398.18 PICMME/1–2852

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Director of the Bureau of German Affairs (Byroade)


Dear Hank: On the matter of my conversation with Rosenfield, I pointed out to him that, although at the moment, Western Germany is overpopulated, I did not think that Germany as a whole was overpopulated. We have had an enormous influx of Germans from the Soviet Zone and I think that when Germany is united that population is going to find its way back to the East Zone to a large degree. Therefore, viewed as an over-all problem, the German situation is not comparable, let us say, to that of the Italian, where there is a permanent overpopulation of serious proportion.

Furthermore, the overpopulation in Western Germany, although it has brought about some miserable housing conditions and does constitute a social risk, is not without its favorable aspects. It has provided a reservoir of labor which has tended to increase the productive capacity of the country, thus reducing the risk of inflation. Moreover, a large amount of new talent has been brought into the area, and I think that generally speaking one can say that the whole area has been enriched rather than overburdened by the influx from the East. I told Rosenfield I thought that if at any time in the relatively near future Germany were united, the German population problem would not be severe.

On the other hand, looking at it from the point of view of our own good, I believe we should increase the quota. In talking with Rosenfield I think I tended to oversimplify the problem a bit, because there is no doubt about it that emigration from Germany at this time would ease a lot of immediate social problems. I do not think it is a serious long-range problem, particularly if we can contemplate unification in the near future. So much has been said about the refugees in Germany, and some of their living conditions are so spectacularly dismal, that I think we are inclined to exaggerate the burdens the refugees impose.

In short, although I am in favor of increasing the quota, my arguments would be based less on the critical situation here and more on the benefits to the United States that an increased quota would involve.


J. J. McCloy