The Surrender Instrument
Putting a surrender into writing would not seem to require the intensive effort of an intergovernmental commission more than a year before the event. In World War I, the United States and the Allies had left the armistice to the generals in the field, who, when the time came, had produced a document effective enough to end the conflict. But the years between the wars had revealed, from the World War II viewpoint, a catastrophic defect in the 1918 armistice, namely, the Germans had not been convinced of their defeat. At the last minute on 6 November 1918, the German Army had refused to send a military representative to negotiate with the Allies. Mathias Erzberger, a civilian and a defeatist in the eyes of some Germans, had negotiated and signed the armistice. The military leadership, aided by right-wing politicians and press, had for two decades thereafter claimed to have been stabbed in the back. In the United States, many believed that Hitler had been successful at maneuvering his country into war because the German people and soldiers had been hoodwinked into believing they had not really been defeated in 1918. Both the form and the language of the surrender consequently seemed to be crucial in preventing a third world war.
Therefore, in agreeing at Moscow in November 1943 to make the writing of a surrender instrument the first task for the European Advisory Commission, the Allied foreign ministers had not selected an innocuous assignment for a body they viewed with mixed emotions. The Americans in particular, as little as their enthusiasm was for the London-situated EAC, attached great significance to the manner in which the surrender was accomplished, probably more than either the British or the Russians. The British saw the task as a major milestone in modern diplomacy, though neither an absolute end nor a beginning. The Russians wanted to document the fact of victory; the legal aspects concerned them less. The Americans tended to see the surrender as an end in itself, an end not only to German stab-in-the-back theories but also to the need for U.S. intervention in European wars.
When Ambassador Winant, chairing the first formal EAC session on 14 January 1944, suggested that the commission make the surrender instrument the first item on its agenda, the British representative, Sir William Strang, immediately submitted a seventy-paragraph Draft German Armistice. The document, filling thirteen legal-size pages, was formally drawn up and in effect ready for signing. The Soviet delegate, Ambassador Gousev, had nothing to submit. Neither had Winant. His instructions were awaiting JCS approval in Washington, and his military adviser-to-be, General Wickersham, was also still in Washington.
The State, War, and Navy Departments
had set up the Working Security Committee (WSC) in December, composed of members of each of the departments and charged with preparing agreed instructions and information for Winant; the WSC had not attempted to do as the British had, however, and write a specimen document. It had, instead, listed twenty-seven provisions deemed essential in a surrender document for Germany.1
More important than the WSC list were the concepts developed at higher levels-in the State Department and in the JCS that the surrender document ought to be brief, attesting mainly to the fact of unconditional military surrender, and that specific provisions to be imposed on Germany should be relegated to orders, proclamations, and ordinances. These latter documents would be issued under the authority acquired through the unconditional surrender and would in no way constitute a contract with the Germans, thus avoiding from the outset any argument over terms; there would simply be none. By January, the JCS had concluded that all it wanted the Germans to sign was an admission of complete defeat. Such a document, the Joint Chiefs believed, would leave no room for quibbling and would not imply any commitments to the Germans.2
Winant circulated the WSC/JCS proposals in the EAC at its second meeting on 25 January. The Russians still had received no instructions of their own, and the British and American concepts were too far apart to be readily usable as the basis for negotiation. In fact, as matters stood, both concepts were being presented not for discussion but for adoption more or less in toto. Wickersham, who had brought the WSC/JCS papers to London, regarded them as orders to be observed to the letter, which was probably exactly how the War Department wanted him to interpret his mission.3
The British draft proposal, on the other hand, had been found completely unacceptable in Washington, beginning with the word "armistice" in the title. The word could be taken to imply a temporary cessation of hostilities, not a surrender; furthermore, one of the German complaints about the 1918 armistice had been that they had been tricked into signing what amounted to an unconditional surrender under the guise of an armistice. The length of the document also seemed to reduce its potential force as an unconditional surrender instrument, since by enumerating specific requirements it left room for the insinuation that the victors' powers were only those specifically claimed in the document. 4 In Washington, too, the British delegation's full-fledged surrender document, obviously designed to be a finished product and not a starting point for negotiations, had rekindled the long-standing irritation at British attempts to seize the leadership in postwar questions. The WSC's instructions to Winant had at least left the writing to the European Advisory Commission.
Probably the fundamental issue both for
Washington and London was the meaning of unconditional surrender. The British had written what they said was an unconditional surrender, but they called it an armistice, and to Washington it looked suspiciously conditional. This suspicion was strengthened when a British high-level intelligence estimate described fear of the consequences of unconditional surrender as the second of two forces preventing a complete breakdown in German morale. The other was fear of the Gestapo.5 As a matter of fact, British and American intelligence opinions were in considerable agreement on the effect of the unconditional surrender policy, and the JCS would before long appeal to the President-unsuccessfully-to modify it, by doing at least what the British were attempting in their draft surrender, namely, stating their meaning specifically.6 No one in the War Department, however, seems to have considered it either proper or expedient to try to spell out the meaning of unconditional surrender in the EAC document, probably because nobody was willing to give up the legal fact of unconditional surrender-as the British were proposing to do-for the sake of making the idea more palatable to the Germans. The War Department did not want the policy abandoned, only clarified enough to lay to rest what seemed to Americans the baseless, propaganda-inspired fears of the Germans.
The review of the lengthy British terms had also evoked a reassessment of the WSC proposal which would have produced a substantial document if its twenty-seven points were all included. Consequently, the War Department undertook to write its own draft, which would embody as far as possible the concentrated essence of unconditional surrender and offer a clear alternative to the British version. Hilldring had the draft as written in the Civil Affairs Division in hand the day before Winant presented the first US proposal in the EAC. Compressed to thirteen paragraphs and typed double-space, it filled only two and one-half sheets of legal-size paper.7
Approved by the JCS, the CAD draft went to the EAC in the first week of February along with arguments for its adoption and, inferentially, against adoption of the British version. The CAD draft required the German signatories to make three acknowledgments : that their military forces were totally defeated and incapable of further resistance; that their resources and people were exhausted to the point where further resistance was futile; and that the country was ready to submit without question to any military, political, economic, or territorial terms which the victors might impose.8 Contrary to the British draft, which had not specified who would do the signing, the US draft required the signature of the "highest German Military Authority" and relegated the German civilian signatory to second place. The original instructions to Winant had already insisted on making the German High Command acknowledge the defeat whether or not a civilian government existed that was capable of doing so.9
A week later the US stand received some moderately disquieting reinforcement from the Russians. Gousev presented a twenty-paragraph Soviet draft which almost equaled the US version in brevity.
