740.5/1–951: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany ( McCloy ) to the Embassy in Belgium 1

top secret

95. Urgent for General Eisenhower, Hotel Astoria, Paris. Feel strongly that failure to visit Germany would seriously and adversely affect developments here.2 Not to do so would (1) depress spirits here where they most need strengthening due to weight and imminence of Soviet pressure, (2) prejudice an idea that Western European force was designed to defend Germany as well as areas west of Rhine, (3) accent Communist propaganda now at full blast here to effect that you have refused to shake hands with Germans and are disdainful of them.3 Besides, this is where the bulk of your command is and it seems rather artificial to me for you to call commanders out of Germany and away from their commands when you are making such extensive visits elsewhere. If you had stayed in one place and called upon others to visit you there, it would have been a different story but to blank out Germany now would be too pointed. We can emphasize the character of your visit as one to your command; stay away from Bonn and political comments; have in a few Germans at informal gathering at my home, together with others, and I believe there will be no unfortunate repercussions anywhere and substantial help will be given here. Have talked this over with Handy who fully agrees and points out [Page 402] that announcement has already appeared in Stars and Stripes 4 and German papers that you are to visit Germany.

  1. This telegram was repeated to Paris, to Heidelberg for General Handy, and to the Department of State, the source text printed here.
  2. General Eisenhower’s tentatively approved itinerary of January 2 provided for a visit to Frankfurt, January 21–23. In a personal message to Secretary Acheson (Army message DTG 082345Z, January 8, from Paris), which was repeated to High Commissioner McCloy at Frankfurt, General Eisenhower stated the following:

    “I am becoming increasingly doubtful of the advisability of visiting Germany at this time. My doubts are based on the adverse propaganda surrounding the question of German rearmament. As alternative would plan on meeting the three Allied commanders at some designated point outside Germany, probably Paris.”

    In his brief message, the General went on to acknowledge that there might he other considerations, and he asked for an expression of Secretary Acheson’s views and those as well of McCloy. (740.5/1–951)

  3. For information on Eisenhower’s attitude toward the German officer corps, see Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 156–157.
  4. Unofficial newspaper of the U.S. Army, published daily in Germany for American occupation forces.