246. Paper Prepared by the Operations Coordinating Board0
OPERATIONS COORDINATING BOARD REPORT ON GERMANY (THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC) (NSC 5803)
(Approved by the President on February 7, 1958)
(Period Covered: From July 17, 1957 Through September 3, 1958)
A. Summary Evaluation
- This period brought no basic change in the situation in Germany. As far as the situation within the Federal Republic is concerned, there was continued progress toward the accomplishment of U.S. policy objectives. U.S.-German relations remained close and cordial. The political stability of the Federal Republic and the West Germans’ repudiation of extremism and attachment to Western-oriented political parties was confirmed anew in the third Bundestag elections and the North [Page 650] Rhine-Westphalia elections. The economic boom continued, although at a somewhat less accelerated rate. European integration with German participation took important steps forward with the establishment of the European Economic and Atomic Communities. Efforts to obtain German collaboration in the pursuit of Western objectives in Eastern Europe and in the Near East and other “uncommitted areas” had limited success. Gradual progress was made towards achieving the reduced NATO goals for the German military establishment, but obstacles remained to be overcome in the retarded buildup of the Air Force and in wide-spread opposition to the stationing of nuclear weapons in Germany.
- No discernible progress was made towards national reunification and the elimination of Soviet influence in East Germany, although the Western position in Berlin was fully maintained. The Soviet Union clearly indicated its unwillingness to resume discussion of reunification at a summit conference. There were signs that new efforts might be required to deflate ill-considered and dangerous proposals, for example, the scheme for the “confederation” of the two parts of Germany, which could derive support within Germany from impatience at the lack of a solution of the German problem and to some extent from misgivings about the effectiveness of Western defense arrangements.
- A review of policy is not recommended.
B. Major Operating Problems or Difficulties Facing the United States
- No progress was made toward a solution of the basic German problem—that of national reunification. The problem was reviewed in connection with the possibility of another summit conference. The U.S., U.K. and France took the position that another summit conference, if held, should resume discussion of German reunification and European security where it broke off at the Geneva Conference of 19551 and that they should press toward an agreement with the U.S.S.R. on the basis of the Eden Plan2 or some modification thereof. The U.S.S.R., on the other hand, persisted in its contention that reunification should be worked out in negotiations between the “two German States” rather than among the Four Powers, and the East German Communists played a variant of this theme by calling for a “confederation” of the Federal Republic and the “German Democratic Republic”. Chancellor Adenauer believed it important that a summit conference not fail solely over the issue of inclusion [Page 651] of the German problem as an item of the agenda, and he apparently considered that more progress might be made toward a solution of this problem if the Four Powers could first reach an understanding on disarmament.
- The attitude of the German population continued to be more one of resignation than of restiveness, but there were indications that the prolonged stalemate might be persuading a greater body of opinion of the inevitability of making greater concessions toward the Communist position. The Opposition showed a growing disposition to deal with the East German regime, and increased contacts with the GDR were in fact endorsed by the National Convention of the SPD.
West German Contribution to European
- Among the most pressing problems with relation to Germany continued to be that of assuring an adequate contribution by the Federal Republic to Western defense. Progress was made toward the attainment of the reduced West German force goals fixed by NATO.
- The German armed force increased its strength to about 140, 000 men. Seven divisions, at less than full combat strength, were turned over to NATO. Another two divisions will be activated in the fall of 1958. The buildup of the Air Force was delayed by a lack of trained pilots and airfields but training under American supervision progressed satisfactorily. A small Naval arm has limited combat ability in the Baltic. According to the latest German plans, twelve divisions, 40 air squadrons and a small naval arm, comprising a total of about 350, 000 men, will constitute the German military establishment in 1961. Military expenditures are expected to increase sharply and will total Deutsche marks 21 billion by 1961, including aid to Berlin.
Nuclear Weapons in Germany.
- A serious, although perhaps transitory, problem in connection with the prosecution of the defense and foreign policies of the Federal Government arose from wide-spread opposition to the stationing of nuclear weapons in Germany. Many Germans feel that the acceptance of nuclear weapons would increase the risk of a third World War and threaten Germany with atomic destruction. Largely for the lack of other issues, the Opposition attempted to gain the support of this body of opinion by seizing on the issue of nuclear armament as the principal theme for its attacks on the Federal Government. The SPD, with considerable support from trade union and professional circles, pulled out all stops in a “Campaign against Atomic Death” which reached its peak on the eve of the North Rhine-Westphalia elections in July 1958. The SPD’s endorsement of plebiscites and warning strikes indicated the temper of the dispute. Although the principal objective was to bar nuclear capability for the Bundeswehr, propaganda was directed against atomic weapons [Page 652] in general and thus against possession of them by U.S. forces in Germany.