The cause for disquiet could be deduced from the title, "Terms of Surrender for Germany." The US version was entitled "Instrument and Acknowledgment of Unconditional Surrender of Germany." The Russians used the term "unconditional surrender" twice in their preamble but in the text concentrated overwhelmingly on military matters, suggesting other consequences only in an article dealing with occupation zones and in a brief reference to additional "political, economic, and military" requirements.10 In the EAC, the Russians did not conceal that they wanted to make the act of surrender as painless as possible for the Germans and leave the most unpleasant aspects to be revealed later.
In mid-February, the EAC had three complete drafts before it, had made no progress toward adopting any one or writing anything of its own, and had found moving on to any other subject impossible because the Russians insisted on settling each item completely before going to the next. The Americans and British, as had happened before, were locked in a conflict as much concerned with whose view was accepted as with what was accepted. Winant complained that he really could not see "a great practical difference" between the three documents, but in Washington the advantages of the short US draft were regarded as great enough to require a letter from Roosevelt to Churchill supporting it. 11 To keep Wickersham from wavering, Hilldring forwarded part of the President's letter to him.12 At the same time, having adopted the practice of meeting formally, the EAC could not even tentatively search out areas of agreement. Each delegation talked for the record and defended its own draft in every detail.
At the end of the first week in March, the deadlock loosened somewhat when, on Winant's suggestion, he, Strang, and Gousev met informally in Gousev's private office. Speaking unofficially, Strang said he thought his government might agree to a short document, since it was what both the Americans and the Russians wanted, provided all points covered in the British draft were included in the supplementary proclamations and orders. Winant thought the US government would accept this provision. Gousev agreed to short terms and seemed to find the US draft acceptable except for paragraph VII which required the German authorities and people to cooperate in apprehending war criminals and making them available for trial. The Soviet government, he said, did not want a reference to war criminals in the document because the men who came to sign might themselves fall into this category and might, therefore, refuse to do business at all. He also indicated that his government would not want the proposed proclamations and orders shown to the Germans before they had signed the surrender. What his government wanted, he said, was to get an unconditional military surrender as quickly as possible and thereafter get the Germans disarmed and demobilized. The rest, he implied, would follow naturally, and Winant rather chillingly became aware that when the Russians said "unconditional surrender" they meant it. Neither the Americans nor the British had ever really contemplated a fully unconditional surrender. Under the US proposal, the proclamations and orders would have restricted the powers of the victors about as much as if the same provisions had been included in the surrender instrument as the British
desired. Although not a contract with the Germans, these proclamations and orders would have constituted a contract among the Allies. The Soviet Union, Winant now began to suspect-as the British possibly had earlier when they wrote their long terms-might not be interested in either form of such a contract. The questions were whether the Russians would be willing to go on to the proclamations and orders after the surrender instrument was written and whether they would observe them after the surrender was signed. Gousev said that they would, provided the surrender instrument was completed first.13
Winant, Strang, and Gousev had after two futile months found a means by which they could negotiate, and after two scheduled meetings in March they never met formally again except to sign documents ready for submission to their governments. Getting the authority to negotiate took longer, certainly for Winant and probably for the other two as well. In the second week of March, Adm. Harold R. Stark, Commander, United States Naval Forces in Europe, and Winant's chief naval adviser, told Adm. Ernest J. King that progress in the EAC was being held up because Winant felt bound by the US draft surrender instrument. In response, the JCS relaxed its stand slightly, saying it wanted "every effort" made to get the US document adopted but did not "preclude negotiation with a view to formulating recommendations to the three governments." 14 This concession was not enough, and two weeks later Wickersham went to Washington to explain why Winant needed more latitude. The JCS then revised its views, which were sent to Winant on 10 April. The JCS still required a short document limited to the three main features of the US draft but was willing to accept different wording and "adjustments of points of view" made in the EAC.15
Since Washington had already agreed to include the points to be omitted from the British draft in proclamations, orders, and other policies to be written later in the E AC, full agreement with the British became relatively easy as long as the surrender instrument was not exclusively an American product. Agreement with the Russians was a different matter. The Soviet draft terms specified in three separate places that the German armed forces, including the S.A. (a paramilitary organization of the Nazi party) and the Gestapo, at the front, inside Germany, and outside German territory, were to be declared prisoners of war upon the signing of the surrender and "be stationed at such places and in such manner as may be determined by each Allied Commander-In-Chief on his own front." 16 Although the Americans and the British in the spring of 1944 were not disposed to be too moved by the future plight of German troops they did not propose to use Germans for forced labor, which was the only cogent reason for declaring them prisoners of war after the war was over. Furthermore, since they were committed to observe the Hague and Geneva Conventions, they recoiled from the thought of having to give millions of defeated Germans rations and billets approxi-
mately equivalent to what they provided for their own troops. Gousev, to allay the Western delegates' qualms, said the Soviet Union would abide by the conventions even though it did not regard itself as bound by them, which carried little conviction since neither the Soviet Union nor Germany had observed the conventions thus far in the war between them. Later Gousev offered to add an article providing for treatment of the prisoners of war "in a manner to be prescribed by the representatives of the Allies." 17 Whether such an article would relieve the Western Allies of their obligations under the conventions was doubtful at best. What was certain was that it would make the surrender instrument a most dangerous document if the Germans learned its contents before they surrendered and while they still held American and British prisoners.
