511.00/1–3152: Telegram

No. 140
The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Department of State 1


Unnumbered. For Kellermann. Public Affairs Guidance No. 159.2

German Defense Contribution. The following guidance for dealing with problems of Germany’s contribution to European defense is intended as an attempt to facilitate operations during the coming weeks of intense public debate. Additions and adjustments will be made when necessary.

… US media should carefully avoid any appearance that US may attempt, in the interest of American policy, to push the German people into positive action against their own free will. It is essential to convince Germans that decision will be made by them, respectively by their representatives, in the best interests of German people. Media should abstain from taking any part in public debate on this issue, refrain from expressions of approbation for any activities of German proponents of participation in European defense and, particularly, from interference in controversy between government and Social Democratic opposition.
Media should give good news coverage to all statements on defense issue coming from responsible German political leaders, provide full information on statements of major importance, and [Page 329] report fairly on activities of both opponents and proponents of German participation.
While media should avoid running comment on individual pronouncements made in course of defense debate, they may at proper intervals review development of discussion, present fairly arguments made by either side, and thus lead up to brief and factual statement that as yet nobody has shown a practical political alternative to joining the larger European community which will assure protection and progress to those who share in its efforts.
Media should carry reports, statements and comment from US and foreign sources which indicate that other countries will determine strategic planning and lines of defense in Europe according to contribution which German people will or will not decide to make to defense of their own country; review question of whether and how Allied troops could be committed to defense of Germany if Germany should not contribute her own manpower; review German-Allied relationships in view of insuperable contradiction between substantial sovereignty and complete dependence on foreign protection.
Media should carry reports, statements and comment from US sources, pointing out that this year American voters will be called upon to determine future course of US foreign policy; that US has departed from earlier strategic concepts in expectation that elimination of weak spots from crucial area of Europe would remove temptation to aggression and, thereby, safeguard peace; that people of US are not forced to implementation of any given policy if they have reason to doubt success of this policy, and that, undoubtedly, US voters will be influenced by measure of success achieved in creating a system of European security and by evidence obtained of determination of European nations to defend effectively their own countries. (Media should quote VOA statements and reports on US opinion along these and similar lines. Such statements should be reported without comment.)
Media may express most serious doubts in existence of alternate plans to European Defense Force, and, particularly, in possibility to agree on any other form of German defense, if labor and good will invested by many nations in the now far advanced effort on a European basis should be permitted to fail.
Media may in proper context point to the fact that defense of Europe would be difficult without Germany but, for geographical and other reasons, impossible without France.
Media, while not arguing for defense contribution, should continue to point out the unrealistic fallacy of neutralist isolationism in Germany, the insincerity of communist unity propaganda, and the Western will to frustrate aggression and thereby pave the way for peaceful settlement of outstanding problems, including unification of Germany.
Media should continue to carry news items and reports recalling Communist aggression in other parts of world and imply continuous aggressive intentions on part of Soviets by reporting on Communist underground activities and acts or preparations for sabotage in FedRep. News and reports of Communist oppression and exploitation in Soviet occupied territory should receive thorough [Page 330] coverage. Media should, however, play down reports and avoid comment implying an immediate military threat from Soviet arms at this time. Determination to ward off danger of Soviet domination must not be paralyzed by unjustified fear.
Media should give good coverage to all reports showing increasing Western strength in Europe as well as superior technological quality and progress of Western and, particularly, new US weapons.
In view of real or alleged German fear of preventive war, media should give space to material which illustrates the peaceful and defensive character of Western community of freely associated democratic nations and governments. Lengthy negotiations in NATO and EDC give opportunity to point out that aggression as a Western policy is unthinkable but that Western defense is solidly cemented in a thoroughly considered and freely agreed system of treaties. Faith in Western superiority and in success of Western efforts for preservation of peace should be expressed with assurance and confidence.
Media should criticize attempts to confuse and complicate defense problem with introduction of extraneous issues of a secondary nature, i.e., the Saar (see classified PUB Guidance 1583).

Media should continue to emphasize the advantages of economic integration of Europe. Any German acts of participation in international economic cooperation should receive good play. German economic progress, such as coal production, productivity rise in other industries, and other economic factors contributing to German and European strength should be played up, with primary emphasis on the efforts of German labor, management and government and reference to Western cooperation as a contributing factor. Media may infer that defense strength is based on such economic strength.

Media should stress that any increase in productivity will eventually bring about a higher standard of living. While such increases in living standard may not be achieved during a period of defense production, the increase in productivity will offset the otherwise inevitable reduction in the standard of living and will form the basis for a better life when defensive strength and peace are assured.

Media should stress continuously the need for European economic integration, both as a factor in overall strength and as a key factor in the development of an expanding economy without trade barriers and with a better life for the individual.

US personnel should, in conversations with Germans, carefully avoid giving impression of pleading for German contribution to Western defense. Lines discussed in paragraphs c to m are suggested for topics of conversation if considered useful.
Suggest PAO’s brief RO’s in their districts.
  1. Repeated to the various Public Affairs Officers in Germany.
  2. Public Affairs Guidance telegrams were sent from Bonn on a regular basis to give background for the media on events in Germany. For two other telegrams of this type, see telegrams 2967, Document 40, and 2828, Document 146.
  3. This guidance was transmitted in telegram 1307 from Bonn, Jan. 28. (511.00/1–2852)