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Letter from the Military Governors to Dr. Konrad Adenauer, President of the Parliamentary Council, approving the Basic Law (May 12, 1949)

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7. At our meeting with you on 25 April, we proposed to you a formula to interpret in English the intention of Article 72(2), 3. This formula which you accepted as conveying your meaning reads as follows: ‘ [ . . . ] because the maintenance of legal or economic unity demands it in order to promote the economic interests of the Federation or to insure reasonable equality of economic opportunity to all persons’. We wish you to know that the High Commissioner will interpret this article in accordance with this text.

8. In order to eliminate the possibility of future legal controversy, we would like to make it clear that when we approved constitutions for the Länder we provided that nothing contained in those constitutions could be interpreted as restricting the provisions of the Federal constitution. Conflict between Länder constitutions and the provisional Federal constitution must, therefore, be resolved in favor of the latter.

9. We should also like it to be clearly understood that upon the convening of the legislative bodies provided for in the Basic Law, and upon the election of the President and the election and appointment of the Chancellor and the Federal Ministers, respectively, in the manner provided for in the Basic Law, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany will then be established and the Occupation Statute shall thereupon enter into force.

10. On the completion of their final task as laid down in Article 145, 1, the Parliamentary Council will be dissolved. We wish to take this occasion to compliment the members of the Parliamentary Council on their successful completion of a difficult task performed under trying circumstances, on the manifest care and thoroughness with which they have done their work and on their devotion to the democratic ideals toward the achievement of which we are all striving.

Lucius D. Clay
General U.S. Army
Military Governor
American Zone

B. H. Robertson
Military Governor
British Zone

Pierre Koenig
Général d’ Armée
Military Governor
French Zone

Source: OMGUS, Federal Constitution, p. 138; reprinted in Beata Ruhm von Oppen, ed., Documents on Germany under Occupation, 1945-1954. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1955, pp. 390-92.

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