In May the EAC subsided again into semiparalysis. The Soviet delegates refused to talk about anything but the surrender terms and refused to compromise on the prisoner of war issue. The Americans and British were ready early in the month to let the Soviet Union have the prisoners of war as long as they were not required to do the same with the German troops who fell to them and as long as token tripartite control such as the Russians had already suggested was established regarding their treatment. But as the weeks passed, it began to appear that the prisoners of war were not the real hitch. As long as the Russians and the Germans were alone on the mainland of Europe, the Russians did not seem to want to commit themselves at all to a multilateral unconditional surrender.18
In June the atmosphere changed. At the end of the first week Eisenhower's forces were in Normandy and thus closer to the heart of Germany than the Soviet armies. The need for agreement was acquiring some urgency in Moscow as well as in Washington and London. On 10 June Acting Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., asked Winant to hurry up the surrender terms because the War Department was, "with the invasion now in progress," pressing for headway on plans for the occupation. Within the hour that Stettinius' cable left the department, one from London arrived in which Winant reported that, on the day before, the three delegates had reached agreement on the surrender terms, except for details, and Gousev had agreed to begin taking up other questions.19 Gousev had accepted a statement that all members of the German armed forces were subject to being declared prisoners of war "at the discretion of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Allied State concerned . . . pending further decisions and . . . subject to such conditions and directions as may be prescribed by the Allied Representatives." 20 If the Soviet Union wanted manpower, the new terms gave them a sizable bonus by also defining as members of the German armed forces auxiliaries equipped with weapons, which could eventually have included every halfway able-bodied German male between sixteen and sixty.
The text of the draft entitled "Unconditional Surrender of Germany," as signed in the EAC on 25 July 1944 and submitted to the governments for approval, consisted of fourteen articles.21 It was divided into
three parts. In the first part Germany acknowledged complete military defeat on land, at sea, and in the air. The second part was a series of military articles providing for the end to hostilities and giving the Allies the power to demobilize and disarm the German forces. In the third part the Germans would be required to bind themselves to carry out unconditionally other political, administrative, economic, financial, and military requirements which the Allies would subsequently present.22 The proclamations, orders, ordinances, and instructions yet to be written, which the Germans would not see before the signing, would convey the full meaning of this last part to the Germans.
The CAD regarded the surrender instrument as a successful compromise from the US point of view. Its chief weaknesses seemed to be that it provided for an unconditional surrender without explicitly defining the term and that it anticipated a lapse of some hours between the signing and the cease-fire. But it met the US requirements for brevity and broad language. The US compromises had been ones of form, while those of the British and the Russians had been substantive. The British had sacrificed their long terms. The Russians had relaxed their stand on the prisoner of war question and had given up the attempt to sugarcoat the document to induce the Germans to sign.23
Among the various reasons for the German military resurgence after World War I, one frequently cited was the failure of the Rhineland occupation-because it affected only a small part of Germany--to bring home to the Germans the meaning of defeat. Maintained by the French and British until 1930, the Rhineland occupation had given the Germans an object on which to focus their resentments without giving the Allies any worthwhile leverage, either political or military. Consequently, the World War II planners always considered a total occupation to be necessary to guarantee success in preventing a future German outburst. Neither was there any serious doubt that the country should be divided into zones, one for each of the major victorious powers. The logistics of such an arrangement were infinitely simpler than would be the case in a combined occupation, and the risk of inter-Allied friction would be reduced. In any event, neither the United Kingdom nor the United States nor the Soviet Union would have been willing to relinquish control over its own forces and its independent power of decision to the extent necessary to set up an integrated occupation.
A zonal division in embryo appeared in the first COSSAC report on RANKIN presented to the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the QUADRANT Conference (Quebec) in August 1943. The COSSAC staff, then mostly British, assigned northwest Germany including the Ruhr to the British and the Rhine valley from the Swiss border to Duesseldorf to the Americans. COSSAC did not attempt to determine an eastern boundary for either zone since it did not know how much of Germany the Soviet forces might occupy and would not itself have enough troops before 1944 to deploy them deeper into Germany. The assignment of the zones, the COSSAC planners pointed out, was adjusted to the plan for OVERLORD, which in positioning the British forces on the left
flank would take them through the Low Countries into northwestern Germany, while the Americans, landing on the right, would sweep eastward and strike into Germany along the upper Rhine valley.24 While the logic of the zonal arrangement appeared inescapable to the British at QUADRANT-as it did to them throughout the long months of argument that followed-the Americans were unwilling to accept it out of hand, and the conference adjourned without making a decision on RANKIN.25
Some weeks later, in October, Morgan took to Washington another statement on RANKIN. In the interim, he had received a recently completed, high-level British report concerning occupation zones. Written in the Armistice and Post-War Committee, which had Deputy Prime Minister Clement Attlee as its chairman and included the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary for War in its membership, the report divided all of Germany into three zones. In the northwestern zone, which would be British, the report included, along with the Ruhr, the north German ports, Hamburg and Bremen, and the Kiel Canal. To the United States it assigned, as COSSAC had earlier, the southwestern zone, adding a sphere of influence in France to the area of US responsibility since the American lines of supply and communications would presumably run across France.26 Two JCS agencies, the Joint Strategic Survey Committee and the Joint Staff Planners, reviewed the new RANKIN proposals. The Joint Strategic Survey Committee called attention to the long-standing decision to withdraw US forces from Europe quickly after the end of hostilities for deployment to the Pacific and asked for policy guidance on the US role in the occupation in general and the acceptability of the southwestern zone in particular. The Joint Staff Planners advised taking the questions to the President, since the revised RANKIN appeared to embody British War Cabinet and Foreign Office postwar policy.27
