The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
THE first steps towards three-Power planning for the occupation and control of Germany after her eventual defeat were taken at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers in October 1943. In those days the Red Army was continuing its powerful advance against the German armies (Kiev was liberated during the Conference), and the forces of the Western Allies were preparing their tremendous attack upon Hitler's "Fortress Europe." The need for coördinating the political planning of the major Allies thus became more and more obvious and acute. During Mr. Eden's visit to Washington the previous March, Harry Hopkins had noted the necessity of reaching an understanding "as to which armies would be where and what kind of administration should be developed."[i] A few days later President Roosevelt instructed Secretary Hull to explore, first with the British and then with the Russians, "the question of what our plan is to be in Germany and Italy during the first months after Germany's collapse."[ii] Even so, the Italian surrender caught the Allies politically unprepared. The cross-purposes and frictions revealed during the negotiations over Italy showed how urgent it was to begin coördinating Allied purposes and arrangements for the surrender of Germany, and to do so well before the event. In September 1943 it was decided to arrange a first meeting of the three Foreign Ministers in preparation for a first conference of the three heads of governments.
At the Moscow Conference, Mr. Hull presented to Mr. Eden and Mr. Molotov the American view of postwar policy toward Germany.[iii] Although this memorandum was received favorably, no attempt was made to reach concrete decisions concerning Germany, and the problem was referred to a new body, the European Advisory Commission (henceforth referred to as the EAC), which was to have its seat in London and carry on its work continuously. The memorandum recommended that an inter-Allied control commission be set up to enforce upon Germany the terms of surrender and the policies of the Allies, and that Germany should be occupied by British, Soviet and American forces. Thus the principle of joint responsibility in German policy and of joint occupation of Germany was accepted tacitly in October 1943 as a basis of future planning.
The terms of reference of the EAC, as established in the Moscow Protocol of November 1, 1943, reflected a sharp divergence between British and American views. The Foreign Office wanted EAC to receive a broad mandate to settle promptly, during the war, many questions concerning both the enemy and the smaller Allied states in Europe. In this view, the EAC should have competence in such matters as the future régimes to be established in France, Poland, Jugoslavia and elsewhere, and also be authorized to settle minority and boundary disputes. It can be assumed that the British leaders hoped to settle as many of these questions as possible during the war, while the major Allies were compelled by necessity to act together to a considerable degree and while the United States had powerful forces in Europe. A British government has excellent facilities for studying matters of this sort and deciding on definite policy objectives; and the existence of a wartime coalition provided an even better opportunity than usual for the formulation of a final British view.
The dominant official view in the United States was that it would be unwise to attempt to solve postwar problems while hostilities were continuing, except for achieving the establishment of a United Nations organization. There was doubt as to the authority of the executive to commit the United States on matters which are usually settled in treaties of peace. There was uncertainty regarding the degree to which American opinion would, after the war, maintain a detailed interest in and responsibility for specifically European problems. There were fears that groups of American citizens of foreign origin would be distracted from the unified war effort--and, incidentally, from support of the Administration--if attempts were made during the war to settle concrete boundary and other issues. These lines of thought led the United States Government to favor limiting the mandate of the EAC primarily to working out arrangements for the surrender of the Axis states in Europe. While the American delegation at Moscow accepted the broad wording of Article 1 of the terms of reference, it laid emphasis upon the limiting provision that questions could be referred to the EAC only by unanimous consent of the three Governments, and it actually regarded Article 2 as the only real mandate of the new body.[iv] Preparations for beginning the formal negotiations concerning Germany were advanced during the Teheran Conference when the three heads of governments appointed their representatives to the EAC--Sir William Strang for the United Kingdom, Fedor T. Gusev for the Soviet Union, and the late John G. Winant for the United States.
Thus the Moscow and Teheran Conferences committed the three major Allies to proceeding promptly to the elaboration of joint arrangements for the postwar occupation and control of Germany. In the view of those at the "working level" within the State Department, and in Mr. Winant's view, the task was one of great and immediate urgency. If the Allies could agree on a detailed program of postwar coöperation with regard to Germany, other European problems might prove much more manageable and there would be far stronger hope for some measure of continuing coöperation in a United Nations organization. No one assumed that coöperation would be easy. But there was hope that the great damages which German aggression had inflicted on the world might have created such a shared sense of urgency among the Allies that they would be able to plan a common Allied policy for dealing with Germany in a manner to prevent the recurrence of the danger.
The EAC held an informal organizing meeting on December 15, 1943, and began its formal meetings on January 14, 1944.[v] Naturally, it could work effectively only when all three representatives had full instructions from their governments. The EAC was not, in fact, able to "study and make recommendations to the three Governments" on its own initiative. From the beginning it was a negotiating body, and the 12 agreements which it succeeded in reaching had to be approved in advance, down to the last detail and word, by the three (later four) Governments before they could be presented as "recommendations" to those Governments. Only then would such recommendations receive formal "approval." In matters of such profound concern as those which were referred to the EAC each of the national representatives could speak and act only upon detailed instructions.
In this respect the British representative was fortunately situated. As the seat of the Commission was London, he had direct personal access to the final political authority in his government and so was able to receive clear guidance rather promptly. Inter-departmental conflicts could be resolved with reasonable expedition through joint committees (in which the primary responsibility of the Foreign Office in matters of foreign policy was recognized), through the admirable functioning of the Cabinet Secretariat, and, if necessary, through reference to the War Cabinet. The American representative on EAC was less fortunate. Until December 1943 there was no established procedure through which he could receive the instructions of his government. Clearly, postwar policy toward Germany transcended the competence of either the Department of State or the War Department.
