740.5/3–2351: Telegram

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

top secret

7632. Personal eyes only for Acheson and Byroade (no distribution in or outside Department). At my suggestion Hays and Gerhardt saw Eisenhower 22 March to discuss negotiations by military experts at Bonn on German contribution to Western defense.1 I felt it necessary to determine Eisenhower’s views on essentiality and urgency of German [Page 1031] Contribution for adequate defense Western Europe. At present rate of progress it would seem possible to conclude discussions with Germans and submit report from commission to governments by end of April or beginning of May. Probability is that agreement could be reached on a factual report, but practically no possibility on submitting agreed recommendations, particularly on issue of size of units and type of organization. It would be possible for us to extend negotiations over longer period if advisable.

Hays and Gerhardt saw Eisenhower, Gruenther and members his staff at private conference at which US personnel only present. Hays outlined my desire to get Eisenhower’s view as to timing so that our position could be consistent with his thinking. In summary Eisenhower stated that his position outlined to me last January remained the same.2 He felt it necessary that Germany attain a political status which wld permit vast majority support by German people themselves, and not mere government support for provision of German contribution. Only with such popular support basis would there be the necessary will. He did not want in his command hired mercenaries or “Hessian soldiers”. He was, of course, anxious to have all the German units he could get if there was the proper spirit behind them. After long discussion which reviewed negotiations on European Army in Paris and relative merits and demerits of German small division organization versus Allied heavy division, Eisenhower expressed view that he was opposed to having report of disagreement go from commission to governments and NATO, which would raise major issues between French and Germans or between French and Allies. He felt before such event SHAPE could play strong influencing role, particularly on French. He understood though issues were primarily military that they had strong political implications. He felt that SHAPE staff as an international body could prepare for him an objective study, which could develop a compromise which was militarily and politically acceptable, and which he could recommend to participating countries. He instructed Gruenther to set up such a study group and suggested that Charpentier be named to head it. I understand that Gruenther has already spoken to Charpentier.

At start of conference Gruenther indicated that though no other Allies of SHAPE staff had been invited, they had been informed that meeting with Hays was to take place. Since Charpentier has been informed, feel you may receive inquiries from French and British in Washington. I have informed French here of Hays’ visit, taking line that I felt Eisenhower might benefit from review of Petersberg negotiations and his thoughts might be helpful. I did not indicate to them [Page 1032] Eisenhower’s decision to initiate a study, since I consider this to be matter within his discretion, and did not wish to give appearance that we had pressed him into such a decision, which, of course, we did not. However, French may feel that Hays’ visit designed to exert pressure to bring Paris and Bonn negotiations to head. In talking to French I learned that they were already aware of Hays’ visit and felt my conversation had put his visit in proper light. Eisenhower’s undertaking study of this problem does not, of course, commit him to any action on this problem, but is in nature of development of possible future lines of action if necessary. Feel Eisenhower decision should be closely held, although realize that once study group is formed, it will be difficult to keep the lid on.

  1. A memorandum of conversation on this meeting at Paris, prepared by Gerhardt on March 23, is in Bonn Embassy files, lot 57 F 24, McCloy Project, TS(51)51A.
  2. For documentation on General Eisenhower’s tour of Western Europe during January of 1951, including his talks with McCloy, see pp. 392 ff.