rejected views expressed by Sandys5 in Parliament that Western countries should press for European army in order that German units, after present emergency, would not be able to be formed into dependent army. Rather, he believed everything must be done to prevent German brigades, if formed, from considering themselves as a state within a state; not as a special caste but as part of German people and subject to civilian control. He stated that in order “to make this lesson plain to all former German generals,” he requested Schwerin’s dismissal on basis that Schwerin had started to become involved in politics. He pointed out that Blank, Schwerin’s successor, was not professional militarist and had broad civilian background.6

b. State of German public opinion. Adenauer stated that German public was not willing to make sacrifices for freedom “and preferred to have other people sacrifice for them.” He continued that Communists and certain circles of SPD were capitalizing on this feeling. In this connection, he stated that Molotov at Prague conference gave instructions that conciliatory line be taken towards West Germany and that nationalistic and German unity themes form basis of their propaganda program.7

In his opinion, SPD agitation was based on 2 principles; (1) “that it was better for the Germans to be in full possession of their limbs and houses which were intact, even though they were under a Bolshevist regime, than to have broken limbs and live in holes in the ground”, and (2) “that the Western Allies were not serious in their pledge to defend West Germany and that they only desired to utilize German troops for stalling maneuvers”.

Adenauer continued that Federal Government cannot go very far at this time with their publicity designed to make the German people understand what was at stake as no positive question had yet been put to the Federal Government by the Western Powers. He stated, however, once the question had been put, and with support of the Western Allies, that he had no doubts Federal Government would succeed in winning over large majority of German public support.

In presenting his paper to HICOMS, he stated that it was not a condition or a demand but merely that “something has to be done in order to bring majority of German people to a change of mind”.

At this point Dr. Adenauer reviewed in detail his paper placing special stress on the necessity for halting extraditions of Germans.

4. As chairman, I told Adenauer that HICOM would have to study his memorandum before commenting on particular points contained [Page 784] therein. I did state, however, that whereas his paper suggested that certain further fundamental steps be taken, it would be advisable in first instance to clear up matters which are presently outstanding in order that there would be an open stage to cope with proposals he had made. Poncet stated that the points raised by Adenauer were within competence of Allied Governments and not within HICOM’s competence. I stressed Chancellor’s paper should be handled with great discretion as if it appeared that his paper was a condition put forward as a sort of trade for German contribution, it would have most disastrous effect particularly in US. Adenauer assured Council his paper was not presented as a condition for German participation and that he had not yet discussed these matters with either Federal Cabinet or leading Bundestag members.8

  1. Joseph E. Slater, United States Secretary on the Secretariat of the Allied High Commission for Germany.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For the text of Adenauer’s August 29 memorandum, see Konrad Adenauer, Memoirs, 1945–1953 (Chicago, Henry Regnery Company, 1966), pp. 280–281.
  4. For the text of President Truman’s speech, see Department of State Bulletin, October 30, 1950, pp. 683–686.
  5. For the text of Duncan Sandys’ statements during debate on the Council of Europe on November 13, see Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th series, vol. 480, cols. 1408 ff.
  6. Adenauer had appointed Gen. Gerhard Graf von Schwerin as his military adviser on August 11 and replaced him in October with Theodor Blank, a CDU member of the Bundestag.
  7. Concerning the conference at Prague, October 21, see the editorial note, p. 665.
  8. For another account of this meeting, see Adenauer, Memoirs, pp. 302–304.