In order to meet this lack and to provide the American representative in London with instructions based upon the combined views of the departments concerned, there was established in December 1943, under the camouflage name of the Working Security Committee (henceforth referred to as WSC), an inter-departmental committee, consisting of officers of State, War, and Navy Departments. The WSC was designed to coördinate the views of the three departments and, on this basis, to transmit agreed instructions to Mr. Winant in London. The instructions might be draft documents to be circulated and negotiated in the EAC; or detailed statements of American policies and objectives for his guidance in negotiation, whether formal or informal; or comments on reports of EAC discussions and on proposals submitted by other delegations; or, finally, comments on suggestions and recommendations worked out by the United States delegation in London.[vi] Formally, the Department of State provided the channel for transmission of instructions to Mr. Winant. But in practice it could forward only instructions and drafts which had been approved by the WSC, or rather by each of the departmental components of the WSC. In theory, the officers of the three departments concerned with German policy were supposed to work out agreed recommendations in the WSC and then to "clear" the draft instructions with the superior officers within each department; when notified of such multiple clearance, the chairman of the WSC could then transmit the approved telegram or dispatch to London. In practice, each departmental component within the WSC could exercise a "veto" over any proposed instruction.[vii]
The Department of State was represented on the WSC by officers of the Division of European (later Central European) Affairs and the Division of Political (later Territorial) Studies. In presenting recommendations to the WSC, the State Department component could draw upon a large number of background and policy studies which had been reviewed by the President's Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy since January 1942, and upon the continuing and intensive work of the departmental Interdivisional Committee on Germany.[viii] The War Department component was to be provided by the Civil Affairs Division, which had been established in the spring of 1943.[ix] If the Civil Affairs Division had made studies of future policy toward Germany in the intervening period this fact did not become evident in the discussions of the WSC.
Although the establishment of the WSC had been agreed to early in December by the three departments "at the Assistant Secretary level," it could not begin to function at once because the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department refused at first to take part. For a fortnight the representatives of the Division maintained that the surrender and occupation of Germany were purely a military matter which would have to be decided "at the military level;" and that therefore there was no need for the WSC, or, for that matter, for a European Advisory Commission. In rejoinder, it was pointed out that the President, who was also commander-in-chief, had joined with the heads of two other governments in creating the EAC and in expressing the intention to work out Allied agreements on postwar Germany. According to the Civil Affairs Division, military government was a purely military matter; when the time came, the necessary orders would be issued by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and that was all. This view ignored the fact that the Combined Chiefs of Staff would probably not be allowed to determine American postwar policy, that there was no Soviet representation on it, that the President was committed to seeking postwar agreement on Germany with both the Soviet and British Governments, and that meanwhile the American representative on the EAC was completely without instructions. This deadlock, which threatened to postpone indefinitely the establishment of the WSC, was finally broken by intervention from above, and on December 21, 1943, officers of the Civil Affairs Division met for the first time in the WSC. It should be pointed out that the Civil Affairs Division was staffed largely with civilians who had recently gone into uniform. Some of them who had been lawyers in civil life seemed to regard the jurisdiction and prestige of the military service as they might the interests of a client, to be defended by every device of argument, delay, obstruction and veto against an "adversary," in this case the State Department.
Thus although the WSC began its meetings, it made little progress on the coördination of policy. The Civil Affairs Division representatives who attended were of relatively junior rank. They had been given strict instructions to agree to nothing, or almost nothing, and could only report the discussions back to their superiors. This system of negotiating at arm's length, under rigid instructions and with the exercise of the "veto," resembled the procedures of Soviet negotiators in their more intransigeant moods. Under such conditions the pace of work in the WSC was, of necessity, determined primarily by the outlook of the Civil Affairs Division.
This explanation of the procedure by which American policy was formulated in Washington for presentation in the EAC in London has been necessary, since it had a great deal to do with the determination of the American position regarding the future zones of occupation in Germany.
While the WSC was struggling to be born, the Interdivisional Committee on Germany in the Department of State had been giving active consideration to the problems which should be dealt with in the EAC. Upon returning from the Moscow Conference, I had outlined to the Committee three matters of immediate concern--the formulation of an instrument of unconditional surrender, the definition of zones of occupation, and the establishment of Allied control machinery for the joint administration of Germany--and urged that the American proposals be formulated as promptly as possible and circulated in the EAC. Experience had shown that it was advantageous to have American proposals available to the Russians before they drew up their own recommendations. Moreover, the negotiator who put his proposals in first could frequently get his drafts accepted as a basis of discussion. At this stage of the war, too, American negotiators were often in a "middle position" between Soviet and British views, and therefore it was important to enable the American member of EAC to take the lead in submitting proposals. The hope that this might be done in the present case faded rapidly. While the Civil Affairs Division wrangled over jurisdiction in the WSC, Mr. Winant was left without instructions. Without them, he could not even discuss the British and Soviet proposals presented in EAC, much less present any American proposals. On occasion, when he wired urgently asking why he had received no replies to his requests for comment and instructions, the Civil Affairs Division representatives even vetoed draft messages informing him that he should not expect an early reply.
Despite the deadlock over the question of zones, the WSC did make some progress on the formulation of a draft instrument of German unconditional surrender. The American draft, which was circulated in the EAC on March 6, 1944, became the basis of the EAC Protocol of July 25, 1944, setting forth the agreed terms of German surrender.
Already our office had been making a study of possible and desirable zones of occupation, and by mid-December 1943 a tentative proposal was ready for submission to the WSC, together with demographic and economic studies of the suggested zones and the necessary maps. In preparing this proposal we had to assume either that there would or would not be a German central administration in operation at the time of surrender. In the former case, the Allied authorities could work through it, though of course drastically changing its composition and policies. Berlin then would be the logical seat of the joint Allied authority. If there were no German administration in being, it would still be necessary to use the German staffs and records, and Berlin again would be the natural center. A further factor favorable to making Berlin the seat of Allied authority was that any proposal to create a new capital, especially one situated in a western zone, seemed bound to meet with unrelenting Soviet opposition. It seemed unwise to begin negotiation for an agreed Allied policy by presenting a proposal which could only lead at once to deadlock, thus sacrificing larger interests of Allied coöperation to a contingent advantage which might or might not be of practical importance.
