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Austrian Memorandum (1863)

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The outlines for its reform plan are thus already drawn. They will propose the establishment of a Confederal Board of Directors and the periodic convocation of an assembly of delegates of the representative bodies of the individual states. Without underestimating the fact, that with respect to the latter institution, strong counterbalancing forces are needed to secure the monarchical principle and the legitimate independence of the individual states against possible attacks, they are simultaneously inclined toward the idea that the best guarantee of this kind, and a valuable means to preserve princely rights and the dignity of the German dynasties, might be found in periodic personal meetings of Germany's sovereigns. Finally, they will also take up the proposal for establishing a federal court with appropriate modifications. These are, in essential outline, the intentions of the Kaiser regarding the foundations of a healthy solution to this serious question.

But with respect to the ways and means for bringing about an agreement among German governments on the question of a confederal constitution, more than one experience justifies the apprehension that the task of solving the numerous difficulties of this enterprise will be granted to neither the written negotiations of cabinets nor to conferences of ministers. The question of reform affects such a variety of interests, it opens up the field of discussion to so diverse [a set of] incompatible wishes and opinions, that the sum of inhibiting and disturbing moments, of anxious doubts, [and] of insoluble contradictions would easily increase ad infinitum and outgrow any hope of success if one were to expect that mere negotiators, who might not even bring any free right of disposition of their own into the consultation, might triumph over all those obstacles and succeed at an agreement. But the German princes themselves – the bearers of the rights at stake, the highest-ranking parties interested in Germany's security and welfare, all of them animated by German consciousness – will, through a direct exchange of ideas, reach an agreement on this task more easily and effectively than via intermediaries. Therefore, in the mind of the Kaiser, there has ripened a resolve to invite the princes of Germany and the magistrates of the free cities to a meeting for the purpose of agreeing on a reorganization of the German Confederation, and the Kaiser discloses this intention, before all Others, to the most powerful of His German confederal allies, the King of Prussia.

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