No. 172
Memorandum by the Director of the Bureau of German Affairs (Riddleberger) to the Secretary of State1

top secret

Subject: Agenda for Adenauer Visit

In accordance with arrangements approved by the Secretary and following his conversations with M. Mayer,2 I saw the Chancellor’s emissary, Mr. Herbert Blankenhorn at my house yesterday. In addition to discussing the possibility of Franco-German negotiations in the immediate future on the Saar, Mr. Blankenhorn gave me the Chancellor’s thinking on a number of points which he may desire to discuss in Washington. The substance of this interview is set forth below.

Mr. Blankenhorn stated that the Chancellor had not intended to raise the Saar question with the Secretary but would be guided by U.S. wishes in the matter. He would come prepared to discuss the Saar and he would likewise have with him a detailed plan for a solution of the economic aspects of this problem. Mr. Blankenhorn said that in the opinion of the German Government agreement had been reached on political principles. The broad outline of this economic settlement had been drafted by Mr. Erhard, German Minister of Economic Affairs, and had been approved by the Cabinet. Mr. Blankenhorn then gave me a statement of the principles of the settlement, a translation of which is appended.

I then conveyed to Mr. Blankenhorn the information we had had from M. Mayer respecting his willingness to enter into negotiations himself with the Chancellor on the Saar problem and his hope that the negotiations between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister could be undertaken in the very near future in Paris. Mr. Blankenhorn and I then surveyed the possibilities and found out that conversations in Paris before the Chancellor’s arrival in the United States were excluded because of the travel plans of the two heads of Government. Mr. Blankenhorn then explained that the Chancellor intended to go to Ottawa in addition to his United States trip and consequently would depart from Canada by air on April 18 arriving at Hamburg on April 19. As the CDU Party convention will [Page 413] be held on April 20 to April 22 inclusive, April 23 would be the first day the Chancellor would be free and that unfortunately conflicts with a trip which M. Mayer plans to take for several days. It therefore appears that the earliest possible date for these negotiations would be after April 26. Mr. Blankenhorn stated that he was certain the Chancellor was now prepared to undertake serious negotiations for a Saar settlement. He thought, however, that the Chancellor might want to propose that these negotiations be removed from the atmosphere of either Bonn or Paris and could perhaps be conducted in Washington in the presence of U.S. and U.K. observers. I expressed some doubt that this suggestion would be feasible in view of the earlier attitude we had assumed on direct Franco-German negotiations but said I would convey it to the Secretary.

