March 17, 2017

1949. A New Phase of American Foreign Policy for Germany

Secretary of State Dean Acheson Visits West Germany
"Secretary of State Dean Acheson signs the Atlantic defense treaty for the United States, in Washington on April 4, 1949" (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

November 8, 1949

German public opinion is optimistic today on the eve of the important foreign ministers meeting in Paris, for the West German Republic expects that the Western Powers will loosen their bonds of occupation and allow the new nation to take its first independent step along the road to national sovereignty.

America's High Commissioner John McCloy left Frankfurt for Paris this morning and should be in the French capital now. He takes with him a proposal by the Bonn government wherein the Germans themselves worked out a program of industrial security which at the same time would stop the dismantling of German industries. The dismantling program is the most disputed subject, politically and economically, in the country and the major source of disagreement between the Occupation Powers.

The German proposal is designed to put down the fears of industrial rearmament in Germany and at the same time bring about an end to the dismantling.

Some German political commentators also are speculating that the American, British, and French foreign ministers may decide to declare an official end to the war with Germany, a move which would demonstrate the West's confidence in the West German state and counter the surface sovereignty granted to the East German puppet nation by Russia.

But whatever the decisions arrived at in Paris, it is plain that a new chapter in the history of the infant West German Republic is in the making.

The appointment of Russia's Marshal Rokossovsky as the Defense Minister of Poland has resulted in another wave of rumors from Eastern Europe. One is that Rokossovsky's former job as commander of Russia's western defense forces will be taken by Marshal Timoshenko, who has been out of the news since his failure in 1943 to defend the city of Kharkov. The report says that Timoshenko has been in the Far East training the Chinese Communist troops and that his success there has been rewarded by the new command in the West.

One West Berlin newspaper, commenting on the events in Poland, points out that Foreign Minister Vyshinsky was born in the former Polish city of Lemberg, but that it is unnecessary to announce Vyshinsky as a member of the Polish Cabinet since their Foreign Office is already Moscow-controlled.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

November 10, 1949

Secretary of State Dean Acheson's projected visit to Germany following the Paris conference is causing a lot of excitement here today.

The American foreign secretary will be the highest foreign official to visit Bonn since the creation of the West German government, and political observers predict that Mr. Acheson is coming to Germany for purposes more than just to shake hands with President Theodor Heuss and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Plans are being made to receive him in Berlin if Acheson decides to fly here.

High Commissioner John McCloy and Acheson are scheduled to meet German governmental leaders in Bonn on Saturday or Sunday. German sources say the Secretary of State will make a speech at the University of Bonn, a speech which they predict will match in importance the address that Secretary of State James Byrnes made in Stuttgart in 1946. At that time, Byrnes set down American policy in Germany, committing the United States to long-term occupation of the country and the reconstruction of a prosperous and peaceful democratic nation.

Secretary Acheson, whether he makes an address or not, is expected to reveal a new projection of American foreign policy based on the decisions of the Paris conference.

German politicians are happy about the whole thing. They figure that West Germany can't lose; that the mere fact that the foreign ministers are discussing dismantling of German industries means that a change is being contemplated. The best guess here is that the foreign ministers will emerge with a new formula for integrating Germany into the economic unity of Western Europe. This formula would contain further safeguards against reconstruction of any war industry here, but at the same time curtail dismantling so that steel, rubber, and oil plants earmarked for destruction could produce for European recovery.

Whether or not the American, British, and French foreign ministers will agree to declare an official end of the war with Germany is unknown here, but hopes are high that the Western Powers will take this step. It would be an important move in seizing the political initiative away from Russia in the East-West struggle for Germany.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS Frankfurt

November 11, 1949

Leaders of the West German Federal Republic this morning are pleased and perplexed at the results of the Paris conference of the Western foreign ministers.

The ambiguous communiqué from the conference clearly has set the West German state on a new course of European cooperation with the West. For this, the Bonn politicians are pleased. But just how much and in what manner this economic and political integration is to be achieved has the Germans puzzled.

We may find out more of what the foreign ministers decided when Secretary of State Dean Acheson arrives in Frankfurt this afternoon. Acheson will go to Bonn on Sunday to meet President Theodor Heuss and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. On Monday he flies to Berlin to meet officials there and then will return to Washington.

But in the final analysis, the foreign ministers have agreed that democratic Germany must play an increasingly important part in Western European recovery through her industrial production and her growing market for imports.

The other important point is that, despite Europe's need for Germany's productivity, the victorious nations of the West are going to insist on their right to call the signals.

