762A.5/1–1751: Telegram

The United States Deputy High Commissioner for Germany ( Hays ) to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

463. Personal for Byroade from Hays eyes only. Technical committee met with German representatives in their second meeting in regard to German contribution to the defense of Western Europe.2 Chairman (Ward UK) opened the meeting with following remarks:

“At our last meeting Herr Blank was particularly interested to know the size of the German land forces which the North Atlantic Treaty powers considered that the Federal Republic should contribute to the common defense of Western Europe. As explained at the last meeting it is not possible to give precise details as to the future strength of the forces which will come under General Eisenhower’s integrated command, and as then indicated much will necessarily depend on General Eisenhower’s own recommendations. However, the matter has been considered by the Allied High Commissioners and I am instructed on their behalf to tell Herr Blank that the Federal Government is authorized to prepare plans for the raising of a total of 100,000 ground troops between now and the end of 1951.3 I must emphasize that this figure relates exclusively to the, German land forces which the Federal Government would contribute to General Eisenhower’s command and does not include such service organizations composed of German citizens as the allied forces in Germany need to maintain their own administrative support.

I should also emphasize that the figure of 100,000 for land forces up to the end of 1951 relates to the immediate transitional period and is without prejudice to longer term arrangements which will have to be worked out in connection with both the French proposal for a European Army and possible later developments on the NATO structure and plans after General Eisenhower has had time to develop his own plans.

The Allied High Commissioners hope that, having received this information, Herr Blank will now be able, as requested at the last meeting, to give an idea of the Federal Government’s proposals for recruitment, accommodation, equipment and training of the German land forces.

After we discuss the German proposals for these administrative arrangements we might discuss the size, organization and composition of the combat elements to be contributed by Germany.

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In discussing the size, organization and composition of the combat elements to be contributed by Germany, the view of our governments is that we should be guided by the consideration that an interim arrangement should permit immediate recruitment, organization and training of units of a size which is useful for combat without prejudicing the later agreements which may result from the conference on the European Army.4 We are now in a position to discuss with you the form, character and size of the units to be created during this interim period.

During this interim period we are authorized to agree on a size of combat unit which is so organized and equipped with appropriate arms and services as to be self-sustaining in combat.

Such units would correspond to the British reinforced brigades or US reinforced combat teams, containing in balanced proportions infantry, armor, artillery, with accompanying communications, engineer and service troops.

However, when these regimental combat teams or brigade groups are formed and trained, the question of the manner in which they should be used must be determined in the light of conditions at the time, due weight being given to the views of the Supreme Commander.”

Further comments follow in another cable.5

[ Hays ]
  1. Repeated to Frankfurt eyes only for McCloy and to Heidelberg eyes only for Handy.
  2. The meeting took place on January 16 at Petersberg.
  3. McCloy had reported in telegram 256 from Bonn, January 11, not printed, that the Council of the Allied High Commission had agreed to inform the West Germans that they “could make provisions as an interim measure for FedRep contingents up to 100,000 men in uniform.” (762A.5/1–1151) The Department of State had noted this figure in telegram 4899, January 15, to Frankfurt, not printed, but had proposed a figure of 195,000 men instead (762A.5/10–1551). Apparently McCloy was unable to obtain High Commission agreement on the higher figure.
  4. For documentation on the Conference for the Organization of a European Defense Community, sometimes referred to as the European Army Conference, which opened in Paris on February 14, see pp. 755 ff.
  5. Telegram 464, infra.