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Speech by General Lucius D. Clay at the First Meeting of the Minister Presidents in Stuttgart (October 17, 1945)

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These post-war needs are to provide a standard of living which will not exceed the average of the surrounding countries excepting the United Kingdom and Russia. You will be permitted to develop an import and export program to sustain such a standard of living.

Its success will depend on your success in increasing agricultural production and in developing light industry.

Concentration of industrial power will be dispersed and will not be permitted to reform.

We know that the immediate problems of transport and coal will make it many months before even this standard of living can be reached. The transport situation is improving slowly. The coal situation is improving even more slowly, and it will be many months before coal can be made available for Germany to permit any widespread economic rehabilitation.

On the positive side of the picture we propose to return to you as quickly as possible the responsibility for self-government.

Our policy calls for the decentralization of governmental authority in the Länder units. We expect within the next two and a half months to remove our personnel from lower governmental units except as required for inspection and security. We propose to work with these units through the Länder government.

We propose to start the election of representative assemblies at the Gemeinde levels in January of next year. We understand that a number of you feel that this is too soon. However, we know of no other way in which the working of democratic processes can be placed under way in Germany.

We propose to return to you a free press and a free radio at the earliest possible date. You now have a complete freedom of religious worship. We also propose to remove any blocks which we may have placed in the way of liberal educational opportunities.

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