GHDI logo

U.S. Delegation Minutes of the Meeting between the Western Military Governors and the German Minister Presidents regarding the German Reply to the London Documents (July 26, 1948)

page 6 of 7    print version    return to list previous document      next document

General KOENIG stated on behalf of his colleagues and of himself that:

1. The question of the term ‘basic law’ or ‘Basic Constitutional Law’ or ‘Basic Law (Provisional Constitution)’ was not very important and the Military Governors considered that, in fact, an arrangement was possible on this point.
2. Concerning the question of the referendum, the Military Governors had heard of the explanations given, in particular those of Herr ARNOLD, on this point and if the Minister Presidents insisted on ratification by the Landtage the Military Governors would be obliged to refer to their Governments. This did not, however, signify a refusal.
3. Concerning the question of the modification of boundaries, the Military Governors understood the reasons given by the Ministers President; in particular they understood that it was a question of time. The Military Governors were, however, bound by the London agreements. They were, therefore, obliged to inform their Governments of this question and ask them for instructions but, here again, this did not constitute a refusal.

General KOENIG added that, in referring to their Governments, the Military Governors promised to request that a reply be given as early as possible.

Senator President KAISEN (Bremen) then asked to be heard. He stated that the reply of General KOENIG was very clear. It signified, as far as the Germans were concerned, that an unnecessary loss of time would ensue before it was possible to proceed. The opinion of the world, and particularly of the masses, would not understand that the application of the London decisions had been held up for minor divergences of this nature. The Chairman had himself said that the question of terminology did not constitute a difficulty which could not be easily smoothed out.

On the question of the referendum, the London agreements of course provided the framework which, in a general manner, was binding upon the Germans insofar as their requests for modification might be unsuccessful. The Germans would consider, therefore, that for the question of the referendum they were bound by the London agreements and they would prefer to accept the referendum rather than waste time. If the referendum was to be the stumbling block which risked upsetting the whole, the Minister Presidents would be ready to accept it. They wished only that the Allied Governments should be informed of the reasons brought forward by the Minister Presidents against this referendum.

The Minister Presidents asked only that they be allowed to begin applying the London decisions for they had already taken certain preparatory measures, in particular with regard to the Constituent Assembly, and they wished to know whether the time limits fixed for them were to be observed.

General KOENIG asked if this reply given by Herr KAISEN represented the reply of the Minister Presidents as a whole.

The Minister Presidents replied in the affirmative.

General KOENIG, having summed up the situation created by the last statement of Minister President KAISEN and after having asked the opinion of his two colleagues, stated that the Military Governors wished to consult quickly on this new situation.

first page < previous   |   next > last page