762A.5/4–751: Telegram

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

top secret

705. Eyes only for Byroade. Eighth conference in regard to the Ger contribution to defense was held Apr 6, 1951. Present were personnel who attended previous meetings plus Col. Richardson, Air Force, on the US side.

The Ger rep, Blank, commenced the discussion with the Ger proposals in regard to the Defense Ministry. He stated this Min would have to deal with Parliament and the public; must prepare and implement legislation in regard to mil matters and must be the supreme authority acting under the control of the Bundestag. The cardinal point in the Gers proposals is that any Ger mil contingent must be subject to the control of the Ger Parliament. The Min of Def, who is a civilian, must be appointed, and wld be under the same control of Parliament as other members of the Cabinet. The Min of Def wld establish a definite [defense] dept under the fol main headings—political, personnel, budget, admin, econ, legal and welfare. Under the Min of Def, there wld be a mil dept which wld be called the Inspectorate General, headed by an officer of the rank of Gen, who wld be the supreme commander of all Ger soldiers and wld be charged with carrying out the instructions and orders of the Min of Def. The Inspectorate Gen wld not establish separate divisions for the army, navy or air force, but as one dept, wld administer the three branches of the service. The Inspectorate Gen wld have three main divisions—one for organization, one for personnel, and one for discipline, legal problems, [Page 1033] education, etc., and wld also have depts for training, admin, supply and for gen affairs and liaison with the Supreme Commander of NATO.

It was stressed that these proposals are a departure for [from?] the former Ger mil org and wld create a defense org that wld remain responsible to a democratic govt. That these proposals wld be submitted to the Ger Parliament and what the final shape of the Ger def dept wld be, wld be determined by the Ger Parliament.

Bérard commented that the Ger proposals were rather far from those agreed upon in the Brussels agreement because for political reasons, the Council of Fon Mins wished to avoid the re-establishment of a defense dept in Germany. Allied reps agreed to take note of the Ger proposals and defer further comment until a later meeting. Upon query from UK rep, Herr Blank stated that the supply of mil equipment from Ger industry wld be controlled by the Min of Def, but that the Fed Rep wld create a comite of the Mins of Def, Econ and Finance to coordinate the requirements for mil equipment and to maintain close contact with similar NATO agencies. The Ger rep also stated that under the Ministry of Def, there wld be only one supply system which wld serve all three branches, that is, army, navy and air force.

Gen Heusinger then outlined the Ger proposals regarding the organization of the tactical air force. He first outlined the tasks to be undertaken; reconnaissance in areas where the ground troops cld not penetrate. Attacks against ground targets, particularly in those regions beyond the reach of friendly artillery. Such attacks to be carried out by both low level and high altitude aircraft. The task of protection of friendly ground troops against hostile aircraft by assisting the antiaircraft defenses in this protection.

For the above tasks wld need fighters—fighter bombers, light bombers and reconnaissance aircraft and light anti-aircraft protection for air installations. Of the above aircraft, in the Ger view, the need for fighters was of paramount importance because if fighters cld obtain air superiority, it made the tasks of the reconnaissance and bombers much easier. Without such air superiority, the use of reconnaissance and bomber was made much more difficult. Concluded that the tactical fighter arm must be as strong as possible and equipped with most modern equipment. The need for a common language between ground units and the supporting air forces was emphasized.

The policy of the Sovs during the late war to concentrate very large numbers of planes against one objective was emphasized and in the Ger view, allied air forces shld be so organized so as to be able to mass quickly a large number of planes against any such concentration.