More significant, I believe, was the proposal that a corridor should be established connecting the prospective western areas of occupation with Berlin, this to be accomplished by joining certain intervening districts of Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg to the western zones. This proposal, for which I was responsible, ran counter to the principle of retaining the administrative boundaries of the existing Länder and provinces; but it was consistent with the proposal to break up Prussia and thus to destroy its preponderance within postwar Germany. Since it was assumed that for most purposes Germany would be treated as a political and economic entity, the economic disruption caused by creating this corridor for purposes only of occupation and enforcement of Allied authority would be negligible. I realized that such a proposal by the United States would probably meet with Soviet objections, but I believed that if it could be presented first, with impressive firmness, it might be taken into account by the Soviet Government in framing its own proposals. I believed that the dignity and security of the American authorities to be installed eventually in Berlin required that provision be made in advance for free and direct territorial access to Berlin from the West.
This proposal was never acted upon in the WSC in Washington and was therefore never presented to the EAC in London. The position of the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department was that the determination of the future zones of occupation was no concern of the WSC or of the EAC. It was a "military matter" which would be decided "at the proper time" and "at the military level."[x] The Civil Affairs Division even denied for many weeks the "right" of the EAC to negotiate an agreement on zones. It argued that zones of occupation would be determined by the location of troops at the time of Germany's surrender or collapse. This, the State Department members felt, was to rely on an extremely risky expedient. If there were no Allied agreement on postwar zones, there would be constant suspicions between the Allies. The Germans could fan these fears by hints of a separate understanding with East or West. In the closing phase of the war, strategy and tactics might be determined by the desire to occupy the largest possible area of Germany rather than by the aim to defeat Germany as quickly as possible. In their reply, the representatives of the War Department implied that they expected all of Germany up to the Rhine to be in Soviet control upon Germany's defeat, and that therefore it was useless to expect the Soviet Government to carry out any agreement regarding the division of Germany which might have been reached in advance, since this would be to its disadvantage. To this the answer was obvious. If the prospects were so gloomy, all the more reason to seek early agreement on future arrangements for Germany, since clearly it was not in the interest of European stability and of American security that all or nearly all of Germany should pass under sole Soviet control. As for the doubt concerning the Soviet Government's fulfilment of its agreement, no American Government could afford to report to its people and its Allies that it had refused to negotiate a postwar agreement on this ground. Nothing would be lost by assuming that agreements would be kept. If they were made with good faith on the American side, and were later broken by other governments, the situation would be far clearer for all the world, the American people included, to judge. After many days of argument and counter-argument, the Civil Affairs Division exercised its right of veto in early January 1944. WSC was debarred from providing Mr. Winant with proposals concerning the future zones of occupation.
It has sometimes been suggested that it was a basic error to divide Germany into zones of occupation; and that it would have been better to station Allied forces in dispersed or interlarded fashion and thus to avoid the creation of separate zones. A tentative proposal to this effect was put forward informally in late December 1943 by a member of the British Foreign Office during a reconnaissance visit to Washington. If this proposal had been adopted, the establishment of zones and the de facto partition of Germany might conceivably have been avoided. It was rejected by the Civil Affairs Division. There were indeed strong arguments against it. Interlarding of forces under different commands would have created serious problems of supply and communications for the very large forces which would be on German territory at the time of defeat. It would be difficult for regional and local commanders to deal with German administrative authorities only through Berlin. Conflicts and misunderstandings might arise between troops of different language and background. The State Department planning group gave the suggestion careful consideration but felt that it could not support it in opposition to the unanimous military opinion. It was assumed also that the Soviet Government would wish to concentrate its forces in a compact territory and would not want its troops to have the wide and free contact with other Allied forces which would be inevitable if Soviet forces were interlarded with British and American troops all over Germany.
The Foreign Office representative who visited Washington in December 1943 and January 1944 also wished to find out whether the United States was preparing to take the initiative in presenting proposals to the EAC. We may assume that his report made it clear that no rapid formulation of agreed American views was to be relied upon. In January, therefore, the Foreign Office took the initiative. At the first meeting of the EAC the British representative presented a draft surrender instrument and a draft agreement on zones of occupation (circulated January 15, 1944). The latter provided for the division of Germany, within its 1937 boundaries, into three zones. The area which it proposed for Soviet occupation was the one which was accepted later by all three Powers. Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and the areas to the eastward were to come under Soviet occupation, except for Greater Berlin, which was to be under joint occupation. As a division of Germany, it was equitable. The Soviet zone, it was estimated, would contain 40 percent of the territory, 36 percent of the population and 33 percent of the productive resources of the pre-1937 country. In terms of war effort and of war-inflicted sufferings, the Soviet Union might have claimed a larger share.
The British proposal would have placed all of northwestern Germany, including Brunswick, Hesse-Nassau, the Rhine Provinces and the areas north of them, under British occupation. The zone proposed for American occupation included the Saar and the Bavarian Palatinate west of the Rhine, together with Hesse-Darmstadt, Württemberg, Baden and Bavaria. This arrangement, if approved, would have placed the greatest industrial areas under British control. Only the United States zone would have bordered on France, and if a zone were later allotted to French occupation, most of the French zone would have to be detached from the American-controlled area. On the other hand, if the United States withdrew from the occupation of Germany, the American zone could be taken over more conveniently by French forces. London presumably did not overlook the fact that the proposed British zone would give Britain a major voice in control over her greatest industrial and commercial competitor in Europe.
For these reasons the proposed allocation of the two western zones was rejected by the American military authorities and by President Roosevelt. The President insisted that the redeployment of major American forces from Germany to the Far East required United States control of the ports of northwestern Germany. Furthermore, occupation of the southwestern zone would necessitate using French lines of communication and transportation, and American-French military relations were not cordial. The British argued that redeployment of American forces to the northwestern zone and of British forces to the southwestern zone would create great confusion, since Montgomery's forces were to advance through the Low Countries into northern Germany, while American forces were to enter central and southern Germany. The American rejoinder was that this problem would diminish rapidly in volume as combat forces were transferred to the Far East and forces in Germany were placed on a garrison-and-security footing. The President urged instead that the British plan to occupy both the southern zone in Germany and all of Austria. This dispute over the allocation of the two western zones was to be settled only seven months later, at the Quebec Conference of September 1944.
