|observations made by my brother who sailed the Pacific for several years before he died in the Fiji Islands where he had settled down to practice as doctor in 1934. In his letters he had contrasted the wonderful hos- pital at Fiji, nd the sanitation and medical services provided by the British, with the severe exploitation of the native peoples by the French, but the latter’s better individual behavior toward the natives.
The British, he had said, did the right thing but looked down on the natives and refused to mix with them socially. The French on the other hand, squeezed all they could out of the native popu- lation of their islands and provided few of the amenities of civiliza- tion in return, but they put up no color bar in their social inter- course with the natives. It seemed as if the same was true in Germany. The German “upper classes,” excluding the industrial - ists ruined by the French, were on better terms with their con- querors than the same elements in the United States and British zone. But the German workers, factory owners, and peasants hated France who robbed them and deprived them of their livelihood.
The French were also playing a clever game in representing themselves as having a common interest with the Germans in oppo- sition to the United States. I cannot vouch for the truth of all the stories I heard, but it seemed that the French were trying to per- suade the Germans to make common cause with them against America. For instance, I was told that the French authorities in 1948 had proposed a secret deal which would have allowed the Ger- mans to keep all their machinery over fifteen years old, irrespective of the dismantlement list, if they would turn over to the French all the new machinery they obtained from the mericans or the United States zone of Germany. I was also told that French officers were saying to the Germans they were not really so hostile and revengeful as they seemed, but it was necessary for France to take this line in order to get maximum aid from America; that only in- sistence on French fears of Germany could enable them to obtain large subsidies from America.
As I have already said, I have no proof of the truth of such asser- tions, but there seemed little doubt that the French were playing a very devious game. Like the Russians they offer jobs to Germans penalized by the United States Military Government or offended
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by the cavalier treatment they have received at American hands. And like the Russians they offer privileges to anyone ready to sup- port their policy.
In the economic sphere the corruption which is the characteristic of French internal politics has free play in Germany. Factory owners were told they could save their machinery if they would give bribes to French officials, and German industrial corporations were offered the choice of having their enterprises taken as repara- tions, or allowing the French a controlling interest as majority stockholders.
Generally speaking, it seemed that the French, in their own small way, limited as they were by their lack of military power, were playing much the same game as the Russians. They offered material benefits, privileges, and forgiveness for former Nazi affilia- tions, to all who would serve their interests today. They expropri- ated, penalized, or sent to prison the honest liberals and conserva- tives who opposed them, while asking no questions concerning the past of those ready to collaborate with them. It was therefore not surprising to find great hatred of the French among both the liberal socialists and conservative capitalists, but considerable amity for the French among reactionary Bavarian monarchists and separa- tists, and among the German officer class which was treated with greater respect and justice by the French than by the Americans. General Koenig, the French military governor, in contrast to Gen- erals Clay and Robertson, allowed German officers and their widows to receive their pensions. For, as General Speidel’s wife said to me in Freudenstadt, “the French have at least a sens e of honor.” Perhaps honor does not entirely explain it; it would seem that the French, like the Communists, try to take advantage of the resentment caused by American policy in Germany, while using all their influence to impel the United States to get itself hated by the Germans. In this, as in so many other respects, the French play the Communist game, although they imagine they are playing their own hand.
The seeming contradictions in France’s policy are explained by her old aim of dividing Germany by fostering separatist tendencies, and her hope of incorporating the Rhineland territories into Greater France. Having succeeded this time in detaching the Saar from Germany by threatening to dismantle its industries and ruin its people unless they voted to join France, the French no doubt
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still hope to be equally successful in the rest of their zone by means of intimidation and bribery.
“A good German,” in French eyes, is a German prepared to sac - rifice his country’s interests in order to save his own. Any German prepared to do so can enjoy a “happy life” whether or not he was formerly a Nazi and whatever his present political sympathies. The French care not at all whether a man is a democrat; he only needs to be pro-French or to be ready to serve French interests. Thus French policy is the very antithesis of American: we refuse to be friends even with those most anxious to collaborate with us unless we are sure their past is irreproachable.
