September 26, 2017

1950. Western Occupation Powers Consider German Role in Europe's Future

West Germany Reacts to Foreign Ministers' Conference
"On 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, invites Germany and other interested European states to place their iron and steel production under the authority of a supranational European institution. As Schuman's address could not be recorded on 9 May 1950, the Minister had to take part in a re-enactment of the event for posterity" (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

May 14, 1950

The arrest of West Germany's No. 2 Communist leader is causing a sensation throughout this divided country, and today this news is overshadowing even the foreign ministers' conference in London.

Thus far the Communist press has made no comment on the incarceration of Karl Mueller, an old-time party leader and Communist member of the Bonn parliament. He was expelled from the party last week on charges of Titoism and being an agent of the British.

The Communists only admit that Mueller is being held by the puppet security ministry. But the case is beginning to assume the importance of similar purges in Romania and Bulgaria.

It most certainly is a blow to the organization of the Communist party in Germany.

Apparently the earlier reports that Mueller was abducted from his home in Hanover by the German K-5 secret police are untrue. Now it appears that the former German Communist leader voluntarily came to East Berlin to plead his case personally with Walter Ulbricht, the strongman of the German movement.

It is reported that Mueller is the victim of a personal feud he has been carrying on with Max Reimann, the recognized leader of the Communists in West Germany. Reimann has been busy the past few days denouncing Mueller and calling for greater party discipline and a clean-out of unreliables.

Whatever the true story is behind Mueller's arrest, it is agreed that it is clear evidence that the German Communists are in serious trouble. Party membership in West Germany has fallen by more than 70,000 in the past six months.

The events of the past two weeks, particularly the Russian announcement that no more German prisoners are to be returned, also is having a reaction here. German authorities say today that in the past seven days more than one hundred deserters from the Communist People's Police have asked for political asylum in the West.

West German editorial reaction to the foreign ministers' conference has been subdued thus far until the communiqué on Germany is released. American and British-licensed newspapers warn the people not to expect too much, but that the Western Powers now recognize the necessity of giving Germany a place in the Community of Western Europe.

This summer a series of elections will be held in the various provinces of West Germany. Yesterday Chancellor Konrad Adenauer opened the campaign for his right-wing Christian Democratic party. The emphasis is on foreign affairs.

Adenauer said his government would continue its efforts to build a federated Europe and that he has already replied to French Foreign Minister Schuman's offer to merge the heavy industries of the two countries. Industrial and economic experts from France and Germany will meet in a few weeks to further explore the possibilities of the merger.

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

Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

May 15, 1950

West German reaction to the decisions of the London foreign ministers' conference has been sober and optimistic. This morning, comment from political leaders and editorial writers has centered around two points.

First, the American, British, and French declaration that until Germany is united on a democratic basis, there will be no separate peace treaty and no withdrawal of occupation troops. This is being interpreted correctly as an implied security guarantee of the West German government against Communist aggression from the East.

The second point which has impressed the German experts here is the reiteration throughout last night's communiqué that West Germany's future independence and sovereignty will depend upon the speed and method with which she fits herself into the democratic pattern of Western Europe.

As one editorialist puts it this morning: "The government policy is entering a decisive this new phase, the fate of the Federal Republic depends not only on the will of the Western Powers but also on the political progress of the federal government and of the German people."

The question marks left by the London declaration concern the extent to which West Germany will be freed of present occupation restrictions, particularly in the field of international economic relationships. And the extent to which the Western Powers will allow democratic Germany to participate in West European defense arrangements.

Chancellor Konrad Adenauer is pleased with the way things turned out. The London communiqué is a "document satisfactory in every respect," he says. "It represents considerable progress. Now one can assume for sure that in the near future important developments will take place."

A half hour ago, an American military court sentenced six members of the Communist People's Police to two years imprisonment on charges of being members of a paramilitary organization. The black-uniformed policemen, now being trained by Soviet authorities, were arrested April 13th when they mistakenly entered the US sector of Berlin.

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