On February 18, 1944, a Soviet proposal concerning zones was also circulated. It accepted the eastern zone as suggested by the British proposal, together with the designation of Greater Berlin as a separate zone of joint Allied occupation. The Soviet acceptance, without bargaining, of a zone of slightly more than one-third of Germany, appeared a sign of a moderate and conciliatory approach to the problem of how to deal with postwar Germany. The Soviet representative implied clearly that the question of just how Western Germany would be divided into separate British and American zones was not of particular concern to his government. However, he hoped for an early settlement of the dispute and hence for a prompt conclusion of a three-Power agreement. At this time the Civil Affairs Division representatives on the WSC were still maintaining that the EAC was not entitled to negotiate concerning the future zones. Consequently no American proposals or instructions could be sent to Mr. Winant. He made urgent and repeated pleas for them, but to no avail.
At the end of February the Civil Affairs Division suddenly changed its position. It brought into the WSC a small-scale map of Germany, on which pencilled lines radiating north, west and south from Berlin had been sketched, explaining that this division represented President Roosevelt's instructions. I do not know who received this "instruction" from the President, or how much information had been presented to him concerning the British and Soviet proposals. This proposed division had the advantage of placing Berlin at the meeting-point of the three zones. On the other hand, the proposed Soviet zone represented only about 22 percent of the area, population and productive resources of prewar Germany, and was therefore certain to be rejected by the Soviet and British Governments. The hastily pencilled lines also cut across many lines of administration and communication. The Civil Affairs Division insisted that this proposal be communicated as it stood to the EAC, and that Mr. Winant demand its acceptance. When it was asked to prepare a background memorandum for the negotiator's guidance in presenting this proposal, it declined to do so. After ten days of discussion, the WSC agreed to transmit this bare proposal to London as it stood. The State Department component realized that Mr. Winant would undoubtedly ask for fuller instructions, and hoped thus to bring the Civil Affairs Division to a more realistic consideration of the character and difficulties of the proposal it was making. Frantic queries from London followed promptly. The War Department representatives could not be budged. The deadlock continued until the first week of April. The EAC delegation in London insisted that it must be given fuller instructions both for presenting the proposal and concerning the attitude it should adopt if the British and Soviet Governments joined in rejecting it. In the WSC the Civil Affairs Division refused all further elucidations and contingent instructions.
In mid-March the wheels of the EAC, which had been barely turning, ground to a complete stop. The Soviet and American delegations were deeply perturbed by "informed comments" in the British press concerning matters in dispute, especially as one of the disputes dealt with the question of whether the German forces, after the final surrender, would or would not be treated as prisoners of war. Unauthorized disclosures of these discussions provided Goebbels with effective means of stimulating German resistance. This gave rise to considerable American and Soviet indignation. After a month, during which the work of the EAC was suspended, Mr. Winant was able, by bringing to bear all his influence, to restore Soviet confidence in the future secrecy of EAC discussions. The EAC's work was resumed.
In the meantime, Mr. Winant's Political Adviser, George F. Kennan, returned to Washington to try to make clear the difficult situation in which the EAC delegation found itself and to clarify the issues which were before it. In the first week of April he was able to present the entire range of EAC issues to President Roosevelt. The President thereupon reconsidered the arrangements for the future zones and authorized his representative in London to approve the proposed Soviet zone. He continued, however, to insist on American occupation of the northwestern zone. Mr. Winant now informed his colleagues orally of this new position, and the American acceptance of the Soviet zone undoubtedly contributed to the renewal of the work of the EAC and to a strengthening of confidence in its ability to build a basis of postwar cooperation among the Allies. Mr. Winant continued to advocate vigorously that the northwestern zone be assigned for American occupation. From April to November, however, the dispute continued.
In May 1944 Mr. Winant paid a short visit to Washington to clarify a large number of issues concerning both the EAC negotiations and numerous other matters. Mr. Roosevelt again affirmed to him his strong view concerning American occupation of northwestern Germany. In his discussions in the War Department, Mr. Winant raised with the Civil Affairs Division the question of access to Berlin from the western zones. He offered to propose detailed provisions safeguarding American access by highway, railroad and air. Since the Soviet representative had repeatedly insisted that there would be no difficulty in arranging for transit through the Soviet zone to Berlin, and that the presence of American and British forces in Berlin "of course" carried with it all necessary facilities of access, Mr. Winant was confident that concrete provisions could be negotiated in the EAC without great difficulty. Although the President had given new instructions early in April, as noted above, Mr. Winant so far had refrained from presenting the American position in writing, since he assumed that Washington would want to see some arrangements concerning access to Berlin included. At this time, of course, it was assumed that such provisions would relate only to the personnel and matériel of the armed forces, since planning was proceeding on the assumption that Germany herself would be treated as a political and economic unit and therefore no special provisions would be needed to regulate the economic relations between Berlin and any of the zones.
The Civil Affairs Division opposed the insertion of a specific provision concerning access to Berlin. It felt that it was impossible to foresee, in May 1944, in advance of D-Day, what railroads and highways would be needed for use by the Allied forces. If specific roads and railroutes were assigned, they might be in a state of complete destruction when the time came to enter Berlin, and then it would be difficult to arrange for alternative facilities. They insisted that this was a purely "military matter" which would be taken care of "at the military level" when the time came. Mr. Winant felt that he could not further challenge this authoritative military view. When he returned to London he at last circulated to the EAC, on June 12, the American proposal concerning zones of occupation in Germany.