In this sense, the foreign ministers have put Germany on probation, for, as the communiqué says, it is to be expected that the West German state will give "further evidence of its pacific intentions and of its sincere desire to associate itself with those nations devoted to the cause of democracy, justice under the law, and peace."

So now begins a new series of negotiations between the three high commissioners and the German Federal Republic. The negotiations will center on the necessity of dismantling German industry and the question of broadening the Allied Occupation Statute to allow the Bonn government to have economic and consular representation abroad.

In other words, the Western Allies hope they can change the German slogan from "Deutschland über alles" to "Deustchland in cooperation with the Allies."

There appears to be a good chance that this might be achieved.

This is Bill Downs in Frankfurt. Now back to CBS in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS Frankfurt

November 12, 1949

Secretary of State Dean Acheson is in the old university town of Heidelberg today for conferences with General Thomas Handy and other high American military officials who command US troops in Germany.

This meeting is officially described as a courtesy call and part of the program which Acheson set down for himself to "listen and absorb" while in this country. But the conferences in Heidelberg serve to underline the close connection between European recovery and European defense in the postwar struggle for peace.

When he arrived at the Rhein-Main airfield last evening, Secretary Acheson said that the Paris decisions regarding the West German government would reveal themselves in "the weeks and months to come." In other words, that the Paris decisions were not hard and fast demands or agreements, but more in the nature of "plans of action" for the future.

But American foreign policy is altering, and from here it is becoming increasingly clear that the position of defeated Germany today is gradually changing from that of a vanquished nation to be one of the keystones of the European Recovery Program. The United States is more ready to accept this situation than is France or Britain.

But proof that Germany is once again emerging as a European power—however weak—comes in the mere fact that the American, British, and French high commissioners are not committed to negotiate with the West German political leaders on matters of industrial dismantling; on the question of broadening our Occupation Statute to allow German representation abroad; and to persuade the German republic to give satisfactory guarantees that the nation will not prepare for war if we allow her to produce for European recovery.

Tomorrow Secretary Acheson and High Commissioner McCloy go to the Rhineland capital of Bonn to confer with the heads of the Federal Republic. The right-wing parties which make up Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's government are generally expressing satisfaction with the Paris conference. But the powerful opposition Socialists are crying that Adenauer is selling out to the Allies.

First reaction to the Paris meeting from the Communists comes today in the Red Army newspaper Tägliche Rundschau, published in Berlin.

The foreign ministers conference, according to the newspaper, is another attempt to split Germany and marshal her into the Western camp as a partner in arms against the peaceful Soviet Union.

This is Bill Downs in Frankfurt. Now back to CBS in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS Bonn

November 13, 1949

The stars and stripes is flying alongside the red, black, and gold banner of the West German Federal Republic in Bonn today, symbolic of the visit of Secretary of State Dean Acheson to this capital and of the new phase of United States foreign policy which again welcomes a postwar Germany to work with the West for world peace.

Secretary Acheson brought greetings from President Truman to Professor Theodor Heuss, president of the new republic, who returned the formality.

In his only public statement, Acheson congratulated the German president on the progress of his government and expressed the hope of the United States that Germany once again can become a member of the European community of nations.

It was all very stiff, very formal, and very important.

Heuss told the American foreign secretary that he was gratified to hear that Acheson was going to visit Berlin, where he goes tomorrow. The German president said that the Berlin problem is a serious one which the republic cannot solve alone; only with the help of the Western world. He added that his government is grateful for the aid America has been sending, particularly in the aid to refugees pouring westward from the Soviet zone. Many of these people would have starved without it, Heuss said.

There was no mention of last week's foreign ministers conference in Paris, but the American and German officials arranged that the three Western high commissioners would come to Bonn on Tuesday. They will start negotiations on dismantling and other questions which eventually will reveal the extent which the West wants Germany to participate in European affairs and the new limit of power which the victorious West feels is safe to grant her all-too-recent enemy.

Acheson arrived here by train shortly before noon, accompanied by High Commissioner John McCloy and other American officials. The party was met by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

Protocol and dignity were hip-deep on the Bonn station platform. Chancellor Adenauer was dressed in a cutaway, striped trousers, and a derby hat brand new for the occasion. Acheson was more at ease in standard diplomat's uniform and the inevitable homburg hat.

However, eager German photographers and newsmen, recognizing big game when they see it, almost ruined the dignity of the greeting with a galloping charge and scramble that sometimes threatened to knock the dignitaries off their feet.

At this moment, the Secretary of State is holding an hour-long private conference with the German chancellor in which he is expected to summarize the findings of the Paris conference. Later this afternoon there will be a reception to which German governmental leaders and the British and French high commissioners have been invited.

This is Bill Downs in Bonn. Now back to CBS in New York.