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Decisions of the Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Three Western Powers in Washington, DC (April 8, 1949)

The agreements reached in early April 1949 at the Washington conference of the foreign ministers of the three western powers regulated the future relationship between the occupying powers and the Federal Republic of Germany. The military government was replaced by an Allied High Commission whose internal operation would be regulated by the agreement on Trizonal Fusion. The Occupation Statute stipulated that the Allies would retain their power in important political areas for the time being and reclaim full political authority if necessary.

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U.S., U.K., and France Reach Agreement on All Questions Relating to Germany: Communiqué

The Foreign Ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, and France have discussed in Washington the whole range of issues now pending in connection with Germany and have arrived at complete agreement.

The text of an occupation statute in a new and simpler form has been approved and is being transmitted to the German Parliamentary Council at Bonn. Agreement was reached on the basic principles to govern the exercise of Allied powers and responsibilities and also the tripartite Allied control machinery. The Foreign Ministers confirmed and approved agreements on the subject of plant dismantling, prohibited and restricted industries, and the establishment of an International Ruhr Authority, all of which were recently negotiated in London.

The occupation statute will define the powers to be retained by the occupation authorities upon the establishment of the German Federal Republic and set forth basic procedures for the operation of Allied supervision. Subject only to the limitations of the statute, the German Federal State and the participating Länder will have full legislative, executive, and judicial powers, in accordance with the basic law and with their respective constitutions. The statute aims to permit the German people to exercise democratic self-government. Provision is made for a review of the terms of the statute after a year in force.

With the establishment of the German Federal Republic, there will be a marked change in the organization to carry out occupation responsibilities. Military Government as such will be terminated, and the functions of the Allied authorities will become mainly supervisory. Each of the Allied establishments in Germany will come under the direction of a High Commissioner, aside from the occupation forces which will remain headed by military commanders. The three High Commissioners together will constitute an Allied High Commission, which will be the supreme Allied agency of control. In order to permit the German Federal Republic to exercise increased responsibility for domestic affairs and to reduce the burden of occupation costs, staff personnel shall be kept to a minimum.

The German Government authorities will be at liberty to take administrative and legislative action, and such action will have validity if not disapproved by Allied authorities. There will be certain limited fields in which the Allies will reserve the right to take direct action themselves or to direct German authorities to take action. However, these fields will be limited, and aside from security matters, the exercise of direct powers by the Allies is regarded in many instances as self-liquidating in nature.

It was agreed that a major objective of the three Allied Governments was to encourage and facilitate the closest integration, on a mutually beneficial basis, of the German people under a democratic federal state within the framework of a European association. In this connection it is understood that the German Federal Republic will negotiate a separate bilateral ECA agreement with the United States and should participate as a full member in the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, thus becoming a responsible partner in the European Recovery Program.

[Washington, April 8, 1949]

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