740.5/2–351: Telegram

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

top secret

507. Department eyes only for Byroade. The fourth meeting between the Deputy High Commissioners and the German representatives in regard to German contribution to Western defense was held February 2nd.2 Personnel attending on the German, French and British side was the same as that present at the third meeting. Personnel on the US side was the same, except that Lieutenant Colonel B. F. Taylor of the OPOT3 Division, EUCOM, also attended.

The tripartite statement as forwarded by Bonn’s cable 500, dated February 2nd,4 was presented to the Germans with some minor inconsequential deletions desired by Bérard (French). In the first sentence of the statement in unnumbered paragraph 12, a period was placed after the word “units,” and the words “under the combat team or brigade group formula” deleted.

In the third from last paragraph of the statement, in the second sentence, the words “between the Supreme Command and the divisions” were deleted.

The statement was read with these deletions except that after unnumbered paragraph 12 the chairman, having then received Department’s cable 5301 to Frankfort, repeated Heidelberg 198, Niact Bonn 57,5 secured agreement from his colleagues to state: “I should like to interrupt here to ask that further discussions on the German [Page 1006] proposals in regard to the size, organization and composition of the German units be postponed until we, on the Allied side, have received advice from our governments.” Then the remainder of the prepared statement was presented.

In commenting on the prepared statement, Blank asked whether he interpreted the remarks in regard to the German proposals on the size, organization and composition of the German units to be unacceptable, and whether he should so state to the Chancellor. He was told that he should not make such interpretation but that he should inform the Chancellor that the representatives of the High Commission wished to have more time to study the German proposals and to hear from their governments in regard thereto, and therefore the question would remain opened until further discussions took place.

Blank then commented on unnumbered paragraph 13 and stated that it would be impossible for the Germans to undertake any recruitment or training of small units until the broader issue as to the size, organization and composition of the German units was decided.

The chairman asked the German delegation whether there were not a number of administrative problems which should be studied and prepared, such as laws on recruitment and conscription, the selection of areas for accommodations and training, et cetera., in order to prevent zation and composition of the German units was decided.

Blank made it clear that they were not in position to undertake any detailed work on these problems until the broader issue was settled. (As chairman, I considered that Blank was carrying out instructions he had received from the Chancellor in regard to this point. I therefore queried that in order that we might have a clear understanding on this point, was it the German position that they would be unable to undertake any further detail work until the question of the size, organization and composition of the German units was settled. Blank stated that was the position of the German delegation.)

Blank made other brief comments on the matters covered in the prepared statement, but these comments were of no importance except to clear up errors in translation.

It was finally agreed that we would postpone any further discussions on the size, organization and composition of German units until a further meeting.

The German delegation then discussed the armament and equipment of the German contingents. Blank stated that the production of equipment in Germany for the German contingents would not provide any difficulties. He then repeated that the production of armament was another matter; that a cardinal point of the program of the Federal Government was to achieve good relations with France and avoid taking any action which might cause difficulties with France. That the [Page 1007] German Government believed that the renunciation on their part of the re-creation of an armament industry would promote good relations with France because, he stated, it would be well-known that if German units were not backed up by their own armament industry they could never become an aggressive threat to France. Therefore Blank said, that before they engaged in the production [of] armament they would wish to have a specific request from France for them to do so. He further stated that should the combined armament industries of the NATO countries prove to be insufficient to provide equipment for an effective force in the defense of Western Europe, and depended upon the recreation of a German armament industry for this, then Germany would be prepared to recreate their armament industry on the specific request of the French Government.

Blank stated that he had been requested by the Federal Minister of Economics6 to ask that the High Commission establish one office which would be able to deal with questions of procurement and items in short supply. He stated that at the present time many individuals were contacting German firms in the attempt to place orders for equipment for Western countries, and that orders were also being placed to satisfy the military requirements of the Allied troops stationed in Germany. He stated it would be necessary to have all such orders channeled through one central office in order to satisfy the Allied requirements and the requirements of the German contingents. The Allied deputies agreed to bring this matter to the attention of their High Commissioners.

Blank then stated that the Germans had examined the capacity of their industries and were prepared to make proposals [in] regard to the equipment which could be produced for both the NATO forces and the German contingents. He stated that the following branches of industry are not at present operating at full capacity: steel construction, machine construction, vehicle construction (both trucks and cars), ship construction, engineering, fine mechanics, optical industry, iron, steel and sheet iron industry, metal goods industry.

Blank stated that the following industries have a limited capacity available: chemical industry, timber, rubber and rubber goods, leather and leather goods, textiles and clothing.

Blank was asked whether any of the industries mentioned might not be able to provide the equipment needed for the German contingents. He stated that that depended of course upon the size of the German contingents, and the demands made on German industries by other NATO powers; but insofar as he could see at present, no difficulties would arise except for the provision of raw materials. Blank stated that he would explore this question further, and give additional information in regard thereto.

[Page 1008]

Blank was asked whether or not the government’s position in regard to the production of armament extended only to complete end products or whether it also extended to parts of arms. He replied that his position extended only to the complete end product; that certainly a tank without a gun was only a tractor, and that the Germans could produce tractors; there would be no difficulty in producing parts of arms in Germany if other parts of the assembled whole were produced in some other NATO country.

In the light of the above discussions it was decided to hold the next meeting on Friday, February 16th, in order to have the time, on the Allied side, to receive instructions in regard to the question of the size, organization and composition of German units. It is noted in Department cable 5301 that extensive discussions may be necessary between the occupying powers and NATO in regard to this subject. Therefore, two weeks may be insufficient time to permit an answer to be given to this problem. Nevertheless, because of the interest of the press in these negotiations, we do not think it wise at this time to postpone negotiations for a period longer than two weeks.

In the event an answer cannot be given by February 16th on this question, the chairman will propose that the legal points raised by Franken be commented upon at our next meeting. I would appreciate advice by February 16th as to how much longer a delay will be necessary in order to give an answer to the German proposals on the size of their units.

Ward (British) prepared a tripartite statement for dispatch to the deputies of NATO on the results of the conferences which have taken place during the month of January. This statement will be forwarded when received in corrected text.7

[ Hays ]
  1. Repeated to Frankfurt eyes only for McCloy and to Heidelberg eyes only for Handy.
  2. A copy of Buttenwieser’s notes on the fourth meeting, sent to Byroade on February 7, is in file 740.5/2–751.
  3. Operations, Plans, Organization, and Training.
  4. Supra.
  5. Dated February 1, p. 1002.
  6. Dr. Ludwig Erhard.
  7. No copy of this statement has been found in Department of State files.