One German I talked to in the French zone had been offered huge ncomei by the French Military Governor if he would accept the position of head of an “independent” palatinate.
The atmosphere in the French zone is in many respects like that under the Soviet terror. There are no concentration camps, but the Sûreté is regarded by the Germans as another Gestapo, and people are imprisoned for no other offense than that of complain- ing against the occupation authorities, or protesting the seizure of their property.
A current joke I heard expresses the feelings of the German peo- ple. French trucks and automobiles are all labeled TOA, the letters standing for Transport Occupation Allemagne. But the Germans say TOA stands for “Terror Ohne (Without) Adolf!”
The sullen faces of the people, their extreme poverty, and the difficulty we experienced in buying any food except potatoes, wit- nessed to the omnipresent fear of the French and the manner in which they have stripped their zone of food and goods. The French live off the land like the Russians, and again like the Russians they employ huge numbers of people to force the peasants to give up their milk, eggs and live stock, vegetables, and even grain.
In Baden Baden where General Koenig lives in state like Viceroy of India, there are more French people than Germans— 40,000 against 30,000, according to the calculations of the Ministry of Economics for Württemberg-Hohenzollern. France uses her zone as a training ground for her conscript army and the French occupation forces not only bring in their wives and children, but also their randmothers, aunts,g sisters, and cousins. Besides all these people living off the German economy, there are the children and invalids brought from France for holidays or cures, who have
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to be supplied with huge quantities of milk, butter, and eggs. Until 1948 many Germans in the French zone were literally starving, but since last summer, American ECA appropriations to the French zone have somewhat ameliorated their condition.
A German doctor and his wife whom I visited at Wissen, in the French zone adjoining Siegen, told me that after being without any fat ration for months, they had received a pound of butter in August, thanks to America. They now had some hopes of being able to save their little boy, who, like so many other German chil- dren in the French zone, had developed tuberculosis because French requisitions left no milk or fats for German consumption. They and everyone else I talked to were wondering whether Amer- ica would really force the French to stop their locustlike activities, or whether United States aid to the French zone would be drained off by France for her own use.
Of course, some of the peasants manage to hide their food from the French as I discovered at a little inn in a village in the lovely countryside above the Rhine Valley. On this occasion I was re- turning from a drive to Altenkirchen. We stopped to drink a glass of wine at the inn and, thanks to Otto who is the type of person who jokes and gets friendly with everyone, we soon had the land- lady sitting with us and talking freely. I drew her out about the French, and she told us how they had come into the farmhouses and taken away the linen and even the furniture, as well as all the food they could find. They took all the milk, confiscated the live stock and slaughtered it for their own use, and in general left the Germans almost nothing to eat. However, she ended up by asking us if we would like to taste some Westphalian ham. Of course we said we would be delighted and, laughing, she took me with her to her bedroom and showed me the ham hidden in a box under her bed.
The ham was delicious and while we were eating it two men came in who might have posed for pictures symbolizing country and town, peasant and worker, in occupied Germany. The first one was a giant of a young man, red-haired, blue-eyed and ruddy faced, handsome and strong, and fit from his appearance to star as a Wagnerian hero. The other was small and emaciated, grey- faced and sad, and dressed in patched cotton overalls. The first was a peasant and the other a metal orker earning only 75 pfen- w nigs an hour, since the factories in the French zone pay the lowest wages. Incidentally, this worker was one of the very few people
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I met in Germany who not only admitted he had been a Nazi, but said he still was one in sentiment. In his view the workers had “never had it so good” as under Hitler, and he was very bitter at the Allied confiscation of the Labor Front’s security funds, hos - pitals, and sanitariums. He had consumption and said that he would formerly have been aided, but now he could get no medical aid.
I hoped that it was only in the French zone that workers were being driven back to Nazism by their miserable conditions of life; but I fear it is also true in Bizonia.
