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The Petersberg Agreement (November 22, 1949)

The Petersberg Agreement of November 22, 1949, between the West German government and the three Allied High Commissioners was an important step on the road to allowing the Federal Republic greater room to maneuver on the international stage. (It was signed in the Hotel Petersberg, then the seat of the Allied High Commission.) The agreement made it possible for the Federal Republic to join the Council of Europe and the International Ruhr Agency as early as November 1949, and to be included in the American program to reconstruct the European economy (the Marshall Plan). In addition, consular and trade relations could be resumed, the dismantling of heavy industry was largely ended, and restrictions on shipbuilding were relaxed. On the other hand, the demilitarization of West Germany was still emphatically retained, even though the explosion of the first Soviet nuclear bomb in the summer of 1949 had already sparked discussions about a German defense contribution.

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Protocol of the Agreements Reached between the Allied High Commissioners and the Chancellor of the German Federal Republic at the Petersberg (November 22, 1949)

Following upon the meeting of the three Foreign Ministers in Paris on 9th and 10th November the United Kingdom, French, and United States High Commissioners were authorized to discuss with the Federal Chancellor the letters which he had addressed to them on the subject of dismantling with a view to a final settlement of this problem. The instructions to the High Commissioners also covered a wider field and required them to examine with the Chancellor other points to be included in a general settlement. Discussions took place accordingly on 15th, 17th and 22nd November at the Petersberg.

The discussions were animated throughout by the desire and the determination of both parties that their relations should develop progressively upon a basis of mutual confidence. Meanwhile, their primary objective is the incorporation of the Federal Republic as a peaceful member of the European community and to this end German association with the countries of Western Europe in all fields should be diligently pursued by means of her entry into the appropriate international bodies and the exchange of commercial and consular representation with other countries. Both the High Commissioners and the Chancellor appreciate that progress towards this objective must depend upon the re-establishment of a true sense of security in Western Europe and they have addressed themselves particularly to this end. In all these matters they have been encouraged to find a wide community of ideas and intention, and they have in particular agreed upon the following:—

I. The High Commission and the Federal Government are agreed to promote the participation of Germany in all those international organizations through which German experience and support can contribute to the general welfare. They record their satisfaction at the various steps already achieved in this direction, including German participation in the Organization for European Economic Co-operation, the desire expressed on both sides that the Federal Republic should be promptly admitted to the Council of Europe as an associate member and the proposed signature of a bilateral agreement with the Government of the United States of America covering Economic Co-operation Administration assistance.

II. The Federal Government appreciating the desirability of the closest possible co-operation by Germany in the rehabilitation of Western European economy declares its intention of applying for membership of the International Authority for the Ruhr in which, at present, the Federal Government is only represented by an observer, it being understood between both parties that German accession will not be subject to any special conditions under Article 31 of the Agreement for the establishment of the Authority.

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