United States Delegation Minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, and France Held at Washington, September 13, 1951, 10:00 a.m.1

Tripartite Min–4
Mr. Acheson (U.S.)
Mr. Morrison (U.K.)
M. Schuman (Fr.)
Also Present
U.S. U.K. France
Mr. Jessup Sir Oliver Franks M. Bonnet
Mr. McCloy Sir Pierson Dixon M. Francois-Poncet
Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick

[Here follows a table of contents.]

Contractual Arrangement for Germany

draft instructions from the three foreign ministers to the allied high commission

Mr. Acheson said a paper had been prepared on this subject in which the differences between the three Ministers were set forth in brackets (WFM T–5a, September 102).

Mr. Morrison said the British originally had reservations on paragraph number four of the “Instructions” regarding the statement that “the basic assumption on which the Ministers have acted is that fulfillment of these conditions will promptly be achieved through the proposed EDF, etc.,” but that they now felt they could agree providing the word “promptly” could be removed from the sentence. British public opinion was split regarding German rearmament with some elements favoring a German force in some form, others totally opposed to German rearmament, and a third group which felt that a European army was the best way of utilizing the Germans. He wished to make clear that Britain did not wish to delay a German contribution but he did not want to cause needless complications at home by suggesting that Britain was pushing German participation in EDF. Mr. Acheson said that although he was not too concerned regarding wording, he felt it was essential that the EDF be developed without delay. Mr. Schuman said that the question of wording was not too important to him and it was agreed that the word “promptly” would [Page 1273] be deleted and the words “without delay” inserted before the phrase “through the proposed EDF.”

security controls

Mr. Schuman said the French Government agreed with the suggested US–UK wording with the exception of paragraph (ii) of the text. It was necessary to define the prohibitions and limitations which were referred to in the Brussels agreement. The language of that agreement was frequently vague and it was necessary to set forth explicitly what types of heavy equipment Germany would not be allowed to make. The same was true for light weapons. Study by military experts from one of the Allied organizations was necessary. He submitted a substitute paragraph which the French believed should be inserted into the “Instructions” reading “The Brussels text should be defined as required as quickly as possible and in any event before the Rome conference through discussion at the governmental level.” This was accepted by the US and UK. It was agreed that these experts should work in cooperation with the High Commissioners who are in touch with the German situation, but it was understood that the experts will have to carry the burden and merely consult with the High Commissioners. Mr. Morrison felt that there was advantage in an elastic situation which would allow consultation between the experts and the Allied governments. Mr. Acheson indicated that this was provided for in the first paragraph.

preservation of democracy

Mr. Schuman said he was willing to accept the US–UK proposals on this subject (paragraph 9 “Instructions”). Mr. Morrison said that he was concerned regarding the clear right of the Allies to intervene if a situation developed in Germany which they did not like. He wanted the Three Powers to be free to move in if any menace to the democratic regime developed, and was not sure that that right existed. He recalled what had happened to the Weimar Republic and said that although the right to intervene might be included in the present text he was not certain. Mr. Schuman said he thought the answer could be found in the annexed draft treaty (“Agreement on General Relations with the Federal Republic”)—Article VII—where it is stated that if the security of the Allied armed forces is endangered the Allies can assert their authority. Mr. Acheson agreed that it was necessary to be in a position to meet quickly and vigorously any disruption of public or constitutional order. There would be included in the Preamble to the “Agreement” a statement that the contractual arrangement was premised on maintenance of constitutional order. Mr. Morrison said he was satisfied. Mr. Acheson added that we might keep in mind the principle that the high commissioners should make a declaration of political principles at the time the contractual relationship [Page 1274] went into effect, making clear what the Allies meant—no return to totalitarian Government. Mr. Acheson raised a point regarding the inclusion of the words “grave threat” in this paragraph in referring to constitutional order, and wondered if it should not be confined to refer only to public order. Mr. Morrison said that historically it was not only the question of public order that caused the difficulties. Constitutional processes could lead to disruption of constitutional order. If someone was about to be appointed to a high office, who, in the opinion of the Allies, constituted such a threat the Allies might wish to intervene. He recalled that Hitler was appointed Chancellor by a German council. He believed, however, that the Allies should use discretion in exercising their powers in such a case. Mr. Schuman said he was inclined to agree with Morrison and felt the power to intervene in case of a “threat” to constitutional order should certainly be retained but used only if otherwise unavoidable and after warning to the Germans. Mr. Acheson indicated that the US was willing to accept the position of France and the UK with the proviso that there really must be a grave threat before it would be made operative. If Remer [ Reimann ?] picked up five or six additional Parliamentary seats this would hardly constitute a threat. Mr. Morrison said he did not disagree with the spirit of what Mr. Acheson had said and pointed out that the Three Powers must confer if they believed any such threat existed.