The young peasant, for his part, had no interest n politics. When I asked him how he lived, he laughed and said, “We peasants always manage; the French aren’t smart enough to find everything.”
Of course, it is the townspeople who suffer most when, as in the French zone, the peasants can only sell at a profit on the black market, and deliver food at the prices the French pay only under compulsion.
The number of people required to force peasants to give up food in exchange for low fixed prices makes the whole proceeding uneconomic. For instance, at a small farm I visited in a clearing in the depths of the Black Forest far away from any town or village, I was told that the French periodically sent three men to collect what was demanded. The farm was worked by a woman and her three sons, two other sons having fallen in the war, and the young- est being a prisoner of war in Russia. They had four cows, and three bullocks, some pigs and chickens, sufficient arable land to produce enough grain for their own bread and animal fodder and a large vegetable garden. They had to deliver 700 liters of milk per cow per year, although only the best cows, they said, gave as much as 2,000 liters a year. The French also took so many pigs out of each litter, so many eggs per hen, 43 hundredweight of potatoes, a certain quantity f grain, and so on. The largest of the three bul-o locks was to be taken the following week.
Whether or not the French were justified in taking as much as they did, the point which struck me was the waste of labor in- volved in this forcible collection from thousands of little farms, of what, in sum, amounted to a small quantity of food. The suste- nance of the inspectors employed must have eaten up most of the supplies thus obtained. The Soviets discovered long ago that the only way to force the agrarian population to give up the fruits of its labor for nothing, or for a price far below its value, is to herd
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the peasants into collective farms and treat them like factory workers. It simply can’t be done except at a prohibitive cost so long as individual farmers cultivate the land.
The family I visited in the Black Forest were not actually badly off in spite of their resentment against the French. But this was because their most profitable activity was the manufacture of Kirsch, the spirit made out of cherries which is the specialty of the region. They kept their stills in the forest where the French were unable to find them and did a thriving black-market trade in Ger- many and across the French border near Strasbourg. All they needed to do was to give some of their liquor to the French sentries.
It is, of course, the French themselves who profit most from the denial to the Germans of customs control at the borders of the French zone. Professor Karl Brandt of Stanford University, who was spending his sabbatical year teaching at Heidelberg Uni- versity, took me over into Switzerland in his automobile so that could see for myself what goes on at the frontier. When our auto- mobile arrived at the customs barrier at Basel, two French sergeants examined our passports but did not even inquire whether we had any German currency or goods to declare. The two German cus- toms officials at the barrier were not allowed to come near our automobile, much less inspect our luggage.
It was thus very easy for any Allied nationals to export anything they pleased from Germany via the French zone, and the French were largely responsible for the fall in value of the new D mark caused by the illegal export by black-marketeers of goods needed in Germany. Dr. Brandt and I calculated how quickly a fortune could be made by, for instance, bringing cognac into Germany from France, selling it on the black market at a profit of several hundred per cent, using the marks thus obtained to buy German manufactured goods, and then running them into Switzerland for re-export. Alternatively, any Allied national could take his marks into Switzerland and sell them there to a Swiss bank, which could dispose of them at a tenth of their official value to those who wished to buy goods in Germany. All this illegal trade naturally stimulated the production of luxury goods in Germany for illegal export, in place of necessities. So whereas, for instance, shoes are very high priced and scarce on the German market, great quantities of leather are used to make ladies’ purses and other fancy goods.
The Russians in Berlin were similarly doing “good business” in undermining the German currency. Following currency reform the French had already reaped a huge exchange profit without any
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effort on their part. Out of a total of 5,000,000,000 marks, which was the original new currency issue in June 1948, the British took 266,000,000, the Americans 255,000,000, and the French 250,000,- 000, for their own use. The total drain on the German economy thus came to over three-quarters of a billion, or 15 per cent of the money in circulation. The French share being disproportionately large, in view of the small size of their zone, they allowed their nationals to exchange practically unlimited amounts at par, where- as the Germans were allowed a maximum of forty marks a head at the exchange rate of ten old marks for one D mark. Consequently, the French before currency reform busied themselves acquiring all the old marks they could lay their hands upon, by fair means or foul. In some cases they went to German friends and made a deal, in other cases they sought the good will of their German servants by offering to exchange the latter’s savings for them at par, and in some known instances the French surrounded whole villages and confiscated all the money of the inhabitants. One way or another, the French acquired huge quantities of the new currency and pro- ceeded to export it to Switzerland where there is a free exchange. When this racket subsided they renewed their profits by the export of marks obtained by black-market dealings, or by fresh confisca- tions of German property.