During July the EAC negotiated actively for an agreement on zones and for the division of Berlin into three sectors. Maps were prepared showing the zones in Germany and the sectors in Berlin. The draft agreement specified that "Germany, within the frontiers as they were on the 31st December 1937, will, for the purposes of occupation, be divided into three zones, one of which will be allotted to each of the three Powers, and a special Berlin area, which will be under joint occupation by the three Powers." Article 2 gave a description of the western boundary of the zone which ". . . will be occupied by the armed forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, with the exception of the Berlin area, for which a special system of occupation is provided below." It also provided that "The Berlin area (by which expression is understood the territory of 'Greater Berlin' as defined by the Law of the 27th April, 1920) will be jointly occupied by armed forces of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics assigned by the respective Commanders-in-Chief." In the meticulous drafting practised by the EAC it was provided that the boundaries of Länder and provinces would be "those which existed after the coming into effect of the decree of 25th June 1941 (published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, No. 72, the 3rd July, 1941)," and that boundaries of districts within Greater Berlin would be "those which existed after the coming into effect of the decree published on the 27th March, 1938 (Amtsblatt der Reichshauptstadt Berlin, No. 13 of the 27th March, 1938, page 215)." The clear provisions of the EAC Protocol leave no basis whatever for the Soviet assertion, advanced in 1948 during the Berlin crisis, that "Berlin . . . is a part of that [the Soviet] zone."[xi] I had been assigned to London to serve as Political Adviser to Mr. Winant late in June, succeeding Mr. Kennan, and I took an active part in these and subsequent negotiations, until August 1945.
By late July the draft Protocol on zones was complete, except for the important question of the assignment of the two western zones, which was obviously beyond the competence of the EAC and a matter which could be decided only between the President and the Prime Minister.[xii] By mid-August, when plans were being made for the second Quebec Conference, it was clear that the decision regarding the British and American zones could not be delayed any further. At this time Mr. Winant was arguing vigorously in London for American occupation of the northwestern zone, although Mr. Stimson, Mr. McCloy and Mr. Stettinius felt that this zone should be allotted to British occupation.[xiii]
In mid-August, in a telegram of some seven thousand words, Mr. Winant set before the President the position which had been reached in attempts to settle policy toward Germany. He pointed out that the EAC had reached agreement on the terms of German unconditional surrender,[xiv] that it could complete the agreement on zones as soon as the assignment of the two western zones was decided, and that there was good prospect that it could shortly complete an agreement concerning the future machinery of Allied control. These three agreements, he emphasized, would provide the machinery for dealing with Germany but would not supply the content of future policy towards Germany. He urged that every effort be made on the American side to go forward to negotiate the widest possible measure of agreed policies to be enforced jointly by the future occupying Powers. It was not enough to set up the machinery of joint Allied administration; every effort should be made to work out agreed Allied policies which this machinery should carry into effect.
Mr. Winant went on to point out that the Russian need for material aid in repairing the vast destruction in the Soviet Union was bound to make the Soviet Government particularly eager to receive reparations deliveries from Germany on a large scale. Since the major part of German industry was located in the western zones, the Allies must try to work out, in advance, a reparations policy which would satisfy a part of the Soviet demands without involving an undue burden for the United States. He urged that Washington hasten the formulation of a reparations policy and then bend every effort toward reaching the earliest possible agreement with its Allies while the war was still in progress. He warned that it would be almost impossible to achieve such an agreement after the close of hostilities and that if no agreement had been reached on reparation the proposed system for the joint control in Germany would break down. Rivalry for control over Germany, he said, would rapidly follow. He urged that the United States consider ways of helping the recovery of the Soviet economy, such assistance to be linked to the achievement of a satisfactory settlement of the problem of German reparations and of the most important political issues between the two Governments.
Instead of pursuing this farsighted program, the United States, in September 1944, dashed off after the will-o'-the-wisp of the Morgenthau "Plan." For six months it indulged in a policy of "no policy" towards Germany. On October 20 Mr. Roosevelt wrote to Mr. Hull: "I dislike making detailed plans for a country which we do not yet occupy."[xv] And five days later an F.D.R. memorandum, elicited by the Civil Affairs Division, put a complete stop to postwar planning for Germany and even placed in question the U. S. draft directives which had already been cleared in Washington and circulated to the EAC. Although Mr. Winant was in America in late October, he apparently was told nothing of this decision, which cut the ground completely from under the EAC and from under the policy which he had advocated so forcefully on every possible occasion and particularly in his long telegram of mid-August to the President. The momentum which the EAC had been building up was halted. Progress was not resumed until the beginning of April 1945, when time was already running out.
Mr. Winant wished to place not only his analysis of the chief postwar problems before the Quebec Conference, but also the EAC draft Procotol on zones. On September 12 the EAC signed the Protocol for transmission to the three Governments. As outlined above, it defined the three zones of occupation in Germany and the three sectors of occupation in Berlin. It assigned the eastern zone and the eastern sector to Soviet occupation, and simply left blank the spaces for inserting mention of the two western occupying Powers. The division of the western territory into two zones was that which had been advanced by the British on January 15 and approved by the American delegation on June 12. This division was satisfactory to each of the two Governments--provided it was to receive the valuable northwestern zone!
At Quebec, President Roosevelt agreed to accept the southern zone, without Austria. Two further changes were made. The region of the Saar and the Palatinate, to the west of the Rhine, was transferred to the British zone, and Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Nassau were shifted to the American zone. In addition, to meet the American demand for a German port for purposes of redeployment, it was agreed that 1, control of the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven, and the necessary staging areas in that immediate vicinity, would be vested in the commander of the American zone; and 2, there would be access to the American zone through the western and northwestern ports and passage through the British-controlled area.[xvi]
When the Quebec decision was referred to the EAC for incorporation into the Protocol on zones it was found that American and British military views of its meaning were far apart. The American military position, transmitted to Mr. Winant by the State Department, was that "control" of the two ports meant that Land Bremen should form a special enclave under direct American military administration, and that "access" through the British zone meant that certain railroads and highways must be placed under sole American control and occupation. The British War Office contested this interpretation and went on to point out that military government of Bremen was quite different from control of the ports; that creation of this enclave would seriously disrupt the administrative cohesion of the British zone; that "access" by road and rail meant that the American forces would receive, through agreement with the British commander, all necessary facilities for transportation and communications but would not actually run the railroads and monopolize any given highways. The new deadlock continued for many weeks, while the American military fought for their definition.