With regard to paragraph 3 of Article VII, of the draft “Agreement” Mr. Acheson said that, as written, this paragraph did not have any meaning. He suggested deleting a portion of the sentence, leaving it to read “This authority may also be employed to declare a state of emergency on the request of the Federal Republic.” This was agreed.

allied emergency powers

Mr. Morrison referred to the wording of the first sentence of the first paragraph under this heading and said that he did not like the idea of civilian authority being subordinate to the military as a matter of constitutional doctrine. As written, the text would require the Council of Ambassadors to receive the agreement of the appropriate Allied military authorities before they could exercise Allied powers in an emergency. He naturally presupposed an amicable understanding between the civilian and military authorities in reaching any such decision. Mr. Schuman said that he could not possibly expect the Chamber of Deputies to accept a treaty relationship with Germany under which the Government of France must obtain the approval of its own military before taking emergency action in Germany. It was agreed to delete the entire first sentence in this paragraph, dropping all references to the requirement of agreement by the military authorities.

[Page 1275]

logistical and financial support of the allied forces

Mr. Acheson said in relating this subject (paragraph 12, “Instructions”) to the question of occupation costs and the problem of financing Germany’s future contribution to the EDF, it was necessary to find a procedure which would enable the Allies to arrive at the necessary answers at an early date. If, as was estimated, Germany next year reached the limit of the resources it could devote to military purposes—approximately 12 billion Deutschmarks—in meeting the costs of the occupation forces, the problem remained of how Germany could finance its contribution to the EDF. British High Commissioner Kirkpatrick said he thought the question was whether the Allies should commit themselves now to a formula which might allow the Germans to refuse. He felt this action should be left open for later consideration in order to avoid that possibility. Mr. Acheson said that we might have to have a group of experts study the problem but we must eventually face it. We might put it off for a while but it was not possible to avoid it in the long run. If all Germany’s resources which could be utilized for a military effort were engaged in supporting merely the occupation forces and if they therefore were unable to support a contribution to the European Defense Forces then the Allied powers had gone through much lost motion in all the recent programs designed to enlist German participation in the defense of Europe and thereby build up the defensive capacity of that area. The US could not carry out the principle on which it was now operating in Austria—i.e. pay our own occupation costs—and obtain in addition, the tremendous sums required to carry out the total defense effort. This matter was one of great political importance in Germany because they would not move on other problems until they knew what the answer would be to this one. He thought it desirable to take certain portions of the present text and utilize them for giving such direction to the High Commissioners as was now possible. Mr. Morrison said that Britain was worried about the possibility that the Germans would squeeze the Allies to pay expenditures which they should be carrying for themselves. He said that this had occurred several times in German history and that he thought the Allies must be very careful to ensure that it did not happen again. He recently had conversations with both the German and Austrian Chancellors and had listened to their sad tales regarding operation costs. He had, however, told them flatly that they required defense; that Britain was paying for its own defense, that the defense which Germany and Austria now had happened to be the forces of the Allies and that they were obligated to pay for it. He proposed to continue to be “flat” with the Germans and said that when they produce forces for the EDF, and if they asked for an adjustment then, maybe the Allies should make such an adjustment. Britain was carrying a big burden and could not carry an additional one. The [Page 1276] Allies must be very careful that the Germans did not exploit them. Mr. Schuman said that the Germans were always harping on the theme of equality. It was a logical consequence then that they should carry an equal burden. The Germans should be treated the same as other NATO countries. He said that discussions which would occur shortly would establish a schedule of what would be expected from all countries in terms of a percentage of national income. Since the German and French national incomes were almost equal then the Germans should spend as much as the French, including the latter expenditures in Indo-China and elsewhere overseas. The second part of the problem was how this German contribution should be distributed. The French point of view was that the German contribution to the EDF should be no larger than that of the French and that the difference between this figure and the total French expenditure for military activities would then be available to the Germans to pay for occupation costs. He believed the British position was that the Germans should pay the occupation costs and that amount should then be subtracted from the total available and the balance utilized as the German contribution to EDF. He believed the US viewpoint was to pool the amount the Germans paid for occupation costs plus that which she gives to EDF and that this total would be determined by the limit of Germany’s ability to pay. Presumably, the balance would have to be paid by the Allies. He proposed a compromise under which the German direct contribution to EDF should in no case be greater than that of France. Germany then could not exaggerate its position and the balance would be available for occupation costs. Mr. Morrison said he was very apprehensive about any formula tying the German contribution to that of a particular country. If a French Government came into power which cut expenditures in half then the Germans could cut their contributions to that level. Also, the proposal could act the other way if the French contribution were increased substantially, which might allow Germany to arm to a point beyond that desired by the Allies. The Germans should continue to meet the occupation costs and when a German contribution to EDF comes along then the Germans can argue about occupation costs. He doubted that the group could arrive at a formula now and thought that the High Commissioners must continue to discuss the matter with the Germans as we go along. He repeated his admonition that we must be careful. For these reasons he preferred the UK draft as stated in the last paragraph on page 12 wherein the requirement that Germany should make a total contribution to defense comparable in scale to that being made by other leading Western powers was stated in general terms. He said the possibility existed that the staffs of the Three Ministers could have another look at the UK proposal and submit a new draft, but that in [Page 1277] any case he did not desire to attempt to arrive at a definite formula during the course of these meetings.

