No. 22
The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Secretary of State

secret personal

Dear Dean : Upon receiving your letter of April 191 concerning the clause on human rights in the Preamble to the General Convention, I took this problem up with the Chancellor privately yesterday and discussed with him the possibility of omitting the clause entirely. I decided it was preferable to make this suggestion rather than to propose the language of the Japanese Treaty as the latter might encourage the Germans to suggest a substitution of other language from this treaty for some of the other provisions in the contractual agreements.

I explained to the Chancellor that the United States Senate had not yet considered the latest UN draft on human rights and consequently would be reluctant to accept any wording which might imply commitment in respect of this important matter before the Senate had had an opportunity to deal with its substance. I touched on some of the difficulties to which the language of the Japanese Treaty had given rise and told Adenauer that you greatly regretted the necessity of having to reopen any agreement already reached.

The Chancellor readily accepted the political necessity for your suggestion and agreed to delete the phrase, adding that he did not feel this in any way implied the United States had lost interest in protection of human rights. He asked, however, that we write him a letter which could explain the reasons why a clause of this nature does not appear in the agreements. He would not use the letter if it could be avoided, but it is obvious that he wishes to be protected against any criticism that Germany was not prepared to give assurances regarding respect for human rights.

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I also spoke very confidentially to Kirkpatrick and François-Poncet, both of whom are recommending to their governments to agree to drop the clause without publicity or unnecessary argument. The latter will discuss this in Paris with Schuman next week in order to avoid telegraphic exchanges, and Kirkpatrick is writing Eden directly.

Although it seems likely that we can without much difficulty obtain this modification of the Preamble, I believe our difficulties will come less from governments than from Jewish and other groups, particularly at home. On repeated occasions they have insisted that the new contracts with Germany should contain specific clauses regarding the protection of human rights as was done in the case of the Italian and satellite peace treaties. We have been able to meet this pressure by indicating that in the treaty Germany will recognize this problem and give some commitment even though it might be in the form of an expression of policy rather than a specific clause. I fear, therefore, that when the treaty is published, this omission will not pass unnoticed and the storm of criticism may be heavy. As your letter indicates, however, you are aware of this aspect of the problem.

I will let you know as soon as I can obtain answers from the British and French governments.


John J. McCloy
  1. Supra.