Meanwhile, it was becoming urgent to complete the revised agreement on zones. During the Churchill-Eden visit to Moscow in mid-October it had been agreed that the new French Provisional Government should be invited to join the EAC, and it was decided to extend the joint three-Power invitation on November 11--Armistice Day of the First World War--a day especially significant to the newly liberated French. Now the EAC could operate only under the rule of unanimity. The admission of France prior to the completion of the two pending agreements on zones and on control machinery would thus mean that everything that had been agreed upon tentatively to date would be cancelled out, months of slow progress would be lost, and all the work would, in effect, have to begin over again. In Mr. Winant's absence in Washington, I found it necessary to try to complete the two agreements before the French joined the EAC. Personally, I assumed that France would eventually share in the occupation and control of Germany, although both the American and Soviet Governments continued to oppose that proposal. But I felt that the major Allies and France both would be in a stronger position to reach solid agreements on the key problems of postwar Europe if the EAC agreements which were so close to achievement after so many laborious months of progress were confirmed first.
During the first days of November I worked day and night to bring the British and American military views together. I urged that the private dispute be postponed until a later time, since the arrangements for access and transit did not interest the Soviet Government, and that meanwhile the agreement be completed. After numerous sharp exchanges, in which I was the innocent go-between, the differences were narrowed down. The War Department wanted the American commander-in-chief to exercise such control of the ports and enjoy such transit facilities through the British zone as he might "deem necessary." The War Office, on the other hand, wanted him to exercise such control and enjoy such facilities "as may be agreed hereafter by the United Kingdom and United States military authorities to be necessary to meet his requirements."
The American wording would have allowed the United States commander to issue orders and would have bound the British commander to comply with his orders. The British wording, in effect, left the arrangements to be worked out later by mutual agreement. With the two drafts so close, I worked the wires and the transatlantic telephone several times daily. Finally, on the understanding that the American Joint Chiefs of Staff would have another opportunity to spell out in detail the meaning of "control of ports" and "access" through the British zone after the EAC Protocol was submitted to Washington for confirmation, the War Department reluctantly accepted the British wording, and the second Protocol on Zones was signed in the EAC on November 14, 1944.[xvii] France joined the EAC on November 27.
This Protocol on Zones was in the form of a series of amendments to the Protocol of September 12. Articles 1 and 2 inserted the detailed descriptions of the two western zones, as modified at Quebec, while Article 3 set forth the arrangements, outlined above, concerning American access to the ports and American transit rights across the British zone. Because of resentment felt in the War Department against the "mutual agreement" wording described above, approval of the Protocol of November 14, as well as that of September 12, was withheld for many weeks. British approval was given on December 5. Soviet approval of EAC agreements usually came only after that of both Britain and the United States had been given. Of course, until the two Protocols had been aproved by all three Governments they were not legally binding.
Mr. Winant was greatly disturbed by the failure to give legal finality to the agreement on zones. When Harry Hopkins passed through London late in January 1945 on his way to the Yalta Conference, Mr. Winant urged upon him, as he had done in telegrams to Washington, the importance of confirming the Protocol. Our failure to do so would place an unnecessary burden of doubt and suspicion on the work of the Conference. At Malta, Hopkins reported to Stettinius, on January 31, that "Winant feared . . . that the Russians might reach the border of their zone and then keep on going" unless there was a firm prior commitment concerning the future zones of occupation.[xviii] Curiously enough, the decision to give United States approval to the Protocol appears to have been taken by the Combined (U.S.-U.K.) Chiefs of Staff, rather than by the Joint (U.S.) Chiefs of Staff.[xix] In any case, the American approval of the Protocol was forwarded from Malta on February 1 to Mr. Winant in London and was reported by him to his British and Soviet colleagues on February 2. Soviet approval followed, on February 6. The three-Power agreement on zones of occupation was now in force.
Confirmation of the three-Power agreement having been completed, there remained only two further aspects relating to the zones of occupation which concerned the EAC. There were the definition of the French zone of occupation and the preparations for the negotiations of June 1945 concerning access to Berlin. By the time of the Yalta Conference President Roosevelt had abandoned his earlier opposition to French participation in the occupation of Germany, and he now joined with Prime Minister Churchill in securing Marshall Stalin's assent to this course, which was given on the condition that the French zone be formed out of the British and American zones, leaving the Soviet zone unchanged.[xx] After Yalta, negotiation of the detailed agreement was turned over to the EAC. The French and British delegations agreed, after some haggling, on the transfer from Britain to France of the occupation of the Saar, the Palatinate and a large part of the Rhine Province. In opening negotiations with the American delegation, the French representatives asked for Baden and Württemberg, as well as Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Nassau. They pointed out that this would give them direct access to the Soviet zone. On the other hand, it would have cut off the United States zone from the British zone and further complicated the problem of access to the North German seaports.
The American counter-proposal was based on strictly logistical conceptions. The boundary between the French and American zones was to be drawn so as to leave in the American zone the main highway, or Autobahn, through Ulm-Stuttgart-Karlsruhe, as well as the trunk railroad. Administrative and traditional divisions were disregarded completely. The sole concern was to assure access under American control to the Middle Rhine region and the seaports. On two occasions Mr. Winant and I wired strong protests to Washington against the breaking-up of both Baden and Württemberg. We pointed out that if it was the American intention to revive and strengthen the federal states in Germany as a possible safeguard against excessive centralization of power, it was hardly logical to begin the reconstruction of Germany by breaking up two of the Länder possessing a strong sense of regional identity and a certain attachment to democratic self-government. We suggested that some other device be sought for assuring freedom of movement over the highways and railways.[xxi] Renewed instructions from Washington to insist on the War Department's proposal finally ended in the French acquiescing. The only concessions were the addition of Baden-Baden to the French zone and a provision for French access to Baden administrative records located at Karlsruhe, in addition to written French assurance that United States forces would enjoy freedom of passage across and above all parts of the French zone.
