396.1/2–1051: Telegram

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


6646. In Thursday’s meeting between Perkins, Byroade,2 myself and Adenauer, Chancellor emphasized his concern about forthcoming four-power conference. He felt that French insistence upon this meeting [Page 1078]combined with other information he possessed clearly indicated that French, being well aware of the increased tension should conference fail, must envisage a certain success (from their point of view) at conference. He repeated reports he had of French-Soviet talks though admitting these had not taken place at Ministerial level. He cited as example of French willingness to push conference, Pleven’s recent statement to French Chamber that President had assured Pleven he would do everything possible to bring about conference.3 Byroade informed Chancellor that, having been present at TrumanPleven talks, no assurance in such terms had been given Pleven. Chancellor stated that in view of this French attitude and uncertainty of British position, due to confusion in FonOff since Bevin’s absence, he fearful of US position at conference being isolated as only one to take strong stand against Soviets. Chancellor’s view was that since French were hopeful of some positive result emanating from conference it could bode nothing favorable for Germany and that he was expecting its outcome with heart in mouth. If conference should fail situation, in his opinion, would be worse than if no conference had taken place. He was very appreciative of Perkins’ and Byroade’s assurance that US policy re German defense contribution had not changed and also praised Secretary’s recent strong, resolute statement.4 Furthermore he applauded our firm position on Korea and China and, though it may have cost us some sympathies, he personally could only praise such attitude. Chancellor regards any agreement resulting in German neutralization and disarmament as extremely dangerous. He views unification under those terms as the beginning of unified Germany coming into the Russian orbit to be followed by all of Western Europe. Germany and Europe can be only saved by Germany’s firm integration into the West with the military contribution as planned and he trusts that allies, particularly US, will continue to back him fully in this policy.

Byroade replied that he believed Chancellor was taking too pessimistic view of British-French position on neutrality. Re French attitude, judging from his presence TrumanPleven talks, he was able to inform Chancellor that Pleven had given satisfactory reassurances to President. Adenauer is embarking on a campaign along the lines of his Tuesday’s speech on Bavarian radio to enlighten Germans on danger of neutrality. He is confident that if issue intelligently explained without emotion, average German will understand pitfalls of neutrality and can be persuaded to follow him in his policy of [Page 1079]Western integration and contribution to Western defense. He emphasized that in this campaign a political declaration of principle by allies to relinquish Occupation Statute5 before details of present Petersberg discussions6 are worked out would aid him considerably and be of greatest political value in his fight against neutrality and disarmament.

After our talk with Adenauer, Byroade and I met with Schumacher who described pitfalls he foresaw at a four-power conference:

He thought Soviets might possibly offer free elections only in East Zone with participation of SED and existing East LDP and CDU but without SPD which is officially banned in East Zone. Since East LDP and CDU are complete captives of Soviets such a solution would be fatal despite its attraction for Western bourgeois parties.
Another gambit Russians might try would be all German elections with SED and new single non-Communist bourgeois party composed of all Western bourgeois parties and various mass organizations such as FDJ, Democratic Women’s League, Independent Peasants’ Party, etc. The exclusion of SPD and plethora of these minor Soviet controlled mass organizations would inevitably result in swamping out new bourgeois party.
Third alternative might be a roof government by appointment in which Soviets would be prepared to exclude prominent Communists in return for West excluding prominent democrats. Such shadow government, though powerless, would have great propaganda possibilities and would be at mercy of Soviet stooges in it, e.g., Nuschke, et al.

None of these solutions, Schumacher reiterated, could possibly be accepted. Only type of free elections we could accept are those which would:

Cover all four zones simultaneously.
Be truly free with full SPD participation.
Body elected should not be confined to Constituent Assembly but should have immediate power to act legislatively so as to protect voters, elect government, etc.

