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

In October 1945, General Lucius D. Clay (then deputy American military governor) explained the principles behind U.S. policy on Germany to the newly appointed minister presidents of the Länder [federal states] in the American zone. The U.S. wished to maintain economic unity within Germany, and to that end it supported the formation of umbrella agencies under German oversight. The future economic structure of the country, though, was to be oriented toward agriculture and small-scale industry. Heavy industry and the concentration of economic power that it entailed were to be eliminated to prevent a renewed militarization of Germany.

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I am very glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Länder minister presidents. This is the first time such a meeting has been possible as we have only recently completed the formation of the Länder governmental machinery. Your task as a Länder minister president is a difficult task. You have been asked to accept the responsibility because of your known opposition to Nazism and your liberal views. In undertaking this task you will be rendering a real service to your people and, if successful, to the world.

I think that at our first meeting a brief summary of United States policy in Germany would be appropriate as you must operate under this policy.

United States policy in Germany is a firm policy. It may seem hard but it has been made so to destroy the war potential of Germany. It does not have as its theme the destruction of the German people.

It includes as a primary objective complete denazification which requires not only the removal of Nazis from places of prominence in all parts of German life but will also provide for the separation from the Nazis of any wealth accumulated as result of party activity. We have made many mandatory arrests. For security reasons, the arrestees have been prevented from communication with their families. This is not the American way and shortly we will permit arrestees to notify their families of their whereabouts. We also realize that a mandatory system of arrests may make some mistakes and we are arranging for the review of the records of arrestees by your tribunal so that you may recommend to us those instances which appear to you to be unjust.

Our policy includes complete demilitarization. This means not only a breaking up of military forces but also a deindustrialization directed principally at heavy industries.

All arms, ammunition, war implements and special facilities for their production must be destroyed. Metals, machinery, and chemicals will be left only to meet the internal post-war needs of Germany itself.

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