By early June 1945 these aspects of the determination of the French zone had been completed in the bilateral Franco-British and Franco-American negotiations. The Soviet representative had meanwhile been inquiring somewhat impatiently when the agreement would be ready to sign in the EAC. Now, however, a new problem, and a new source of delay, arose when the third Protocol on zones was put before the EAC. The American and British military authorities now insisted that the assignment of a sector to French occupation in Berlin required a partial readjustment of the sectors assigned earlier to the three other Powers. They proposed that, in order to provide three Bezirke for the French sector, each of the three Powers should give up one Bezirk from its own sector; then, by a little rearrangement, the French could be given three contiguous Bezirke. The Soviet delegation reacted violently to this proposal, insisting that the Yalta agreement admitting France to a share in the occupation had been conditioned on no change being made in the Soviet zone of occupation. Personally, I felt that the Soviet position was based on a valid analogy, but of course I argued strenuously on the basis of the instructions of my government. When the Potsdam Conference assembled, the EAC was still deadlocked on the question of the French sector in Berlin, although the EAC Protocol, signed on May 1, 1945, had provided for full French participation in the control machinery in Germany and in Berlin.
On arriving at Potsdam I found that the representatives of the War Department "at the working level" were adamant on the question of detaching one Bezirk from the Soviet sector in Berlin. Two days later, however, this point of view was reversed. It was now clear that joint occupation of Berlin would mean joint participation in providing food and fuel for its inhabitants, since General Zhukov had declined, on July 7, to continue supplying all of Berlin from the Soviet zone.[xxii] At this time the western commanders had urged the Russians to meet the economic needs of Berlin. If their proposal had been accepted this would have resulted in the economic amalgamation of Berlin with the Soviet zone. It was Soviet insistence, in July 1945, which established Berlin as a separate economic area in addition to being a separate area of Allied occupation. American supplies clearly would be required to feed the British and French as well as the American zones and sectors, and it now seemed undesirable to reduce the size of the Soviet sector. The War Department representatives therefore abandoned their insistence on subtracting one Bezirk from the Soviet sector.
The British and American commanders were not yet in agreement, however, concerning which Bezirke of their sectors would be taken to form the French sector. Finally, new instructions were sent from Potsdam to the American and British representatives on the EAC, and on July 26, 1945, the EAC signed a third Protocol on zones. By it the French zone in Germany was defined, and the descriptions of the boundaries of the British and American zones were modified accordingly. The Report transmitting the Protocol to the four governments stated:
In view of the physical conditions prevailing in the area of "Greater Berlin," the Commission in the drafting of Article 7 of the present Agreement did not attempt to delineate the area in "Greater Berlin" to be occupied by the armed forces of the French Republic. The Commission recommends that the question of the delimitation of the French area in "Greater Berlin," which will have to be allotted from the American and British areas of "Greater Berlin" as a consequence of the greater destruction in the Soviet area of the City, should be referred to the Control Council in Berlin for consideration.
Three weeks before the surrender of Germany a proposal to change the agreed zones of occupation had been presented in an unexpected quarter. According to Admiral Leahy's account, Prime Minister Churchill proposed to President Truman, some days prior to April 21, that the British and American forces remain, at least for the time being, on the lines to which they had advanced, far within the future Soviet zone, and that the two governments should use this unexpected bargaining advantage to bring about a clarification of Soviet policy toward Germany, and, in particular, to secure Soviet agreement to supply food from the eastern zone for a part of the needs of the food-deficient western zones. Mr. Winant reacted strongly to this proposal, regarding it, if adopted, as a fatal blow to inter-Allied confidence, and to prospects of any measure of Allied coöperation in Germany as well as on other matters. His reasoning, set forth in telegrams to the President as well as in direct conversations with British leaders, was fully upheld in President Truman's reply of April 21 to the Prime Minister. Mr. Churchill continued to defend his proposal until June 13.[xxiii] Shortly after, on June 24, orders were issued to dissolve the Anglo-American SHAEF headquarters and armies by July 1, into their separate American and British components, and to prepare to withdraw American forces to the United States zone and to occupy the assigned sector in Berlin.
One further question concerned the EAC only indirectly: the provision of access to Berlin. Ever since Mr. Winant's failure to secure the consent of the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department to the negotiation of guarantees, this matter had been on his mind, and with his approval I had prepared a memorandum and a detailed draft agreement, remembering particularly the difficulties and chicaneries which the Russians had inflicted on American military missions in the countries of Eastern Europe since August 1944. About one week after V-E Day a representative of the "American side" of SHAEF came to London, and for two days we discussed in detail the contents, background and implications of the EAC agreements. In reply to his inquiry concerning a guarantee of access to Berlin, I explained how it happened that this matter had not been dealt with and handed him my memorandum and draft agreement on the subject. Among other things, this draft agreement provided that the American commander-in-chief should chose any two railroads and any two main highways for use by his troops, one each westward to the British zone and one each southwestward to the American zone. It authorized him to carry out any repairs to railroads, roads, signal systems and bridges which he might deem necessary, and to maintain gasoline pumps, repair patrols, rest stations and communications points along these facilities. If any of the assigned railways or highways were unusable for any cause, the Soviet commander was to be obligated to make alternative equivalent facilities available at once. It seemed to me that these provisions would afford clear and necessary safeguards for free access to Berlin. I pointed out that the withdrawal of American forces to the assigned zone and the movement of American forces into Berlin were part of one and the same agreement and must be fulfilled conjointly. I noted that the American position in negotiations "at the military level" for guarantees of access to Berlin was very strong, for the Soviet forces had their eyes on the Zeiss and other important plants of Thuringia and western Saxony. The representative of SHAEF took this advice and my draft documents with him.
On June 13, in reporting to the President, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War that the British Government had now agreed to an early withdrawal into the assigned zones, Mr. Winant again stressed the importance of linking up this movement with the entry of the Allied garrisons into Greater Berlin and "with the provision of free access" to Berlin.[xxiv] He was anxious that every precaution be taken, now that the moment had arrived to negotiate at the military level, to assure freedom of access to the future seat of the Allied control machinery. So far as I am aware, neither Mr. Winant nor his staff received, at the time, any information concerning the exchange of telegrams between President Truman and Marshal Stalin on June 14 and 16, or concerning the subsequent negotiations of the American military authorities in Berlin on this subject.[xxv]
It has been hinted that the failure to make specific provision for the access of the Western Allies to Berlin was due to Mr. Winant's reluctance to appear to question Soviet good faith by insisting on detailed arrangements for this purpose. It has even been alleged that his sad and untimely end was, in some way, due to "remorse" over a failure to provide, in 1944, against the danger of a Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948. The details of the EAC negotiations given here should dispose of these legends.
