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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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In increasing the governmental authority at the Land level we still believe in the operation of Germany as an economic unit. We are supporting the establishment of central administrative machinery for finance, industry, transport, communications, and foreign trade. We also believe that such administrative agencies are desirable for food and agriculture and labor.

However, these administrative machines do not exist now. Länder units have been formed in our zones. It is essential that there be complete coordination of governmental matters between these Länder units. This is especially true of the special Administrative Services such as post offices, transport, etc., which must serve all Länder.

The securing of this coordination is your job and not ours.

We do not wish to establish a zonal German capital in the United States Zone as we believe that central administrative machinery is essential to the operation of Germany as an economic unit.

Therefore, we propose as an interim measure to establish here in Stuttgart for our zone a council of minister presidents. You will meet periodically to confer on mutual problems.

You may establish a small secretariat and staff to which you may delegate such of your authority as you deem desirable.

A small American staff will be assigned at Stuttgart to supervise the work of the council and to see that it keeps within the scope of approved United States policy.

Since you will in fact develop the measures necessary for full coordination between your units it may be assumed that each of you individually will carry out what you have agreed to collectively.

Today we want you to draw your charter for our approval and to set a date for another meeting as soon as possible at which you will select your secretariat, develop the methods of financing your organization, and establish your secretariat in office.

In turning over this meeting for the preparation of this charter I wish to emphasize that within expressed U.S. policy “yours is the responsibility.” We will not dictate to you except as you violate expressed policy. We expect you to accept and to carry out your responsibility within that policy.

Source of original English text: “Speech of Gen. Lt. Clay,” in Akten zur Vorgeschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1945-1949, vol. 1, September 1945-Dezember 1946, edited by Walter Vogel and Christoph Weisz. R. Oldenbourg Verlag: Munich and Vienna, 1976, vol. 1, pp. 125-27.

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