The President took up the request for guidance emanating from the joint studies on 19 November in a meeting with the Joint Chiefs aboard the battleship Iowa en route to Cairo. Contemplating a need to maintain an occupation force of about a million US troops in Germany "for one year, maybe two" after the surrender, he stated his requirements for the zones. The territorial dispositions, he said, in order to facilitate breaking up Germany into three, possibly five, separate states after the war, ought to conform to the geographic subdivisions of the country. He saw these entities as being a Roman Catholic south, a Protestant northwest extending to Berlin, and a northeastern region which he described as having "Prussianism" as its religion. To illustrate, Roosevelt drew the boundaries in pencil on a National Geographic Society map. Stalin, he thought, might okay such a division, and he believed the Joint Chiefs "would want to" make RANKIN conform to it. He did not like the idea of the United States taking the southwestern zone and therewith having to take responsibility for France. The United States, he believed, should take the northwestern zone in Germany where it would have direct access
© National Geographic Society
ROOSEVELT'S CONCEPT OF POSTAL OCCUPATION ZONES for Germany drawn in pencil by the President himself on a National Geographic Society map while en route to the Cairo conference
through Bremen and Hamburg. The United States, he said, should also have Berlin, and the Soviet Union could take the territory to the east.28
On 4 December, at Cairo, Marshall presented the President's wishes concerning the northwestern and southwestern zones to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, who then decided-unwillingly on the part of the British and somewhat reluctantly on the part of Marshall, who had wanted a firm decision-to direct COSSAC to examine the implications for OVERLORD planning of a switch in the zones.29 But the COSSAC report, delivered later in the month, contributed nothing new. General Morgan maintained that in order to put the Americans in the northwest zone, he would either have to revise the OVERLORD deployment or be confronted after the surrender with an administrative tangle while the US and British forces crossed each other's lines of communications on their way to the final zones. The JCS had conceded a certain inelegance in the necessity for trading zones but had refused to see it as the overwhelming problem it appeared to be to the British. In the meeting on the Iowa, the President had suggested, if need be, setting up a separate occupation army which could be brought in through the northwestern German ports while the OVERLORD troops were exiting from the southwest through France.30 Most likely, the British did not really expect Morgan's report to accomplish anything, since the zoning question, having become one of national policy, would eventually have to be decided between the President and the Prime Minister.
In January, at the first EAC meeting, Sir William Strang submitted the findings of the Armistice and Postwar Committee as the British proposal on zones. Well known to the JCS and the President through RANKIN and the Cairo Conference, the British thinking was still totally new to Winant and to the State Department. Furthermore, neither was yet aware of the objections raised in the military talks or of the zonal division the President had drawn on board the Iowa.31
Meanwhile, the President's concept of the zones had opened up another area of potential U.S.-British contention. To facilitate administration and possibly dismemberment, the British proposal laid the zonal boundaries along existing German internal political boundaries. In his regional concept, the President had paid little attention to established political subdivisions. His and the British proposal did agree approximately on the boundary between the northwestern and southwestern zones, which the President had drawn along the line of the Main River and the northern boundary of Bavaria, the traditional dividing line between north and south Germany. In fixing the boundary between the western zones and the eastern zone, however, the British followed the eastern borders of Hanover, Braunschweig, and Hesse-Nassau, which lay as much as 150 miles west of the line the President had drawn and left Berlin deep in the eastern zone. Berlin, in the British version, was to become a combined zone. Omitting East Prussia, as the British proposal did, the northwestern and eastern
zones were, according to the British reckoning, almost exactly equal in population, although the eastern zone was about a fifth larger than the northwestern zone in area. The southwestern zone was substantially smaller than the other two, a full third smaller than the eastern zone in population and even smaller than that in area.32 The British planners suggested that the United States might, if it wished, also take responsibility for Austria, which would give it an area slightly larger than the Soviet zone and a population about equal to either of the other zones.33
At the end of the first week in February, the President took on the task of securing the northwestern zone for the United States. On the 4th the British Chiefs of Staff' had replied to the change in RAN KIN proposed by the JCS at Cairo. To Morgan's arguments for keeping RANKIN as it was, the British Chiefs added a claim to "a peculiar" British interest in overseeing the German naval disarmament, thus declining "to agree to the US counterproposals until such time as the US Chiefs produce reasons of overriding importance in favor of their acceptance." 34 Three days later, Roosevelt dispatched a cable to Churchill. The qualms of the US military about letting the northwest zone go to the British mostly involved a lurking suspicion that the British were maneuvering for long-term economic advantage in the Ruhr and through possession of the North Sea ports. The President's attitude, however, was determined entirely by an unwillingness to be tied down in Europe after the war, particularly in France which he apparently expected to fall into chaos as soon as the German grip was loosened. For the President, Germany, northwest or southwest, was unimportant except for the implied association of France with the southwestern zone. To Churchill he wrote : "I am absolutely unwilling to police France and possibly Italy and the Balkans as well. After all France is your baby and it will take a lot of nursing to bring it to the point of walking alone." He suggested that since the Combined Chiefs of Staff had reached an impasse, the two of them should make the decision to change RANKIN.35
The answer from London recapitulated the British positions already taken and added an expression of faith in the ability of France to govern itself and possibly even help take over the U.S. zone in Germany if American troops had to be withdrawn. On the last day of the month, the President made a second appeal: "Do please don't ask me to keep any American forces in France. I just cannot do it ! I would have
to bring them all back home." 36 With this plea, the exchange stopped for three months; the impasse had gone as high as it could.