The Chancellor plans to explain in Washington the situation on complete German ratification of the EDC and his hopes that the difficulties in the Bundesrat and in the Court will be rapidly overcome. He plans to give precise explanation of the situation in Germany.
Although the Chancellor hopes that the German ratification will be completed in the near future, he fears that there may be a delay on the part of other countries in putting treaties into effect. Because of the elections in Germany this summer, the Chancellor is most insistent in requiring certain solutions in this field. His specific suggestion is that some sort of declaration should be issued by the United States that if the Federal Republic has ratified the treaties the United States would intervene with the other signatories in favor of putting the contractual agreements into force. His ideas on this subject are set forth in the hand written draft which has been given to us, translation of which is attached. The Chancellor feels most strongly that he must have something concrete in hand when he returns to Germany from this trip. He believes that the atmosphere in Germany is now very good in the whole field of European cooperation but he requires something in the way of specific progress to keep the momentum in the right direction. As additional suggestion, the Chancellor would like to see the U.S. High Commissioner given the functions of an Ambassador and further that the German Mission in Washington should be converted into an Embassy. The Chancellor is firmly convinced that with the present policies of the U.S.S.R. the West cannot possibly continue as at present with no material progress in the field of German contribution to defense.
Given the present military posture of the Western World, the Chancellor believes that the time has come to commence training of German forces. This could be done under the U.S. and U.K. commands [Page 414] in Germany and the Chancellor believes that the Allies could train up to 100,000 men which would provide the cadres for 12 German divisions. These reserves would then be ready when the EDC comes into effect. In answer to my question, Mr. Blankenhorn stated that of course the Federal Republic would pay for such training as part of its contribution to defense.
On the refugee problem, the Chancellor expects that there will be at least 250,000 coming into West Germany in 1953. He had three specific suggestions as to how the United States might assist: (a) grants in aid from MSA; (b) moratorium of interest payments under the German debt settlement3 on our claims for post-war aid (this moratorium would not affect the private debt settlement); (c) a declaration that the United States would support an international refugee loan. I said that I would strongly urge that no proposal with respect to a moratorium on interest should be advanced at this time, particularly as we hoped to put the debt settlement before the Senate very soon for ratification. After some discussion on this point, Mr. Blankenhorn said he fully agreed that the Chancellor should not raise this point and he would so recommend.
In order to demonstrate West German solidarity with the struggle of the free world against Communist aggression, the Chancellor would like to offer a medical unit for Korea. This is known in Germany as a “Feldlazarett” and is a completely equipped medical unit. Furthermore, the Chancellor would also like to offer a rest home for U.S. soldiers in Baden-Baden. This is a very well equipped establishment known as the “Mariahaloen” which the French have recently released from requisition. This would be available for any forces or wounded which the United States desired to send.
As the Chancellor desires to push ahead as rapidly as possible with the German military side, he wonders if it would be advisable for blank (the German representative of the EDC Interim Commission) to come with him. I rather discouraged this proposal and I think the Chancellor will be governed by our desires.
Contrary to previous information, the Chancellor does not desire to discuss the question of atomic energy per se. What he does want to take up is the question of what the Germans call “Luftschuetz”, which implies civil defense measures against aerial attacks including the use of atomic weapons.
The Chancellor would also welcome information with respect to the amount of Off-Shore Procurement which the United States anticipates for West Germany.
Mr. Blankenhorn will be in Washington until Monday night and would be happy to provide the Secretary or any of his immediate assistants with any further information which we may desire. Mr. Blankenhorn hopes that one of us will be able to give him some indication of our reaction to the foregoing by Monday night.

[Attachment 1]

Paper Prepared by the Federal Minister of Economics (Erhard)

General Principles for Saar Economic Settlement

Draft German Proposal Approved by German Cabinet

The Saar Territory remains part of the French currency area.
With respect to France and Germany the Saar Territory will be fully liberalized. (This means that no quotas will be imposed on Saar trade with France and Germany.)
German as well as French goods will enter duty-free into the Saar Territory.
In order to protect France against a flood of German goods coming through the Saar, a customs boundary will be created on the French-Saar border, which will have no significance for the trade from France to the Saar and for goods of Saar origin going to France.
Eventually, free domicile for Germans in the Saar Territory.
Free disposition of the Saar’s trade surplus with Germany:
to acquire property in Germany; and
depending upon the magnitude of the surplus, to give the right to Germans having assets in the Saar to transfer to Germany.


The Saar Territory will be the first completely liberalized area in accordance with the ideals of European cooperation.
Germany will in a legal manner gain in economic influence.
France can raise no political and also no economic objections.
The Saar area will probably become the cheapest area in Europe and therefore exercise a power of attraction.
[Page 416]

[Attachment 2]

Proposal Prepared by Chancellor Adenauer


When the Federal Republic has ratified the agreements and if the going into force of the agreements is still further delayed, the Government of the United States will take up with the other signatories to the agreements of 26 May 1952 respecting the relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the three powers, and, in agreement with the Federal Government, will support the position that the full authority of the Federal Republic over its internal and external affairs in accordance with Article I of General Convention4 should be restored.

  1. The source text bears the handwritten notation “Sec saw, R[oderic] L. O’C[onnor]”. Copies of this memorandum were sent to Matthews, Merchant, and MacArthur.
  2. French Prime Minister René Mayer and Foreign Minister Georges Bidault visited the United States at the end of March.
  3. The negotiations for a settlement of German external debts, conducted by Tripartite Commission on German Debts, had been successfully concluded on Feb. 27, 1953. The agreement was put into effect on Sept. 15 following ratification by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany. Documentation on the negotiations is in file 398.10 EDC.
  4. For text of the Convention on Relations between the Three Powers and the Federal Republic of Germany, see Document 51.