As I have already related, General Clay tried to induce the French to stop the leak of marks and goods across the frontiers of their zone, but the State Department gave way to the French, and the Occupation Statute denies effective customs control to the pro- posed Western German government. As usual, the French are be- ing allowed to undermine the German economy while the United States taxpayers supply funds for its support.
American GI’s and the pilots of the air lift evidently do not share the State Department’s predilection for the French, but their views do not, of course, affect United States policy.
On my first flight out of Berlin on the air lift the United States pilot said to me: “The British are doing a swell job, but do you know, the French aren’t helping at all to supply Berlin? They only fly in cognac for sale on the black-market or to Americans.” And the sergeant mechanic said:
“Do you know that those —— in Paris won’t let youb into the best hotels unless you are an officer?”
Another pilot, who flies a United States staff plane, said to me:
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“I always know when I have left Germany. When I look down and see uncultivated fields with no one working in sight I know I am over France. Those guys needn’t work since they have us Ameri - cans to work for them.”
These sentiments are, of course, also prejudiced. But it is a fact that the French, if they worked as they once did, and did not so mismanage their economy and finance, should have had no need of American food subsidies except during the 1946-47 drought. The land of France is fertile and she is not overpopulated.
In Paris one is shocked by the abundant luxury displayed in food and clothing in contrast to the poverty of the French workers and British austerity. The number of waiters, hotel servants, and others catering to the luxury trades would surely allow France to dispense with a large part of her ECA appropriation if they were set to work producing necessities and exports. In a word, the French up- per classes are still enjoying a far easier and pleasanter life than most of the American taxpayers supporting the French economy.
But France, apparently, has only to ask to receive. No one de- mands anything of her but a smile and her good will. So France goes on talking about her war losses, although her looting in Ger- many, combined with reparations and American gifts, have more than compensated for the material damage she suffered during the war and the occupation.
Whereas the manner in which the British dispose of American aid is examined and subject to criticism, like those of a wife, France is treated by the United States like a mistress whose favors are un- certain and whose extravagances are not questioned.
It would not matter much if all that was involved was the pensioning of “La Belle France” by generous Uncle Sam, or the maintenance of Paris as a city of pleasure for the delectation of State Department and ECA officials, and American newspapermen. The danger lies in the influence which France exerts on American policy— an influence which is likely to increase rather than di- minish once the State Department takes over the administration of Germany. The Army has to be realistic, since it has to fight the wars which poor diplomacy brings about. And the Army’s view of the value of the French is summarized in the remark made to me by a member of General Clay’s staff: “The French won’t fight. Period.”
“Why then,” I asked, “does so much consideration have to be given to the French point of view? Why, if the French are of no
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value as allies, must we continually give way to France, on dis- mantlement, on the Ruhr and just about everything else?”
The answer I received was to the effect that America could not go ahead with the rehabilitation of Western Europe and with plans for its defense with active opposition in the rear, in France; that the French tell the Americans that if they get involved in war with Russia, as for instance over Berlin, they, the French, will stay out of it and refuse bases to the United States. The French, in effect, blackmail the United States, saying they will be neutral in any war with Russia, unless America concedes everything they want re- garding Germany.
The French tell the Americans that in their concern over the danger of a third world war, they must prepare to win it in such a way as to prepare the way for a fourth one; that America must not make use of Germany to help defeat Soviet Russia, because the end result would be German supremacy in Europe. In answer to this the American Army authorities say: “Well, if you won’t permit the Germans to defend themselves against Russia, are you yourselves prepared to defend her?” And, of course, the French then throw up their hands in horror and cry, What! “ We defend Germany? Are you crazy?”
