740.5/12–1551: Telegram

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


748. Subj: German financial contribution to West defense.

1. In accordance with para 1 of Bonn sent Dept 641, rptd Berlin 105, Paris 227, London 182 of Dec. 6,2 Poncet, as Chairman Commissioner, read to Adenauer at our mtg with him 14 Dec statement which outlined Rome decisions this matter.3 (Text of statement Which was only read and not handed to Adenauer being airpouched). Poncet stressed need to keep contents and figures cited confidential. Adenauer agreed.

2. In brief reply Adenauer who had previously been briefed by Poncet on the extent of contribution expected made no particular difficulties altho expressed doubt that FedRep wld make such a contribution and reminded mtg that Allies had limited Federal Govt’s revenue raising powers as a means of preventing the federation from becoming too powerful vis-à-vis the Laender. This constitutional problem caused him great difficulty, as an amendment to basic law wld require two-third’s of Bundestag (i.e., agreement of opposition) and agreement of Laender to renounce certain of their sources of revenue. [Page 1688] He expressed considerable doubt as to whether such an amendment wld be accepted.

With respect to appointment of a chief Ger negotiator, Adenauer replied that he wld contact Abs (head of FedRep delegation debt commission) and wld inform Allies by Monday if appointment of Abs could be made. (General agreement was reached at informal council mtg prior to Adenauer mtg that Abs wld be an acceptable appointment and certainly better from Allied point of view than appointment of Schaeffer).

3. Cable report of other items discussed with Chancellor follows verbatim text.

  1. Repeated to Berlin, Paris, and London.
  2. Not printed; it reported that at a meeting of the Allied Council on December 6 it had been agreed to approach Adenauer concerning a German financial contribution. At the same meeting High Commission representatives for the talks were chosen and a draft statement to be made to Adenauer was discussed. (740.5/12–651)
  3. Infra.