While the President and Prime Minister were engaged with each other, the Russians, perhaps unintentionally, brought the question closer to solution than anyone could have expected. In February, Winant had no instructions from Washington on the zones other than that the United States insisted on occupying northwestern Germany and the JCS considered a zonal system to be "the most practical solution." 37 Gousev was insisting on taking up one subject at a time in the EAC and the discussion of the zones seemed to be a long way off in any case, until Gousev presented the Soviet draft surrender terms for Germany on 16 February. The draft included a detailed description of the zonal boundaries, which proved to match almost exactly the boundaries proposed by the British.38
In Washington the apparent British-Soviet agreement was a surprise, and an unwelcome one, in that it threatened to move the zonal dispute between the British and the Americans out of the RANKIN-OVERLORD context and into the area of tripartite decision, which, if nothing else, would infringe on the War Department and JCS determination to exclude the EAC from military concerns. Probably, the military staffs in Washington preferred to leave the negotiations on boundaries in the President's hands along with those related to the northwestern and southwestern zones. In any case, the staffs regarded the President's opinion on boundaries given aboard the Iowa as binding on them.39 The problem was a particularly ticklish one for the State Department, which had to give instructions to Winant but had so far been excluded from the discussions between the JCS and the President and in the Combined Chiefs of Staff. On 19 February, Acting Secretary of State Stettinius sent a map to the White House showing the zonal boundaries as the British proposed them, asked as nearly point-blank as possible what decisions had already been made, and suggested that the President might want to outline his current views for transmission to Winant since a Soviet proposal similar to the British one had been made. The President replied that he did not agree with the British demarcation, but he mentioned no alternative and confined his comments to the reasons why the United States should have a northwestern zone.
A week later, Hilldring passed on to the State Department the US paper on the zones presented to the British at Cairo and a redraft of the map the President had drawn aboard the Iowa, which had not been shown to the British. (Maps 1 and 2) The map, redrawn to emphasize an American northwestern zone, left Berlin entirely in the Soviet zone (the President's line had passed through the center of the city) but extended the boundary south of Berlin farther eastward than had the President to take in the Leipzig-Cottbus railroad and three connecting lines from Berlin.40 Philip E. Mosely, then Chief of the Division of Territorial Studies in the State Department and a member of the Working
MAP 1 - ZONES OF OCCUPATION BRITISH AND SOVIET PROPOSALS
Security Committee, has described the consternation raised by the map in the State Department; in fact, almost two weeks elapsed before Stettinius forwarded it gingerly to Winant "for [his] recommendations." 41 Winant, who assumed, as apparently everyone in the State Department did, that the map had originated in the JCS, thought his recommendations important enough to warrant sending his Counselor of Delegation, George F. Kennan, to Washington to deliver them directly to the President. At the White House on 3 April, Kennan stressed Winant's concern over the suspicion that would be aroused in the Rus-
MAP 2 - ZONES OF OCCUPATION UNITED STATES PROPOSAL
sians' minds by a US proposal to push the border of the Soviet zone from 50 to 150 miles farther east than the Russians and the British had agreed upon and additionally deprive the Russians of the important railroad junction at Cottbus.
Although it took another month to get a decision for Winant, the President seems actually not to have attached great significance to the zone boundaries. The instructions sent to Winant on 1 May were worded so as to lay emphasis on the US claim to the northwestern zone. Winant was allowed to concur in the boundaries of the Soviet zone "as proposed by the Soviet Delegation" and in the boundary between the northwestern and southwestern zones "as proposed by the British Delega-
tion." With respect to the two western zones, however, he was still to insist on American possession of the northwestern zone.42 In Washington later in May, Winant himself discussed the zones problem with the President and persuaded him not to accept a boundary between the two western zones while possession of each zone was still undecided.43
The border between the eastern and western zones, then, was settled in effect before the question came under formal consideration in the European Advisory Commission, which was tied up with the surrender terms through May and after. At the time, the bargain was a good one. In later years periodic rediscoveries of the Roosevelt map would cause talk of American "giveaways"-all based on the assumption that the United States could have disposed of Germany completely at its own discretion. In the spring of 1944, however, when the zones were drawn, the Western Allies still had the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Alps between them and the nearest approaches to Germany. If the German collapse had come at any time in the foreseeable future, it would have come on the front in the Soviet Union; furthermore, in this event, SHAEF did not expect to be able to do more than secure lodgments on the coast and in the Rhine valley. Laying the boundaries of the western zones farther east was slightly utopian. The Russians, no doubt, knew this too, and they were at first in no hurry to put the agreement in writing.
While the Russians, still insisting on taking one thing at a time, kept the EAC working on the surrender terms, the tug-of-war between the Americans and the British over which zone each would occupy continued behind the scenes as D-day drew closer. Needing a decision that would not at the last minute throw the whole OVERLORD deployment into confusion Eisenhower in May reverted to a proposal he had first advanced three months earlier, namely, that the United States should refuse to accept any specific zone and agree only to accept military responsibility in Europe as long as the principle of unified command was retained. In May, Stettinius, on Eisenhower's urging, took the idea to the President, who said he was fearful that a combined command would still somehow involve the United States in responsibility for France but professed himself to be open-minded. Encouraged Eisenhower, making clear now that he was thinking only in terms of a combined administration in the two western zones, sent his proposal to the War Department once more.44 Eisenhower believed later that his proposal was rejected because it would have seemed to establish a British and American partnership against the Soviet Union.45 Actually two other reasons were more pertinent: the JCS and the CAD had from the beginning considered separate zones essential, and the President was by no means as open-minded as he had said. The President was not at
the moment in a mood to welcome suggestions, either civilian or military, that the United States occupy anything but the northwestern zone. 46 On 31 May and 2 June, Roosevelt and Churchill exchanged cables reiterating the stands they had taken in February, each implying that he assumed the other had accepted his position.47
In June, having completed the surrender terms, the EAC was ready to move on to the protocol on zones. By the end of the month the commission had a tentative draft ready, which accepted both the three zones defined in the earlier British and Soviet proposals and Greater Berlin as established by a German law of 1920. On 1 July the Soviet delegation created a mild stir on the American side by submitting an amendment also dividing Berlin into three zones (sectors) , a northeastern Soviet sector, a northwestern sector, and a southern sector. The decision on who would occupy each of the last two was left to the Americans and the British. Until then all the proposals had presupposed an international administration in Berlin, possibly even including other members of the United Nations, and the United States instructions to its delegation had specifically opposed dividing Berlin into national sectors. A hurried inquiry to the State Department brought Winant the answer that the United States (presumably the JCS) did not like the idea of laying out sector boundaries in Berlin before the extent of destruction and availability of facilities were known, but would agree in principle to sectors within Berlin provided the running of the city remained a combined function.48
When the commission met on 25 July and signed its report to the governments on the surrender terms, the zones protocol seemed likely to follow quickly; but three days later Gousev suddenly announced that his government did not want to pass on a paper in which blanks appeared. The British and Americans would have to make up their minds which zones they were going to occupy before the protocol left the commission, and, he implied, the Soviet delegation would not move on to other matters until a decision was made.49
For the moment the EAC seemed to have lapsed into paralysis again, but the war was not going to let this happen. The decision on the western zones would be made, and the Russians would be brought around before it was made. While the State Department protested in Moscow against the assumption that the Soviet government could set time limits on negotiations between the US and British governments, Eisenhower's armies rolled across France. Whether Stalin was disposed to pay attention to the protests is not known. That he watched the progress in France, however, is certain. Who might have made the best bargain on the zones became uncertain, and as it did, Soviet interest in the work of the EAC perked up remarkably. On 31 August, Gousev accepted the zones protocol with blanks in the statements on the northwestern and southwestern zones and the northwestern and southern sectors in Berlin, and on 12 September, Winant and Strang signed it for submission to the three governments with the blanks still appearing.