- The Federal Government was, however, able to win the approval of the Bundestag in March 1958 for the equipping of the Bundeswehr with “the most modern weapons” (a euphemism for nuclear capabilities) and the North Rhine- Westphalia election indicated that the “atomic death” campaign influenced few votes. In short, the Opposition argument that the stationing of nuclear weapons in Germany will prevent German reunification had no more immediate effect than the earlier argument that the creation of a German armed force would prevent reunification. The uneasiness expressed so vociferously by the Opposition is, however, privately shared by some supporters of the Government.
- Franco-German Relations. The accession of De Gaulle appeared to have raised a new problem for Franco-German relations and understanding, which previously had been developing in a very satisfactory fashion. Federal German leaders feared that De Gaulle might undertake a reorientation of French policy, laying more stress on French national interests and prestige, to the detriment of European cooperation. Specifically, the Germans were concerned about possible French attempts to reorganize NATO defense arrangements, about France’s desire to become a fourth atomic power, about De Gaulle’s known reservations regarding German reunification, about De Gaulle’s desire to restore formal “tripartitism” (collaboration of the U.S., the U.K. and France) and the danger that Germany would thereby be relegated to a secondary position, and about De Gaulle’s apparent reluctance to commit France to a solution of the issue of a Free Trade Area. The problem was complicated by the facts that some Germans saw parallels between De Gaulle’s and Hitler’s accessions to power and that De Gaulle and Adenauer had not yet met.
- Federal Republic’s Relation to Underdeveloped Areas. The United States policy of encouraging substantially increased West German financial and technical assistance to underdeveloped areas, both directly and through appropriate international institutions, had limited success. The Federal Republic continued to express its interest in the underdeveloped areas in various forums and made clear both its awareness of the need to forestall Soviet penetration into these areas and its desire to expand trade with these areas. While the Federal Republic made suggestions for increased coordination with the United States in aiding underdeveloped areas, it became increasingly clear that German assistance will usually take the form of credit insurance to German exporters and loans to international organizations and will rarely take the form of making available public funds directly to other countries. The [Page 653] Germans have indicated that additional possibilities of private or public aid for underdeveloped countries are limited as far as the Federal Republic is concerned and, in particular, have taken a negative attitude toward European initiatives in the NATO and OEEC for multilateral arrangements for aid to underdeveloped countries. (See paragraph 16 in Annex A.)
- Return of German Assets. On July 31, 1957 the White House announced the Administration’s intention to submit as a matter of priority to the next session of Congress a plan providing for the payment of all legitimate war damage claims of American nationals against Germany and an equitable monetary return to the former owners of vested German assets.3 The German Federal Government expressed its grave disappointment with the terms of the Administration proposal and asked that the submission of a draft bill be deferred. The Germans were advised that the proposal for an equitable monetary return to former owners of vested assets could be deferred, as they requested, but that it would be necessary to go forward with a separate American claims bill. Such a separate draft bill, for the payment of the war damage claims of American nationals against Germany from the proceeds of vested assets, was submitted to Congress July 8 by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission on behalf of the executive branch. Just prior to its adjournment on July 4, the German Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the German Federal Government to work vigorously for the settlement of the question of German assets vested in the United States and to pay particular attention to the proposed draft bill for the payment of American war damage claims from vested assets.
- Support Costs. The Federal Republic and the United States reached an agreement on June 7, 1957 under the terms of which the Federal Government paid $77.4 million to cover partially the Deutschmark costs of maintaining U.S. troops in Germany during FY 1958. This sum was half of the amount received in the previous year. The United States has approached the Federal Government several times since the fall of 1957 for an additional $77.4 million, but the Germans have refused to pay us any further support costs. The approach was made pursuant to the agreement of June 7 in which we had reserved the right to bring up the matter again if we so desired.
- London Debt Settlement. Under the Anglo-German support cost arrangements recently approved in NATO, Germany agreed to pay the British a lump sum constituting installments otherwise due in 1961–1964 on its post-war debt. Should the Germans not make a proportional [Page 654] payment to us, they must obtain a waiver of our rights to equal treatment provided for in the London Debt Agreements. However, the German Government, in stating to parliament that it will not pay additional troop costs to the U.S., recently indicated that it may be prepared to accelerate payments on its post-war debt to the U.S.
Note: See latest National Intelligence Estimate NIE 23-57, dated 5 November 1957, “The Outlook for Germany”.4
- Source: Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5803 Series. Secret. For the section of this report on Germany (Berlin), see vol. VIII, Document 19. For the section on Germany (East Germany), see Document 279. A Financial Annex and Pipeline Analysis is not printed.↩
- For documentation on the Geneva Summit Meeting July 17–23, 1955, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. V, pp. 119 ff.↩
- For documentation on the Eden Plan for German reunification and European security, see ibid., pp. 301 ff.↩
- For text of this announcement, see Department of State Bulletin, August 19, 1957, p. 306.↩
- Not printed. (Department of State, INR-NIE Files)↩
- The memorandum has not been found. For text of the Forces Convention, October 23, 1954, see 6 UST 5689.↩
- Not found.↩