No. 170
Memorandum by John J. McCloy1

top secret

Memorandum of Blankenhorn Visit to McCloy, Sunday, March 15, 1953

Blankenhorn came in from Germany by plane with a message from the Chancellor, traveling secretly2 and with the purpose of giving advance notice of matters he proposes to bring up on his forthcoming visit to the United States.

The Chancellor emphasizes that this is probably the only time in his life that he will be visiting the United States. He hopes the visit will be of significance, not merely atmospheric, and this hope is not based only on his own political situation but because he feels that we now have the last clear chance for the establishment of a solid European Defense Community, political as well as military. Further interminable delays will be disastrous and the time has now come for real advances.

First, as to his program this week, the Bundestag will have its third reading of the contractual agreements and the EDC. This action will be followed by Adenauer’s trip to the United States, and on his return the treaties will be submitted to the Bundesrat. In this situation, Rheinhold Meyer [Maier] seems to be the key figure. Adenauer rather thinks that Meyer [Maier], although an uncertain quantity, will shrink before the enormous responsibility of repudiating these agreements. After Bundesrat approval, the President will sign the legislative acts, and then in all probability the SPD will seek from the constitutional court a sort of temporary injunction. According to Blankenhorn, the decision on this might be forthcoming in about three days after submission. According to Adenauer’s calculations, it will be the end of April or the beginning of May by the time the Praesidium will have acted and the full ratification of the treaties by the Federal Republic will be completed.

[Page 406]

Adenauer wishes to assure the Secretary of State and the President that he will do everything in his power to put this program through, and that he already has his plans well advanced. He asserts that public opinion is better now than it has been for some time, but we must expect strenuous efforts and strong propaganda from the Soviets to interfere with this schedule.

The real delays will develop in other countries than Germany, and from the Chancellor’s reading of the situation he feels the situation in these other countries is still serious. The French, he is convinced, seek only delay. Bidault is a slender reed, loath to cut off the relationships which he now has with the de Gaullists largely because of his personal ambitions, and he believes that though the French will give lip service to the concept of the EDC, what they really seek is continued inaction, in the meantime gleaning all they can in the way of other concessions in return for promises to do better.

According to the Chancellor’s estimate, there will be probably one year’s delay before ratification. The chances for ratification this autumn, in his judgment, do not look too good considering the French political situation. Belgium and Luxembourg will drag their feet along with the French. Italy is also somewhat of a doubtful factor not through any personal defection of de Gasperi, but because of his local political problem. His statement that he would ratify before the election, it now seems, will have to be modified.

In the meantime, Soviet preparations are going on with real vigor. Refugees are being cleaned out, some being sent to the concentration camps, some being allowed to flee in the hope that the combination of these methods will leave East Germany in a more amenable form for organization by the Soviets than heretofore. One can no longer blink at the actual military preparations in East Germany. The Bereitschaften are being turned into a people’s army—180,000 men trained, equipped, good tanks, good anti-tank equipment and training and some planes. The Chancellor believes that with this strength, there will be a real test of our resolution, perhaps coming in Berlin or in some other form. While Europe is badly defended in spirit and in fact, it must get beyond its present stage of paralysis if there is to be any hope of forming a progressive and vigorous Western Community. The Chancellor, conscious of the time element, therefore, proposes two things:

(1) To start training German cadres strictly according to the EDC formulas immediately after German ratification. He submits a schedule for Army, Air Force and Naval Forces, commencing with the training of volunteer veterans, former officers, none above the rank of colonel, and non-commissioned officers, the training to be accomplished with United States units preferably, but possibly also [Page 407] with British and French. All told, the volunteer veterans (commissioned and noncommissioned officers) would amount to about 30,000 for the Army, and about 60,000 young recruits with no previous training, also volunteers.

For the Air Force it would be contemplated that there would be about 10,000 former officers and former enlisted personnel; for the Navy about 5,000.

As I understand the proposal, nothing would be said about this in any communiqué covering the visit, but at an appropriate time disclosures could be made that selected German volunteers were training with Allied Forces.