The net result of French intransigeance is that the United States is expected to defend Europe, and to pursue a policy toward Ger- many which not only renders her defenseless, but would endanger the American Army’s security in war by creating hatred of the United States among the German population.
In these difficult circumstances General Clay and the Depart- ment of the Army appear to have endeavored to steer a middle course. They have made every possible concession to the French point of view, but have refused to agree to the complete ruin of Germany demanded by France. They have gone on hoping that if the American taxpayer continued to make up the losses resulting from the concessions made to the French on dismantlement and the Ruhr, Western Europe including Germany will eventually be federated and all its resources and manpower mobilized for de- fense against the Soviet menace. This hope is based on the belief that in time French fears can be allayed and France will then al- low Germany and Europe to recover economic prosperity and be made strong enough to resist Communist pressure. But this hope must disappear if the French continue to miss their opportunity to become as strong as a free Germany.
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Many as are he criticisms which t can be leveled at the United States Military Government, the American Army must be given the credit for seeing things straight and seeing them whole. Since they bear the responsibility for the defense of Western Europe as well as of the United States, the Military cannot afford to live in the cloud cuckoo land inhabited by many of the civilians who de- termine Administration policy. The Army was, therefore, naturally incensed at what it regarded as France’s “sabotage”* of the June 1948 ondon L agreement to set up a West German state and of other measures designed to stem the Communist tide.
When the discussions on the Occupation Statute (which ac- cording to the London agreement was to be negotiated by the military governors) were referred back to the British, French, and American governments, the New York Herald Tribune reported:
It is an open secret that the French, who consider General Clay hardboiled American, prefer to shift everything possible to the govern- mental level, where they have frequently been able to obtain conces- sions they were unable to get from the American Military Government. Many officials here [in Germany] believe that in negotiations at the governmental level the French and British deal with Americans who know the German problem far less intimately than does General Clay’s staff. The results were described this way by an American official in Berlin: “Sometimes it seems to us that the American negotiators at the higher level— not really acquainted with the full details and history of each issue— do not know the importance of what they are giving away.”
Unfortunately for the security of Europe and the peace of the world, the State Department is now assuming control of America’s German policy. This means, now that Dean Acheson is Secretary of State, that America is giving way to France on the most vital issues, annulling the effects of Marshall Plan assistance to Europe, and jeopardizing the peace of the world. For nothing can be more certain than that, if France’s hyste rical, or simulated, fear of Ger- many, combined with her desire to appease Russia, continue to determine United States policy, Europe will be so weakened and the Communists so strengthened, that Stalin will be emboldened to attack the Western world.
The nfluence of France was most clearly displayed when the Oc-i cupation Statute was presented to the Germans on April 10, 1949. Instead of allowing the Germans the self-government promised year ago, all real power is reserved to the occupation authorities.
* See the New York Times dispatch from Paris on March 18, 1949.
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This statute can most fitly be compared to the old Japanese con- stitution and the present Soviet constitution, which similarly take away in one paragraph the liberties and rights granted in nother. While pretending to give the Western Germans the right to rule themselves, the Occupation Statute gives them responsibility with- out power: an overriding veto is imposed on the legislative, judicial, administrative, and economic powers of the proposed West Ger- man government.
It is necessary to examine this spurious document in some detail to appreciate the conditions of servitude we have offered to the German people under the veneer of liberty.
The Occupation Statute “specifically reserves” to th e occupying powers not only powers over disarmament, reparations, and resti- tutions, but also over all the following fields: scientific research, restrictions on industry, prohibition of civil aviation, decarteliza- tion and deconcentration of industry, ondiscrimination in trade, foreign interests in Germany, foreign affairs and foreign trade, dis- placed persons and admission of refugees. Nor is this by any means all. The occupation powers not only continue to control Germany’s foreign trade for their own benefit. They are to continue to control internal German economic policy and the use Germany makes of her imports. Paragraph 2(e) is the real joker, since it can be in- terpreted to mean just anything and everything. For it says that the occupation authorities reserve to themselves all the powers necessary for the “protection, prestige and security of Allied forces, dependents, employees and their representatives, their immunities and satisfaction of occupation costs and their other requirements.”