A review of the record shows that during the time when the EAC was striving to prepare the groundwork for postwar Allied coöperation in Germany the problem of making sure that the Western Allies would be able to reach Berlin freely through the Russian zone was not a matter in which the American military authorities showed any particular interest. They did, however, show deep concern to secure free lines of communication across the British and French zones. At the insistence of the War Department, the duty of reaching Allied agreements which would provide for adequate access to Berlin was left for direct negotiation among the military commanders in Germany. The omission of any such provision was a decision of the military staff which assumed final responsibility for planning the occupation of Germany.
[i] Robert E. Sherwood, "Roosevelt and Hopkins, an Intimate History." New York: Harper, 1948, p. 714.
[ii] "The Memoirs of Cordell Hull." New York: Macmillan, 1948, v. II, p. 1284-1285.
[iii] Summarized in Hull, ibid., v. II, p. 1285-1287. The memorandum was drafted during the Conference by two members of the delegation, including the present writer, mainly on the basis of studies and recommendations approved by the Interdivisional Committee on Germany, in the Department of State, and of studies prepared by the War and Peace Studies Project of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
[iv] The principal terms of reference of the EAC were: (1) "The Commission will study and make recommendations to the three Governments upon European questions connected with the termination of hostilities which the three Governments may consider appropriate to refer to it . . .;" (2) "As one of the Commission's first tasks the three Governments desire that it shall, as soon as possible, make detailed recommendations to them upon the terms of surrender to be imposed upon each of the European States with which any of the three Powers are at war, and upon the machinery required to ensure the fulfilment of those terms . . . ."
[v] In all, the EAC held 20 formal and 97 informal meetings between January 14, 1944, and August 1945, in addition to frequent private consultations among the delegations. It concluded 12 agreements dealing with German, Austrian and Bulgarian affairs. The armistices with Rumania, Hungary and Finland were not referred to it for negotiation.
[vi] A brief and formal account of the composition of the Working Security Committee is presented in "Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, 1939-1945," Washington, D. C., 1949 (released in 1950), Department of State Publication 3580, p. 225, 228-229, 271, 368.
[vii] The inter-departmental basis of American policy-making was reflected in the composition of the United States Delegation to the EAC. Mr. Winant was assisted by a Political Adviser designated by the Department of State (Mr. George F. Kennan, January to April 1944; the present writer, June 1944 to August 1945), and one or two political officers; a Military Adviser, with staff; a Naval Adviser, with staff; and later an Air Adviser, with staff. The service advisers communicated directly with their superiors in Washington, through their own channels.
[viii] Regarding the Advisory Committee, see "Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation," op. cit.; also "Dismemberment of Germany," by the present writer, Foreign Affairs, April 1950. For a brief account of the Interdivisional Committee, see "Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation," p. 177. The present writer served as chairman of this committee in its initial stages, and continued as a member until June 1944; he served continuously as a member of the WSC, occasionally as acting chairman, from December 1943 to June 1944. David Harris, Professor of History at Stanford University, became chairman of the Interdivisional Committee in October 1943 and a member of the WSC in June 1944.
[ix] Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, "On Active Service in Peace and War." New York: Harper, 1947, p. 559.
[x] Admiral Leahy reports that in November 1943 the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered the question of future zones of occupation (Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, "I Was There; The Personal Story of the Chief of Staff to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Based on His Notes and Diaries Made at the Time." New York: Whittlesey, 1950, p. 197). I have no knowledge of the JCS conclusions, if any were reached.
[xi] Soviet note of July 14, 1948, addressed to the United States and United Kingdom Governments ("Germany, 1947-1949, the Story in Documents," Washington, D. C., 1950. Department of State Publication 3556, p. 208).
[xii] The circumstances which affected the progress of the EAC make it hard to understand the petulant comment of Robert E. Sherwood (op. cit., p. 818): "It will be remembered that when the question of the future treatment of Germany had come up for discussion among the Big Three at Teheran, agreement had not been reached or very nearly approached. It had been decided to refer this explosive subject to the Russian-British-American Advisory Committee in London and there it had remained through many long months of inconclusive conversations and 'exchanges of view' on all manner of subjects, beginning with the primary one as to which nation would occupy which zone."
[xiii] Stimson and Bundy, op. cit., p. 568-569.
[xiv] The American draft of the instrument of German surrender was circulated in the EAC on March 6, 1944, and became the basis of the EAC Protocol of July 25, 1944.
[xv] Hull, op. cit., v. II, p. 1621.
[xvi] Leahy, op. cit., p. 262-263; Stimson and Bundy, op. cit., p. 576.
[xvii] The Protocol on Control Machinery in Germany was signed on the same day.
[xviii] Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., "Roosevelt and the Russians: the Yalta Conference," edited by Walter Johnson. Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1949, p. 56.
[xix] ibid., p. 63, 69.
[xx] ibid., p. 89, 126-129, 139, 163-164, 298-299, 344-345.
[xxi] Ambassador Murphy joined in support of Mr. Winant's second telegram of protest (Lucius D. Clay, "Decision in Germany." Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1950, p. 13.)
[xxii] ibid., p. 27-30.
[xxiii] Leahy, op. cit., p. 349-350, 382; Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith, "My Three Years in Moscow," Philadelphia and New York: Lippincott, 1950, p. 21-22.
[xxiv] Leahy, op. cit., p. 382, cites a part of this telegram.
[xxv] Clay, op. cit., p. 24-26; Smith, op. cit., p. 234; Identic Note of July 6, 1948, addressed by the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and France to the Government of the U. S. S. R., cited from "Germany, 1947-1949," op. cit., p. 205, with Soviet reply, p. 207-208.