Meanwhile, the standoff with the British over the zones had become an exercise in futility. The War Department had never taken the affair quite as seriously as the
President had, and after the invasion it wanted a definite decision either way more than it wanted a particular zone. At the end of July, Stimson told Hopkins that they had to get the President to decide; his being "hell-lent" on the northwestern zone was a mistake.50 In a cable of 17 August, Eisenhower told the Combined Chiefs of Staff that at the speed his troops were moving they would be in Germany sooner than he had expected and in their original deployment-British 21 Army Group on the left and US 12th and 6th Army Groups on the right. The British, of course, were delighted. The JCS were not so pleased at the possibility of having the US forces occupying southern Germany while the President was still arguing for the northwestern zone, but they conceded that for the moment Eisenhower had no better choice.51 A week later Stimson urged the President to take the southwestern zone and gave him five good reasons for doing so.52 Probably the President was by then himself aware that his main reason for rejecting the southwestern zone, the supposed postliberation troubles in France, had pretty well evaporated. The French had proved remarkably willing and able to take over their own affairs, and with Roosevelt's approval Eisenhower was already transferring de facto administrative control to General Charles de Gaulle's Committee of National Liberation.53
At the opening of the OCTAGON Conference in Quebec on 12 September the Combined Chiefs of Staff referred the allocation of zones to the President and Prime Minister with a suggestion from Admiral King that the United States would be more inclined to accept the southwestern zone if it could use the north German ports. As far as the conferees knew, or were willing to say either then or afterward, the President was still adamant on having the northwestern zone. No more was heard until the morning meeting of the JCS on the 16th when Admiral William D. Leahy announced that the United States would take the southwestern zone and get access across the northwestern (British) zone to the ports.54 Leahy said some years later that Roosevelt had told him he took the zone after Churchill in a "tedious argument" convinced him that the northwestern zone would be more valuable in the future to the British than to the United States.55 Secretary Morgenthau said immediately after the conference that the President had told him he held up agreement on the zones until the last minute to make certain that the British, when they were in charge in the Ruhr and Saar, would have to implement the Morgenthau Plan there.56
On the 16th, too, the Combined Chiefs of Staff approved assignment of the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven to the United States together with transit rights across the British zone to Bremen. Notice of the decisions went to Winant on the 20th with instructions to present them in the EAC, where amendments were then written to fill in the blanks in the protocol. A paragraph added to the description of the southwestern zone reserved for the commander of the US forces the rights to "enjoy such transit facilities" and "exercise such control
of the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven . . . as may be agreed hereafter by the United Kingdom and United States military authorities to be necessary to meet his requirements." 57
The amendment to the zones protocol, while terminating one year-long Anglo-American dispute, unveiled another that threatened for a time to be equally durable. In accepting the OCTAGON arrangement Smith and Hilldring had both interpreted the word "control," used in reference to Bremen and Bremerhaven, as meaning full control and administration, including military government. The JCS had also added a requirement for control of certain contiguous areas (several adjacent Land and Stadtkreise) , which together with the cities were to become part of the US zone. The reason given was the probable need for German labor and facilities in rehabilitating the ports.58 The British interpreted control to mean control of the port facilities, not complete administrative control. Removed from the purview of the EAC by the wording of the amendment, the controversy simmered for several months in the Combined Chiefs of Staff, seeming, like the zones issue, destined to go eventually to the President and Prime Minister. The resolution, in fact, did come just before the Yalta Conference. In early January 1945, McCloy, probably trying to avoid involving the President, offered a compromise : if the British gave the Americans the degree of control they wanted, the Americans would agree to make their policies conform to those of the surrounding area in the British zone. Although the United States would get the best of the compromise, the British Chiefs of Staff, possibly not expecting the Prime Minister to do as well against the President as he had on the original zones question, accepted.59 An agreement signed at Yalta in early February created the Bremen enclave, which was to stand chiefly as a short-lived monument to the wartime Anglo-American contentiousness.60
In retrospect the effort and the energy spent on securing transit across the British zone might seem to have been more profitably expended seeking access to Berlin, and the relationships being what they were, if Berlin had been in the British zone the discussion would very likely have been more intensive. This is not to say, however, that the intramural contention with the British was allowed to obscure the need for access to Berlin. SHAEF took up the question as early as June 1944 and concluded, as the War Department would later, that free access across the Soviet zone was preferable to corridors or selected routes. SHAEF also learned that matters such as this, which the British and Americans discussed freely and as often as not heatedly, could scarcely be taken up with the Russians at all.61 Once
the zones protocol was signed, the Western Allies' access to Berlin was implied; and during the discussion of the November amendments the Soviet delegate, Gousev, suggested-as was later done-that the statement on transit across the British zone be kept general, leaving the details to be worked out later. Similar arrangements, he said, would be made giving the US and British forces access across the Soviet zone to Berlin.62 Thereafter the War Department and the JCS assumed that the matter of transit across the Soviet zone would be handled by the European Advisory Commission or the Control Council, which was then still expected to begin work with the Soviet members present before the surrender. After some discussion in the US delegation at Yalta, the JCS proposed an interim military agreement establishing freedom of transit across all three zones. The British accepted in early March. The Soviet General Staff did not answer.63 Probably no one was surprised. The agreements concerning transit to Bremen were made between the US and British military authorities, but in the Soviet Union such affairs were almost never left to the discretion of the military. In any event, at the time the United States was far less interested in access to any place in Germany than in the exit from Europe, which the Bremen enclave provided.