Nor are the Germans to be permitted to enjoy the protection of law, habeas corpus, or other civil liberties. “The civil rights of every person,” according to paragraph 6, “to be protected against arbi - trary arrest, search or seizure, to be represented by counsel, to be admitted to bail as circumstances warrant, to communicate with relatives, and to have a fair and prompt trial,” are all “subject to the requirements of the security of the occupation authorities.”
The “German Federal Government” is not even to be ermitted to pass any laws without first notifying the occupation authorities, who can veto any legislation “inconsistent with decisions or actions taken by the occupation authorities themselves.”
Finally the conquerors reserve the right to annul, at any mo- ment, even the extremely limited powers granted to the puppet government they want to establish. Paragraph 3 of the Occupation
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Statute says: “The occupation authorities reserve the right . . to resume, in whole or in part, the exercise of full authority if they consider that to do so is essential to security or to preserve demo- cratic (sic) government in Germany, or in pursuance of the interna- tional obligations of their governments.”
India, before she gained her independence, was a freer country than Germany under the colonial status laid down for her in the Occupation Statute. In this connection it is worth mentioning conversation I had in Düsseldorf with the correspondent of several Indian newspapers. I had said to him that Germany now seemed to have been relegated to the same status as nineteenth-century India, and he replied: “Yes, I always say to my German friends, ‘We had it, and now you have it; we are now free, but you have become the subjects of America, Britain, and France, and you have fewer rights than we had before we gained our independence, for at least the British instituted a rule of law in India, whereas in Germany there is no such thing.’”
Not only does the Occupation Statute deny to the Germans those elementary human rights which Mrs. Roosevelt and other American delegates to UNESCO are so fond of talking about. It also is obviously designed to prevent Germany from competing on the world market. Both her foreign trade and her scientific re- search are to be controlled by her conquerors and competitors. Thus Germany is to be handicapped in the development of new techniques, or forced to let her competitors derive the benefit of the future inventions of her scientists and technicians.
This proviso in the Occupation Statute is the most disastrous of all its clauses from the point of view of European recovery. For Europe cannot hope to live without American subsidies unless it can develop new technical processes and overcome its lack of nat- ural resources through scientific discoveries and the development of its chemical industries. The Germans, as everyone knows, have led the world in the invention of substitutes through chemical processes. They are now to be kept from utilizing their brains, in- ventiveness, and capacity for painstaking research for their own and Europe’s benefit. It is as if the brightest and most industrious boy in the class were forbidden to study and work.
Dean Acheson’s bland statement that there is “no foundation” for the contention of the German newspapers that hese clauses in the Occupation Statute are motivated by fear of German competi- tion, is hardly likely to inspire confidence in the honesty and truth- fulness of the United States Secretary of State.
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The Occupation Statute is bad enough in itself, but there might be some hope that it will be interpreted in a liberal spirit were it not for the veto power given to each of the three Western occupa- tion powers by the intergovernmental agreement signed in Wash- ington on April 8, 1949, and made public on April 26. “Unanimous agreement” is required on all important questions embracing: disarmament and demilitarization including related fields of scien- tific research, prohibitions and restrictions on industry and civil aviation; and controls in regard to the Ruhr, restitutions, repara- tions, decartelizations, deconcentration, nondiscrimination in trade matters, foreign interests in Germany and claims against Germany.
No one can doubt that the vast field over which the veto power reigns will enable Britain and France to refuse any modification in the Level of Industry Plan, or any other relaxation of the controls which now prevent Germany’s paying her own way and contribut - ing her full quota to the needs of European reconstruction. The United States Secretary of State has in fact given Britain and France the right to perpetuate Germany’s economic servitude, whatever the present cost to the American taxpayer, and the future cost in lives if and when war comes. The time is apparently long since past when the Senate of the United States claimed its right to sanction what are in fact treaties with foreign powers, so this “agreement” with Britain and France is likely to go unchallenged.