If Soviets did offer or accept genuine free elections on condition that Germany remain disarmed and be denied right to associate in regional defense groups, Schumacher felt we would have to accept such a solution and trust to strength of German democracy to protect itself against inevitable Communist infiltration by which Soviets would endeavor to capture government. If Communists failed and democratic elements succeeded in consolidating power worst Soviets could do would be to lower Iron Curtain again, re-establish present status but with great loss of prestige both in Germany and in satellites. If we refused such an offer German public opinion would despair at our [Page 1080]lack of courage and would turn to fellow traveller solutions. Schumacher clearly intimated that disarmament and isolation conditions would only be temporary and that once democrats were firmly established politically Germany would rearm and associate herself with West.

Should question of withdrawal of troops arise, Schumacher stated that he himself was not interested whether Germany were completely evacuated provided greater equilibrium between forces was achieved. A withdrawal of US troops to America and Soviet troops to Russia would merely increase present disparity of strength. To decrease this disparity he even suggested we could agree to mix occupation troops in 4 zones provided we took such reasonable precautions as not to allow Soviet troops to occupy Ruhr.

Concerning Oder–Neisse line Schumacher strongly urged us not to raise question, since for time being, it was a lost cause, support of which would only dissipate any hopes we had of positive achievements at conference. Soviets could never concede here unless they were willing to sacrifice established loyalty of satellites for questionable loyalty of Germany. If Soviets, on other hand, raised issue we should support German claims with greatest vigor for not to do so would inevitably drive Germans to East in fear or despair. Schumacher maintained that if Soviets do raise this issue it will be a sure sign that they are prepared to break up conference without results.

Turning to Pleven Plan,7 Schumacher said we were putting cart of functional integration before horse of political integration just as in Schuman Plan.8 For this reason Schumacher confidently predicted that both Pleven and Schuman Plans would fail. Byroade explained bur support of Pleven Plan provided it was workable and gave all participants the equality essential to fighting forces. Schumacher stated that despite official French protestations to the contrary, his unofficial and perhaps more reliable sources were unanimously of the opinion France was not acting in good faith and was really attempting to reestablish French hegemony throughout Western Europe to detriment hot only of Germany but perhaps of US interests. After 1100 years French should be made to realize empire of Charlemagne was defunct. Schumacher once more outlined SPD’s 3 prerequisites for German defense contribution: (a) adequate Anglo-Saxon forces in Europe; (b) political equality; (c) equality among participating military units and at command level with share in decision of disposition of troops land no “black rearmament”. In this connection Schumacher spoke of our industrial police, stating he did not object to Germans performing [Page 1081]services which relieved our troops for combat training but deplored the military manner in which Germans were organized and disciplined. In conclusion, I pointed out that we hoped we could establish adequate procedures before and during possible 4-power conference to keep Germans informed and to obtain their counsel. I was fearful however, that the counsels of Adenauer and Schumacher might be conflicting. Schumacher stated that current negotiations between himself and Chancellor gave some hope for a more united German front on the issues that will confront us at conference. Diametrical approach by Schumacher and Adenauer to problems such as neutralization as reported in foregoing makes hope for real agreement between these two appear rather dim though both seem to accept the impracticability of a neutral Germany at least in the long run.

  1. Repeated to London and Paris.
  2. Byroade and Perkins were at Frankfurt for the meeting of U.S. Ambassadors to Western Europe, February 5–7; for documentation on this meeting, see volume iv .
  3. Prime Minister Pleven had visited Washington at the end of January for talks with President Truman and his advisers. For records of his discussion with the President, see volume iv .
  4. Presumably a reference to Secretary Acheson’s remarks at a news conference on December 22, 1950; for the text of these remarks, see Department of State Bulletin, January 1, 1951, pp. 3–6.
  5. For documentation concerning the revision of the Occupation Statute for Germany, see pp. 1410 ff.
  6. For documentation on the talks at Bonn concerning a German contribution to Western defense, see pp. 990 ff.
  7. For documentation on the Conference for the Establishment of a European Defense Community (Pleven Plan) that opened in Paris on February 14, see pp. 755 ff.
  8. For documentation on Foreign Minister Schuman’s plan for a European coal and steel community, see volume iv .