The Control Machinery
The Moscow Conference had charged the EAC, as its next task after drafting the surrender terms, with making recommendations to the three governments on the machinery required to ensure fulfillment of the terms.64 The protocol on zones intervened later as a preliminary, albeit a vexing one. In the British view, the EAC itself constituted-or ought to have constituted-an important part of the control machinery. This view was shared by Winant and some of his advisers but not by the other two governments and emphatically not by the War Department. The British Foreign Office had circulated to Washington and Moscow in July 1943 and again to the delegates in Moscow in November a proposal for a United Nations commission to oversee all occupations established in Europe as a result of the war and the armistices.65
In January 1944, along with the British papers on surrender terms and zones, Sir William Strang introduced a proposal concerning the EAC which included a projected European commission and under it a high commission for Germany. This high commission, as the British saw it, would provide a tripartite central authority having under it the German administration, including the parts of the central government that survived, and the occupation forces in the zones. While the fighting continued, the military commanders would be supreme and the essentially civilian high
commission would be advisory. When hostilities ended, the positions would be reversed. The commanders would be subordinated to the high commission and shorn of their independent authority except for the right to appeal to their governments and to declare martial law in their separate zones if necessary.66
In Washington, meanwhile, the CAD and the JCS had settled on several principles which they took to be fundamental to any planned control organization for Germany. One of these principles emanated from the President. In October 1943, before the Moscow Conference, and again before the Cairo Conference he had expressed a strong desire to see Germany partitioned into three or more separate states. 67 For this reason, and because it harmonized with their own thinking, decentralization became a watchword with US military planners working on the control organization. Secondly, in December, War Department planning had assumed that outright military government would probably have to be maintained in Germany for a time after the surrender; therefore, the EAC ought not to devise a permanent control system, particularly not since its mandate was limited to the immediate postsurrender period.68 Lastly, the War Department was convinced, as it always had been, of the need to preserve the theater commander's supremacy during the period of military necessity-a period which the War Department thought could possibly continue after organized resistance ended.
The US proposal on control machinery transmitted to Winant in late February reflected the War Department principles. The zones would be administered separately except for Berlin, which would be under a combined authority. The combined authority, to be called the Control Council, would be composed of the ranking commanding generals of the three occupying powers. In addition to its direct responsibility for Berlin it would supervise "those governmental and economic activities which the occupation authorities may determine should continue to function on a national basis in the interest of stable and orderly life in Germany." The Control Council would co-ordinate previously approved policies and could recommend policy changes to the three governments, but it would have no command functions outside Berlin. The zone commanders would receive their instructions through their national military channels, and policy would come from the three governments.69
The Soviet delegation had nothing to offer of its own and, in keeping with Moscow's insistence on taking things one at a time, did not comment on the Western proposals. The British and Americans were in another deadlock. The British concept of a European high commission appeared calculated to pry policy-making away from Washington and possibly saddle the United States with responsibilities outside Germany; the idea of a German high commission raised a threat of high-powered civilian interference. On the other hand, the emphasis in the US proposal on continuing military government after the surrender seemed to the British to imply also continuing the combined command and the Wash-
ington-dominated Combined Civil Affairs Committee (CCAC).
With the Russians providing plenty of time to make compromises, the British and Americans cautiously moved a little closer together. In May, the British delegation conceded a period after the surrender in which the military would remain supreme. In July, Winant's advisers suggested elevating the three Allied commanders to a "Supreme Authority"-a kind of military high commission-and having the Control Council under them administer Berlin and act as a central administration for Germany to the extent needed.70
By summer, the British and Americans had become at least as much concerned over getting the Russians to talk about the control machinery at all as over the flaws and pitfalls in each other's proposals. Gousev stayed silent until 25 August. The Germans surrendered Paris that day at the climax of, for them, two disastrous weeks, and they were obviously soon going to lose all of France. Although the zones question was not yet settled, Gousev offered a plan for control machinery "to cover the first period of the occupation of Germany immediately following her defeat." For their own reasons, the Russians, like the Americans, did not want to make a long-term decision. Also like the Americans, they wanted the initial control to be military. The supreme authority, they proposed, would be exercised by the three commanders, "each in his own zone of occupation." Together the commanders would form the Control Council which would settle problems common to the whole of Germany and control the central organs of the German government. The Control Council would meet at least once every ten days. Under the council, a permanent Co-ordinating Committee would conduct the day-to-day business. Also under the Control Council, a Kommandatura, consisting of the three sector commandants, would provide the city administration for Berlin.71
From the point of view of the US occupation in Germany, the Soviet paper on control machinery was possibly the single most important document submitted in the European Advisory Commission. It coincided with the Morgenthau controversy which had raised talk in Washington about appointing a civilian high commissioner for Germany. The War Department's claim to an exclusive military period was in jeopardy again, so seriously in October in fact that Secretary Stimson and Under Secretary Patterson worked out a War Department position they hoped they would lie able to maintain. Predicting chaos in Germany and a split in US public opinion on Germany, they argued that "thoroughly sound" military government was the only answer for the first phase of the occupation. They concluded that therefore, in the first phase, other government agencies should not be involved and a civilian high commissioner should not be appointed.72 Whether they could have defended their position, however, if the Russians had leaned toward the British-proposed civilian high commission is at best doubtful. The President still believed civilians could do the work better than the military.73
Relieved at having the Russians committed to one control system and in a hurry to get something on paper, the US and
