762A.5/1–1751: Telegram

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

top secret

464. Eyes only for Byroade from Hays. Reference Bonn 463 today’s date,2 further discussion was as follows:

Bérard, France, stated that Schuman and Pleven were now consulting in regard to their choice of a chairman for the Conference on European Army, and hoped that the date of the European Army Conference could be announced in the very near future.

Blank, Germany, stressed psychological problems which confront Germany. Stated he assumed that German military contribution should be effective and useful contribution; therefore, the pre-conditions as [Page 994] set forth by the Chancellor in his statement last Sunday,3 some of which was of a political nature, should be pointed out first. It was agreed that Germans would furnish the Allies with an accurate copy of this statement which consisted of the following points:

Adequate Allied land troops and air forces must be stationed in the Federal Republic to give protection to German rearmament.
The Occupation Powers must be transformed into contractual agreements.
The Allied High Commission must be turned into a “Conference of Ambassadors”.
German units must be given military equality as regards their organization, armament and command structures.
Adequate financial assistance would be required by the Federal Republic.

Blank then stated that a study was being made as to whether or not German contingents would be afforded protection under international law in the Hague convention. It might wish to raise this question later.

Blank said that only under assumption that the above pre-conditions would be created would he be able to outline to the High Commission the German plan for participation in the defense of Europe.

The allied representatives pointed out to the German delegation that it was beyond their competence to give any assurance in regard to the above pre-conditions, and made it clear that by participating in further discussions the Allied representatives were not committing their governments to satisfaction of the pre-conditions as listed above.

Blank then stated that after agreement has been reached by the Bundestag to participate in the European defense a minimum delay of three or four months will be required to set up the appropriate Federal office and to pass the necessary legislation. (It appeared from the discussion that the Germans are unwilling to take preparatory steps such as drafting of legislation, conscription laws, et cetera, prior to the agreement by the Bundestag on the issue as a whole.)

General Speidel then made the following comments: Demilitarization has been so effectively carried out that there is no basis in Germany for the organization and equipment of German troops. The first step would be to create a Federal office in charge of administration and personnel. The Federal Republic have no statistical records so they must gather from old Wehrmacht records or from German organizations such information as they can, in regard to Germans with prior service which would be suitable as cadres. Initial nuclei and cadres [Page 995] would be obtained from volunteers except where it might be necessary to conscript certain skilled specialists. The ethical standards and training of the cadres would have a great influence on the combat efficiency of the units created. Therefore, they would plan to make a special effort to secure cadres of best qualified personnel.

If a general conscription law is introduced, it should be based on the model of the conscription law now in effect in the US.

When queried in regard to the Federal office in charge of German military contribution, Speidel stated that the head of this office must be a civilian; Blank stated that the Federal Republic was a democratic government and therefore, the military must be under full control of Parliament, and that the Bundestag must decide the nature and character of the Federal office, but in his opinion it should approach that of Ministry.

German plans regarding conscription are that it will be resorted to only if necessary; that is, if there is a shortage of qualified volunteers—but that all laws, both for forced conscription or for volunteers, should be passed at the outset.

General Speidel and Heusinger presented the following plans for the creation of new units:

First phase. Approximately of four months’ duration. In case of certain specialists, a longer time may be necessary. 15 percent of the final strength of each unit would be selected as a nuclei. During this period, the nuclei consisting of officers and key non-commissioned officers would be trained by Allied experts and indoctrinated in the principles of the leadership of the Western Allies.

The selected Germans should be sent to schools and military academies in the Western countries. Joint schools should be established for officers of all NATO powers. Language courses should be instituted especially for liaison officers. Translations of training manuals in the German language should be available at the beginning of the first phase.

Second phase. The nuclei of the first phase would be expanded into cadres. The cadres would consist of 40 percent of the final strength of the unit and would consist of all the officers and non-commissioned officers and specialists for the unit (that is, the 15 percent of the first phase would be increased to 40 percent of the final strength in the second phase).

During the second phase the cadres should have 50 percent of the armament requirements for the final units. Only a few instructors of the Allied Powers would be necessary, but training in Allied schools and academies would continue. The training period for the second phase would amount to three months.

Third phase. The cadres would be brought up to full strength. It is difficult to set the exact time necessary for the final training in the [Page 996] third phase, but in any event a minimum of four months should be allowed.

During the third phase the Western Powers should provide training institutions, instructors and arms in sufficient quantities.

Under the program envisioned above, if a final decision were taken by the Bundestag on May 1, the training of the nuclei would start in September or by October 1. The training of the cadres would start in January 1952. The third phase, training of the entire unit, would start in April 1952, and the unit would be available for combat in the fall of 1952.

Discussion centered around the need for information in regard to the total contribution to be expected from Germany in 1952. It was recognized that under the training plans envisioned by the German representatives that in order to determine the strength of the nuclei and the cadres to be created in 1951, it would be necessary to know the size of the German forces to be arrived at in 1952. The Allied representatives took note of this and stated it [they] would seek to get as soon as possible the size of the German contribution in 1952.

It was agreed that the next meeting would be held at 1030 hours Friday, January 26, and at that meeting the Germans would submit their proposals in regard to equipment and accommodations for the German contingents, and their proposals in regard to the size, organization and armament of German units under the combat team or brigade troop formula.

[ Hays ]
  1. Repeated to Frankfurt eyes only for McCloy and to EUCOM Heidelberg eyes only for Handy.
  2. Supra.
  3. In his address to a meeting of the CDU at Bielefeld on January 14, Adenauer had stated that the German people adhered to the West, that the Occupation Statute must be replaced by a contractual relationship, that German participation In Western defense must be on equal footing with other powers, that the Federal Republic needed financial aid from the West, and that the Four-Power conference must avoid decisions which would injure Germany. HICOG reported on the speech in telegram 5850, January 16 (962A.61/1–1651).