(2) On the political front, the Chancellor would hope that the United States would announce that the U.S. would get in contact with her Allies, suggesting to them that as soon as the Federal Republic had ratified the contracts, they would come into effect, thus giving to the Federal Republic full power over its internal and external affairs subject to the provisions of Article I of the General Agreement. In effect, this would mean that the Agreements of May 26, 19523 would come into effect in precisely the same way as if all signatories to the European Defense Treaty had ratified that Treaty immediately upon the ratification by the Federal Republic itself of all the Agreements. In other words, there would be no “junctum” between the Federal ratification and that of the others, but all reserve powers would remain as stated in the General agreement and all the rights of the troops under the so-called “Truppen Vertrag”4 would be in force and French troops would be given the full benefit of this Treaty as well during the interim period. The Chancellor emphasized that his proposal would involve that all the provisions of these treaties would be in force, including specifically those in Article I of the General Agreement.

Thus far, no one knows of these proposals—not even Conant or Bruce. The Chancellor took these means of communication primarily because of his fear of leaks.

As to the general situation, the Chancellor says that he has no real knowledge of the significance of the Malenkov succession. He knows what is going on in East Germany, but not to any extent in Russia. He comes to the conclusion, however, that the Soviets are preparing something definite, perhaps in respect to Berlin, but probably with the idea of again testing strengths in Europe, say in 1954.

Ollenhauer and the SPD continue negative, but they still have the attraction of German unity as an offset to Adenauer’s policies. There were certain other incidentals. He wonders whether some further governmental action might not be taken toward the refugee [Page 408] problem in Germany. This would greatly help him and it would fill a real need. He emphasizes that the refugees are good people, many of them young, a real element of strength if handled properly. He points out that while Reuter and Berlin are attractive figures, it is the Federal Republic which really puts up the money to take care of these people and eventually has to absorb them.

Would there be a chance of a loan for refugees from either the Export Bank or the World Bank? It is an enormous problem, but the psychological effect of say a $100,000,000 loan would be tremendous.

He will be prepared to sign the so-called Cultural Agreement on his visit. It will be prepared by that time. This provides for cultural exchanges but it is a good means by which we are permitted to carry on activities in Germany in their propaganda war, without which there would be a serious diminution of our propaganda front.

He also wishes an exchange of views between his atomic experts and ours on the matter of air defense. He would like to have his experts come over—if not with him, shortly after. They need information from us in this field, but they also have some of their own to offer.

He urges that everything be done to convince the French that further dilatory tactics will not succeed.

I am leaving in this envelope the training schedules for the Army, the Air Force and the Navy (Streng Geheim!), which were handed me by Blankenhorn and which I feel should be looked at by the military people, and the hand-written (in German) proposal for the abolition of the “junctum”, which is referred to above.5 As I think this was carefully drafted, I would prefer to have an expert translator make the translation, but the gist of it is as I have indicated above.

  1. Attached to the source text was a brief covering memorandum from McCloy to Secretary Dulles, dated Mar. 16, stating that he had dictated the memorandum, but had not had time to go over it.
  2. On Mar. 11 Conant had cabled the Department stating that Hallstein had asked HICOG to issue a visa to Blankenhorn for a secret visit to the United States to see McCloy in New York with regard to Chancellor Adenauer’s trip to the United States. (Telegram 4187 from Bonn, 762A.13/3–1153) The following day the Department replied that it had no objection to Blankenhorn’s trip. (Telegram 4526 to Bonn, Mar. 12, 762A.13/3–1153)
  3. Regarding the complex of agreements comprising the contractual arrangements, signed at Bonn, May 26, 1952, see Document 50.
  4. For an extract from the convention on the Rights and Obligations of Foreign Forces and Their Members in the Federal Republic of Germany (Truppen Vertrag) signed at Bonn, May 26, 1952, see Document 53.
  5. Neither the training schedules nor the proposal for abolition of the “junctum”, both attached to the source text, is printed.