264. Memorandum From R.G. Livingston of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Our Embassy in Bonn Analyzes Anti-Americanism in the FRG

Marty Hillenbrand has sent in a searching and thoughtful analysis of anti-Americanism in West Germany. It is worth reading (Tab A). He concludes that we shall have to become used to an institutionalized radical left and to more anti-American sentiments, slogans, and actions but that the main lines of development in the FRG still favor good relations with the United States.

The major points in the message:

—West German media have been filled for months about anti-Americanism. This coverage may become a self-fulfilling prophecy, changing perceptions, and making the reality of attitudes toward us worse than it has been.

—The Embassy believes that anti-Americanism remains limited to a small if very vocal minority.

—Media reports often confuse anti-Americanism with lack of confidence in the U.S. commitment and growing public realization of U.S. [Typeset Page 823] international monetary weakness, FRG power, and non-coincidence of US and FRG interest on some issues.

—Yet a new generation is coming to the fore in Germany without memory of the Third Reich or of the US role in postwar Europe, nurtured by anti-American reports in the media, and inclined to a fashionable rejection of the establishment and of neo-imperialistic capitalism, of which the United States is considered the world leader.

—Moreover, the Radical Left not only opposes the US, and NATO, but also wants the FRG to break entirely with its postwar past, of which the United States is so large a part. Once Vietnam is past us, emphasis on us as a target will shift to our alleged identification with neo-capitalism, to the US-dominated multi-national corporations, and to our links with Israeli interests.

—And the new fact is that the Radical Left for the first time has become institutionalized. Its existence and German political life within the SPD is accepted.

—The SPD leaders, however are alert to the problem but are optimistic that today’s radicals will become tomorrow’s moderates, as they themselves did once they had to cope with power.

—Brandt, Scheel, Schmidt and Leber have spoken out forcefully to counter impressions that US–FRG ties are deteriorating. Brandt has placed his full authority behind SPD national convention resolutions that back the US and NATO.

(Comment: With at least 25% of the delegates to the convention from the Jusos and other Leftist groups, however, Brandt will probably have to make concessions to them in the makeup of the party’s organs and perhaps in its domestic policy program as well.)

  1. Summary: Livingston forwarded and summarized an analysis of anti-Americanism in the FRG by Hillenbrand.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 687, Country Files, Europe, Germany (Bonn) Vol. XIII, Jan–Sep 73 (2 of 3). Confidential. Sent for information. Attached but not published is Tab A, telegram 4477 from Bonn, March 27. Scowcroft wrote at the top of Livingston’s memorandum, “HAK has seen.” During a March 9 tour d’horizon discussion with Hillenbrand, Brandt discussed anti-Americanism in the FRG. (Telegram 3589 from Bonn, March 9; ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973, [no film number])