The Occupation Statute constitutes a grave retrogression in United States policy. For although great concessions have been made to the French point of view in drawing up the Ruhr Statute, which regularizes the colonial status of Germany’s main industrial area, the United States Military Government had at least provided therein that the limitation on German steel production was to be temporary. But now the State Department has put France in position to exercise a veto power over German and European re- covery similar to that which Russia exercises in the United Nations to the detriment of the world, and likely to be used as unscrupu- lously.
The French have even succeeded in preventing the new German state from acquiring the right to maintain a federal police force for the detection and suppression of subversive activities. The Com- munists are to be allowed even greater freedom than they enjoy in France to destroy democracy from within.
As was to be expected, in view of the colonial status prescribed for them under the Occupation Statute, the German democratic parties have not been permitted to decide upon the Constitution
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of the new Western German state. After the parliamentary council at Bonn had spent months drawing up a constitution, and the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SDP) had at last reached a compromise agreement on such disputed questions as the division of fiscal and economic powers between the central government and the Länder, and the balance of legislative powers between the upper and lower houses of the federal legislature. The military governors intervened to amend the constitution in favor of the CDU which favors a weak central government.
The French objections to the establishment of a viable West- German state, and their desire to permit only a loose federation of states was allowed to prevail. The United States supported France by similarly favoring the reactionary separatist forces in Bavaria and the Rhineland, as against the SDR supported by the British.
In respect to the foundation of the West-German state, the British have in fact shown far greater political intelligence than the United States and France. Under their Labour Government, their political genius and the enlightened attitude they formerly adopted towards their vanquished foes have been obscured by the frantic desire of the Labour party to ecome independent of America through the acquisition of dollars by any means, fair or foul. But with regard to the political future of Germany the British showed themselves to be incomparably more enlightened than the French.
They went so far as to reveal to the Social Democrats that the Western powers had secretly agreed to allow somewhat greater legislative and fiscal powers to the proposed central government, should the Germans balk at the harsh terms originally presented. The British thus enabled the Social Democrats to obtain a little more power for the future government of Western Germany than would otherwise have been the case. At the time of writing it is not yet decided whether the German Social Democrats will have the courage and political wisdom o follow the lead of Kurt Schu- macher and Carlo Schmidt, who have advised against collaboration with the Western conquerors in setting up a German state denied any real authority.
The weak brothers among the German democrats may give way to superior force and accept the quisling status offered them. But one thing is certain. The German politicians who accept the Oc- cupation Statute as the basis for a “democratic” government will be regarded as puppets and traitors by the majority of their coun- trymen. It is therefore to be hoped that the liberal elements in
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Germany will keep their reputations clean by refusing to form West-German government under the terms of servitude offered to them by the Western occupation powers acting under French in- fluence. If they accept, there will be little hope for democracy in Germany now or in the future.
Unfortunately for the future of democracy in Germany and Europe as a whole, the blackmailing tactics adopted by the United States may force the SDP and other German democrats to accept the terms offered them by the Western powers. For the military governors are insisting that the German leaders who refuse to set up the impotent Western state they are being urged to establish are playing into Russia’s hands.
It is both tragic and short-sighted for the United States to con- front the German democrats with such an inescapable dilemma: if they collaborate in setting up a West-German state without power, they are likely to lose the support of the German people who will regard hem ast quislings; if they refuse, they will be accused of helping the Communists.
In fact, the German democratic leaders were in a position for once to do a little blackmailing themselves. For the Western powers, having committed themselves to a four-power conference on Germany if Soviet Russia would lift the Berlin blockade, were desperately anxious to reach an agreement with the German demo- cratic parties in time to set up a West-German state before Stalin offered to lift the blockade.
