762.00/1–2954: Telegram

No. 379
The United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference to the Department of State1

confidential priority

Secto 50. Department pass OSD. Reference Secto 34 repeated Bonn 934, Paris 102, London 91, Moscow unnumbered from Berlin.2

Tripartite working group met with Blankenhorn and Grewe at British headquarters at 11 p.m. January 28 to receive and consider points raised by Federal Government on Allied plan for German reunification taken to Bonn by Grewe day before.3

British chairman opened by stating Allies hoped conference would get to German question on agenda today and might therefore, wish table this plan which left little time for any changes. He could make no promises that any could be gotten in.

Grewe reported plan has been considered by Cabinet during afternoon with following results:

Germans hoped in future they might be given more time to consider plans particularly one of such importance.
Germans felt proposal should indicate election freedoms must be established well before actual elections and election law promulgated perhaps as much as 6 months in advance. WG indicated sympathy with points but stated that document was intended to be general without going into details. Latter were considered to belong rather in report of proposed separate working group. Germans seemed satisfied.
Grewe then advanced entirely new suggestion, i.e., that Assembly be given additional power during transitional period (prior to all-German Government) to legislate to protect people of Soviet Zone and perhaps reestablish laender if Soviet Zone developments should permit or make necessary. WG replied that seemed useless to give such legislative power in absence of executive to carry out and that it was felt plan providing for continuation of supervisory commission was sounder. WG also doubted Ministers could consider and agree such basis new idea so late in day. WG agreed inform Ministers of German proposal but definitely discouraged likelihood acceptance. (After departure Germans, WG agreed not to recommend this change to Ministers.)
Germans, as anticipated, found fault with formulation of reserved powers, particularly first part paragraph 4, Section IV as unnecessary restatement existing Allied rights. Discussion resulted in reformulation which omitted this feature and WG agreed to submit to Ministers.
Germans then suggested deletion next paragraph as having bad political impact from emphasis on Allied rights. WG was at pains to make clear that main objective this paragraph was to eliminate Soviet veto right. Both Blankenhorn and Grewe indicated at end a better understanding this matter and seemed satisfied they were in better position to explain matter to Federal Government. WG agreed, however, to revision of paragraph in regard to form (not substance) which the Germans welcomed.
Germans proposed once more we renounce right to disapprove constitution. Since neither British nor French willing to give way, WG expressed doubtful any change could be made.
Germans suggested two minor changes in language early in paper which were agreed; namely, a treaty would be “freely negotiated” and that elections must be “free and secret”.

  1. Repeated to Bonn, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. Secto 34 transmitted the text of a “Plan for Reunification of Germany in Freedom”. (762.00/1–2754) For text of this paper as revised in light of the suggestions below, see FPM(54)17, Document 510.
  3. Regarding the presentation of the plan to Grewe and his comments on it, see BER MIN–5, Document 372.