Mr. Acheson suggested that the Ministers not try to reach a formula at this juncture. He thought that the problem should be transmitted to a working group and emphasized that this group should use certain elements of agreement which existed as a basis for its deliberation. These included agreement that the German contribution will be subject to a contractual arrangement and that the Germans must pay their full share based on the same criteria which is applied to other NATO countries. The question which remained was how that share would be apportioned between occupation costs and Germany’s contribution to EDF. He agreed that the Allies must be firm with the Germans and that undoubtedly they would try to squirm on the problem. Although we are disinclined to face the problem right now, we must look forward to facing this problem in the near future since it was essential to get on with a German contribution to EDF. The question had to be faced in December or at least in the first part of the new year. It was agreed that representatives of the Three Governments should meet soon to prepare their recommendations, although no definite date was set. Mr. Schuman said he wished to reaffirm the principle of equal burden and that it was understood in the case of France the whole military burden included the French effort in Indo-China and elsewhere overseas. Mr. Acheson and Mr. Morrison indicated agreement.

security of the allied forces

Mr. Morrison said that the UK had previously had some reservation on the question of court jurisdiction (paragraph 13, “Instructions”). The Allies might be sorry if they got mixed up in too many cases and there was considerable to be said for “coming clean” and getting out with regard to this function. On the other hand, he recognized that if German courts prosecuted and convicted British soldiers the UK public would resent it. He said he was willing to agree to the US-French proposal but trusted that the allies would be restrained in their execution of this function.

The question of when the Ministers should meet in Europe and invite the German Chanceller to join them (Paragraph 26, “Instructions”) was presented by Mr. Acheson, who said that the problem was whether the Ministers were near enough to a final decision to decide now when this event should take place. Mr. Schuman said that he agreed that it probably was best not to fix a final date since all questions should be settled when this event occurred and it should be a solemn and forceful occasion. Mr. Morrison said that he did not want to delay this matter but felt that realistically it would not be accomplished [Page 1278] in October. He said if the matter were rushed it would result in an untidy job and he did not want to feel that we must be ready by October because it was very important to do a good job. He also felt that such instructions to the High Commissioners might give them the feeling that they must work under pressure to reach solutions for the several problems remaining. It was agreed that it was too early to set a date but that it must be accomplished as soon as reasonably possible. In this connection, Mr. Acheson said that the Allies must keep in mind the principle of having Mr. Adenauer present when the agreement was concluded—and that the matter must not be let drag because this had a great deal to do with the defense of Europe.

Agreement on General Relations With the Federal Republic


The British next withdrew their reservations on paragraph 6 draft “Agreement” which mentions the participation of Germany in the European Defense Community as one manifestation of that country’s determination to establish with the other nations of Western Europe a free and peaceful community.

article v

Security Guarantee for Federal Republic

Mr. Acheson said that with regard to the security guarantee proposed in the draft under Article V, the US would like to use a different approach and reaffirm the previous declaration by the Allies regarding action they would take in the event of an attack against the Federal Republic. He proposed that the Declaration of September 1950, be restated and a sentence added to the effect that the change in status of the Federal Republic does not alter or diminish the effect of that Declaration. Mr. Morrison said that while he was disposed to agree, the matter had numerous implications and that he would have to discuss it with his colleagues in London and confirm it by cable. Mr. Schuman said that he saw no difficulty with the US proposal but felt that rather than including it in this text he thought the Declaration should be linked with the statement to be made by the High Commissioners defining the Allied concept of democracy which was to be issued at the time the contractual relationship was announced. As it was he thought this statement would have no tactical value. Mr. Acheson agreed that he thought this a very useful idea and one that should be pursued. Mr. Morrison did not dissent.

Article VIIa was removed by agreement. It was felt that the substance of this paragraph was covered in other ways.

  1. In the source text these minutes are mistakenly identified as “Minutes of the Third Meeting.”
  2. Ante, p. 1197.