But, to judge from their past history, the German democratic politicians are unlikely to take advantage of their opportunity to force real concessions from the Western powers. They are more likely to pursue their straightforward course and let their con- querors turn the tables on them. On the other hand, it is possible that the pressure brought to bear on the Germans by the United States Military Government was inspired by General Clay’s fears that the State Department might make a deal with Russia as well as with France to prevent the formation of the Western state, un- less the new German state were set up before the secret Washing- ton-Moscow negotiations resulted in agreement. It is more than little suspicious that knowledge of the negotiations with Russia, initiated y Deanb Acheson in February 1949, was withheld from both the Germans and the American public until April 25 when Tass reported it.
Now that negotiations with Soviet Russia are once again in
300 THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
prospect, the veto power which the Western powers have reserved to themselves under the Occupation Statute, must preclude any agreement which does not permit Russia, as well as France, to sabotage all American plans for the recovery of Germany or Europe. We shall in all probability be faced with the choice of withdrawing all troops from Germany and granting the Germans full liberty at the risk of leaving them defenseless before the armed might of Soviet Russia and her German hirelings, or dishonoring our own promise to give the Western Germans a limited right to self-gov- ernment.
For obviously no Four Power agreement is possible unless Rus- sia obtains the same veto powers as America, France, and Britain; and no one can doubt that a German administration subject in all its acts to a Russian veto would be unable to govern unless it fol- lowed the Communist Party line.
It is impossible to say whether Dean Acheson, in jeopardizing all Europe and weakening America by the concessions he has made to France, was activated by the belief that the military support of France is worth the price, or by his former affiliation with the group once known as “Frankfurter’s Hot Dogs,” which included Algernon Hiss. Acheson’s friendship with Felix Frankfurter is no secret, nor is there any doubt that Judge Frankfurter was one of the most influential sponsors of the fateful “unconditional sur - render” formula and the Morgenthau Plan. Thus it seems probable that the 1949 retrogression in American policy is at least to some extent inspired by those who have no such aversion for Stalin’s dictatorship as they had for Hitler’s, and are still more concerned with punishing the Germans than stopping the Communists.
Dean Acheson is also supposed to have a British orientation, but the British, although as short-sighted as the French with regard to dismantlement, have thrown their weight on the side of the Ger- man Social Democrats who insist that if a Western German gov- ernment is to be formed it must be allowed sufficient power to govern. So once again it would appear to be French influence, which is impelling the United States to give right of way to the Communists.
As after the first World War, so again today, France is stifling German democracy. Once again she is preventing the implementa- tion of a policy which could win the mass of the German people to our side. Once again she is strengthening the totalitarian forces
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 301
which nearly destroyed her in the last war and are certain to defeat her next time.
As Carlo Schmidt is reported to have said in April 1949:
Whether any of us likes it or not one thing is true in Europe today — its future depends on the workers of Germany. Russia cannot win them yet— but the West can lose them. . . If they should ever desert . the West and slide into Bolshevism, then you need no longer worry about what France’s workers will o. Then you can have all the Atlantic Pacts you can write. Stalin will need no Molotov or Vishinsky, no Cominform, not a single tank. Bolshevism will be everywhere.*
At the war’s end France had an opportunity that is never likely to recur, to assume the lead in Europe, not by conquest, but by acting according to the great principles of the French Revolution. But instead of uniting Europe on the basis of liberty, equality, and fraternity, France has displayed only a mean desire to appease the strong, bully he vanquished,t and beg from the rich. Were she the great and intelligent nation which many Americans believe her to be, she would have been magnanimous in the hour of Germany’s total defeat, and thus have ended the long and tragic epic of ag- gression and counteraggression by bringing victor and vanquished alike into a free federated Europe. Instead, she has taken the lead in perpetuating old feuds, dividing Europe, and preparing the way for Communist conquest. So long as France influences American policy, there can be little hope for peace, security, or prosperity in Europe, or an end to the subsidies which Americans are supplying to the Old World.
* Time, April 4, 1949