Ger propose to adopt the same org as the US Air Force, which they outlined as fols: A reconnaissance squadron of 18 aircraft; a reconnaissance group of three squadrons of 58 aircraft, a fighter or fighter [Page 1034] bomber squadron of 25 aircraft; a fighter or fighter bomber group of three squadrons totaling of 80 aircraft; a light bomber squadron of 16 aircraft and a light bomber group of three squadrons totaling 52 aircraft. Ger proposal in adopting US organization is greatly influenced by the need for US assistance in planes, fuel supplies, etc. Ger views re how a tactical aircraft shld be employed was discussed from two standpoints. First, that the NATO forces wld be divided into army corps of three divisions each, each corps being of one nationality. Under this assumption, the tactical air force cld be attached to support an army corps and in the Ger view, each army corps shld have for its support the fol: Five reconnaissance squadrons totaling 90 reconnaissance aircraft; three fighter groups totaling 240 aircraft; one fighter bomber group totaling 80 aircraft and one light bomber group containing 52 aircraft. On the hypothesis that the Ger contingent wld consist of four such army corps of three divisions each, in Ger view they should have approximately 1,900 tactical aircraft for the support of these corps.

In Ger view, it wld not be advisable to attach a tactical aircraft to the support of army corps because this wld not permit a rapid concentration of all available aircraft against hostile formations. They, therefore, propose that except for reconnaissance aircraft, all tactical aircraft be allocated in support of armies assuming that there wld be several armies each consisting of three corps of three divisions each. As regards reconnaissance aircraft, they recommended that each division have a reconnaissance squadron in support of it of the same nationality as the ground troops of the division. They calculated that this wld require nine reconnaissance squadrons to be attached to divisions plus two reconnaissance squadrons for each corps headquarters. Under this assumption, the Ger share of reconnaissance aircraft for 12 Ger divisions wld number approximately 360 aircraft. As regards fighter aircraft, each army shld have nine fighter groups and three fighter bomber groups. As regards light bomber groups, each army shld have three. In Ger view, if aircraft were provided to armies in the above proportion, Ger share of such tactical aircraft wld be approximately 1,960 aircraft. In addition to the aircraft, light antiaircraft batteries wld be needed in defense of the airfields and ground staffs and air warning units wld be needed. Statement was made that there were insufficient airfields present in West Germany to take care of the needs of the large number of aircraft and in the Ger view, the establishment of air bases was one that cld only be undertaken under joint planning for the defense of Western Europe as a whole in which the German tactical air forces shld participate, In summation, Gers wish to stress the fol points: That except for reconnaissance aircraft all tactical aircraft shld be concentrated in the army; that they wish to [Page 1035] adopt US type organizations; that the greatest emphasis shld be placed on fighter aircraft; that in the Ger view to support 12 divisions, the Ger tactical air force shld consist of approximately the fol: 1,000 fighters; 360 reconnaissance; 320 fighter bombers; 210 light bombers and 100 light anti-aircraft batteries of caliber less than 75 millimeters for the protection of airfields. For the above, they estimate their personnel requirements as flying personnel 3,000; ground personnel 30,000, antiaircraft personnel 6,000; air warning and air control personnel 6,000 for a total of 45,000 personnel. It was stressed that this personnel wld not include any personnel for troop losses or replacements and that a number of additional civilians wld be needed.

As regards air defense of West Germany, Ger view is air defense of West Germany must be a part of the plan for air defense of West Europe as a whole. They stressed the need of a close knit air warning and radar system and stated it was not known whether the allies desire for Germany to participate in such a system, but were prepared to do so and felt that they shld be permitted to participate in the air warning system.

In conclusion, comment was made that the proposal for tactical air may seem extravagant, but supported their proposals by the fol arguments. Since 1945 the Russians have placed all their emphasis on creation of a tactical air force and on a strong air defense system and in case of war, the Russians wld have a very strong tactical air force. Second, that success of allied ground operations largely depend on the mastery of the air, and, therefore, the allies must not be saving as regards tactical air forces.

Allied reps took note of the Ger proposals and agreed to defer comment until a later meeting. It was then decided to hold the next conference on Fri, 20 Apr at which time Ger reps wld present their views on coastal defense and light naval forces; on the financial estimates of the Ger contribution and on the selection and training of the personnel of the tactical air forces.

[ Hays ]
  1. Repeated to Frankfurt eyes only for McCloy, to Heidelberg eyes only for Handy, to London eyes only for Spofford, and to SHAPE Paris eyes only for MacArthur.