Germany: Reparations and Humphrey Committee

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Germany: Reparations and Humphrey Committee

Germany: Reparations and Humphrey Committee

E.B. 

Much trouble over repns. Many of important plants are in Bizone.
Pressure from I.A.R.A. powers.
Long time to get live/industry fixed. Good level eventually agreed : wd. give Germany a standard comparable to our own. Must however be careful about war potential.
Congress carried Cl.115(f), however, wh. compelled Adminn. to review repns. p'mme to see how it might be amended to assist Europ. recovery. E.C.A. appointed.
Humphrey Cttee. proposals.  Our modified proposals.
Thought U.S. were intending to propose expansion of G. steel capacity.
French cut up rough. U.S. saw red light.
Recommend action as in para. 2.

R.S.C. 

Fundamental ques. Cardinal point = our attitude on G.'s place in W. Union. If we count on her as ally, max. industrial strength.
But if we think it more important to keep industry to lowest point consistent with viability, we must take a diff. line.
I wd. like first to have views of C.C.O.S. Must know first which leg we are to stand on.
Eg. our proposals involve removg. all boiler making plants in Br. Zone.
This is one of main bases of industrial strength.
Which of the alternatives do we as a country think we ought to adopt - the Fr. or U.S. views. Where do we stand?
25% of all that is removed goes to Russia. We shan't get much of this.

A.V.A. 

No view from C.C.O.S.
Our C.O.S. think a)  danger of these plants being overrun by Russia.  That is greatest menace because we can't stop R. advance.
    b)  Importance of rebuilding W. Germany.
    c)  Danger in course of b), of allowing aggressive G. to emerge.
Inconsistency of U.S. policies under s.115 and 117.

R.S.C. 

How far do you want to use these plants to produce defence equipmt. for other W. Eur. countries? U.S. have overlooked this.

A.B. 

I have bn. consistently opposed to dismantling. Have always thought it  enough to control, by inspection, finishing ends of the trade. That wd. not interfere with basic industries.
Stress on risk of falling into Comm. R. hands. The risk is just as great in France - probably greater.
Fantastic to dismantle G. plants on that a/c. while we pump finished munitions into France.
Importance of building G. economy to a point at wh. Comm. penetration can be resisted. Hence leave as much plant there as possible : send none to R : and ensure proper inspectns. in order to allay French anxieties.

E.B. 

Agreement on level/industry : can't go back on that.
This proposal is an improvemt. on that fr. German point of view.
Boiler capacity : we shall have quite a few : Hitler got the capacity up to much too high a level.
Principle tht. we shd. not build up G. faster than the countries they overran.

P.M. 

Pari passu with Europ. recovery. Fr. and Benelux must be strengthened.
But G. must come down to be in scale, fr. high Hitler levels.

A.B. 

You cd. take part of current deliveries.

E.B.

I believe in control at finishing end. But Fr. believe opposite. Have bn. forced to stop discussing principles and handle it plant by plant.

H.D. 

Can't do better than this.
Fundamental need is to keep G. weak.
Strong G. is worst neighbour in Europe.
Gtest. risk is strong G. uniting with R.
Plants in G. more dangerous than in Fr. because they are further east.
The threat is not Comm. infiltration : it is R. military advance.
G. is still the greatest menace. Old G. "arrogance, insolence and self regard".

T.W. 

Disagree in toto.
To keep G. weak may be good business militarily but not economically. Makes them readier victims of R.
Potential power of France to resist aggression - nonsense. Remember Chamberlain. And they let us down in 1940. And are much weaker today morally, let alone physically.
Leave G. with enough economic strength to assure reasonable standard of life and remain free.

P.M. 

Balanced judgement. Weak and depressed G. might offer herself to Sov. Russia. To get her into W. Europe economy she must have some strengths. But if she gets over-fat, she will kick.

E.B. 

12 m. forced labour taken to build these plants while Europe lay prostrate. Far beyond anything needed for normal economy.
cf. R.S.C.'s line on Bizone p'mme for E.R.P. Was this consistent?

R.S.C.  

Dilemma is too logical. No man cd. answer it.
My policy has bn. to bring G. into W. Europe, and to give them economy wh. wd. enable them to co-operate there. But I can't guarantee that they will behave in western fashion. Nor can you.
Signs already of nationalist revival.
Fr. analysis - Poucet? - people at Bonn will be assassinated.
On the facts : at 10.7 m. tons of steel, plants left for fabrication will give her better standards of living than ours.

J. 

Support E.B.
Any policy involves risks. Which we take? At present, greatest risk is from Russia. Want G. strong, economically and happy. But E.B. can't pursue a policy in disregard of Fr. and Benelux anxieties. That wd. put strong card in hands of Comm. or de Gaulle in France.

H.M. 

On the memo. E.B. shd. be supported.
We shall, however, have to face long-term policy re. Germany.
What do we want? G. more likely to be driven into R. arms if weak.
Desirable thing = strong, democratic Germ. actg. fully with W. Europe.
How can we ensure that? Wants working out.
Doesn't accord quite with H.D.'s view.

A.V.A. 

Support H.D.
In negotn. deal with this ques. Humphrey Cttee. line = so much war potential must be left that a little more won't hurt. But it is the marginal capacity that makes all the difference ques. security.
Hope therefore E.B. will get down to 117.

A.B. 

Para. 2(ii) "if this becomes necessary to secure agreement". This, surely, is wrong emphasis. I want E.B. to leave as much as he can.

P.M. 

Humphrey Cttee have disregarded security altogether.

A.B. 

Maximum economic strengths, consistent with views of Fr. and Benelux.

H.D. 

No.

P.M.  

Consistent with safety.

E.B. 

Also B/T. interests involved on some items. Things we cdn't do during war - can't leave G. in possn. of those things.
We have paid 4.000 m. dollars to feed G. since the war.

A. 

Can't be sure of lasting principles.
First, F.O. done well to push Fr. as far as they have.
Second, these plants represent capacity far beyond normal econ. needs.
While we do our utmost to draw G. west, history compels not to forget character of the German. What confidence can we have in a strong Germany? Can't rely on them.
U.S./France poles????: this plan is a fair middle course.

G.T. 

Don't forget treatment of Weimar Republic - we had to give to Hitler later much tht. we denied to them. Might have bn. better if concessions made earlier.
Inspn. at finishing end was always intended by A.P.W. Cttee.
Policy must go this far, to level economic strengths. The discn. we have bn. having really concerns the longer-term policy.

H.W. 

We have agreed to this memo. B. industry less keen on getting repns. plant. Their anxiety is not to leave too much in Germany - esp. engineering industry.
But cdn't oppose U.S. on that ground.
Memo. approved.

Taken from C.M. 82(48) - Meeting held on 22 December 1948.