British delegations accepted the Soviet proposal almost to the word in drafting the "Agreement on Control Machinery in Germany," which was signed and submitted to the governments on 14 November. The Russians appeared to have devised a brilliant compromise. The Americans got decentralization and an unequivocal position for the military commander; the British received a promise that the military period would be brief ("the period during which Germany will be carrying out the basic requirements of unconditional surrender") and an apparent commitment to write a second document dealing with long-term control.74 The only reservations the War Department experts had were that too much centralization was implied in the term "Control Council"-they having lately come to prefer, because it was less specific, "Supreme Authority" -and that not enough sternness was evident in the language of the agreement.75 One omission in the agreement, its failure to provide a name for the whole control machinery, later caused a small flurry between the British and Americans. The British objected to the term "Military Government for Germany" and the Americans opposed any use of the word "commission." Both finally accepted "Allied Control Authority for Germany." 76
The Moscow Conference, when it created the EAC, provided for consultation with other members of the United Nations but not for admission of new members. Security-the overwhelming preponderance of the US, British, and Soviet contributions in the war-and questions concerning the validity of some exile governments' claims to be their countries' representatives seemed to justify the three principal allies' taking upon themselves the decisions pertaining to ending the war. In November 1943, none of Germany's continental neighbors could make a compelling claim to a major voice in inter-Allied affairs in any case. France, the largest neighbor, was represented by the Committee of National Liberation, about which the United States had recurrent severe doubts and which the Soviet Union declined to take notice of officially. In August 1944, the situation changed. Northwestern France was liberated ; the Committee of National Liberation became the Provisional Government; and the country undertook to resume its place militarily in the Allied ranks. The Provisional Government at once asked for a direct voice in the EAC discussions on Germany. (Previously it had been invited, along with the exile governments, to submit its views in writing.) General Charles de Gaulle in early September expressed a desire to Eisenhower to participate in the military government of Germany.77 The British Foreign Office promoted the French request for direct consultation until the Soviet government took the lead in late October and proposed admitting France to the EAC; as a permanent member. Not wanting to be outdone by the Soviet bid for French goodwill, the United States and the British promptly agreed, and on 27 November the French ambassador at
London, Rene Massigli, became the fourth member of the European Advisory Commission. The commission had rushed through the zones protocol and control agreement before Massigli took his seat, hoping to avoid having to go through these matters at length again; but the tempo of the proceedings would certainly not be increased by admitting a fourth party, particularly not one under as much compulsion to reassert itself in European affairs as was France.
Between November 1944 and May 1945 the EAC made no new agreed recommendations on Germany to the governments. In the summer of 1944, draft proclamations, general orders, and directives to the occupation forces had been submitted in the commission, but none would be acted upon before the surrender. After France, in early January 1945, asked for a full partnership in the occupation, including possession of a zone, which was accorded at Yalta the next month, the documents on the surrender, zones, and control machinery had to be amended to the accompaniment of wearying negotiations. At the same time, as the war drew to a close, the Soviet willingness to engage in four-power planning progressively declined. The Soviet Control Council element, long awaited and in fact promised in the near future in the fall of 1944, never appeared; and as the months passed, the other members became doubtful that the Soviet government would even honor the agreements it had already accepted.
The likelihood of the US government's exerting influence to stimulate activity in the EAC, while never very strong, evaporated completely in the fall of 1944. On the surface the trouble was in the system of communication. All instructions to Winant had to be cleared and approved in detail by the State Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Civil Affairs Division, and the Working Security Committee. Few completed the entire process. Only five fully cleared policy papers were sent between January and October 1944. Everybody involved knew the machinery was not working and deplored it, Winant most of all. In October, summing up a lengthy recitation of complaints, he wrote:
"I would like to say that I do not think any conference or commission created by governments for a serious purpose has had less support from the Governments creating it than the European Advisory Commission. At least I do not know of any like example in recorded history." 78 In Washington, Maj. Gen. George V. Strong, the senior member of the Joint Postwar Committee, wrote in a more pragmatic vein, "If adequate steps are not taken to speed up dispatch of pending questions in relation to the EAC, I am very much afraid that when the debacle in Germany comes we will be caught with our pants down." 79
Undoubtedly, Winant's dissatisfaction stemmed in large part from the restrictive military view of the EAC's functions, which had not changed between January and October. However, even on matters where no doubts about EAC competence existed, action in Washington was painfully slow. At the time Winant wrote, for instance, he was still awaiting a response to a revision of the US proposal on control machinery that his advisers had worked out in July. He did not get an answer until the end of October.80
While the War Department was not inclined to expand the EAC's area of competence, it was willing to improve the machinery for action on approved matters before the commission. A meeting of State, War, and Navy Department officials in McCloy's office on 30 September traced much of the difficulty to the anomalous position of the Working Security Committee which, while it was generally supposed to coordinate State Department and War Department-JCS views, actually had no specific charter and a relatively low-ranking membership-on the military side a colonel from the Joint Postwar Committee, a lieutenant colonel from the CAD, and a Navy lieutenant, junior grade. As long as the Cabinet Committee, created at the end of August and including Secretary Morgenthau, was in existence, the War Department was reluctant anyway to deal with policy at a lower level, even through the JCS.81 In October and November, when the Cabinet Committee became inactive, the Secretaries of State, War, and the Navy held a series of meetings-calculated apparently to forestall further Treasury Department interventions in the planning for Germany-from which a new committee, the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) , evolved. The SWNCC, organized on the assistant secretary level, took as its province "all questions of policy on politico-military matters" ; its subcommittee on Europe took over the duties formerly performed by the Working Security Committee. 82 The SWNCC operated at a high enough level to be able to act for the departments and deal directly with the JCS.
Although the SWNCC eliminated, as much as was possible, the technical bottleneck in communications between Washington and the EAC delegation in London and provided an important source for policy decisions on occupation affairs, it did not solve for Winant the problem that bothered him most, namely, the narrowness of the range within which he could negotiate. He saw the EAC as the place where many questions pertaining to Germany ought to be decided. The War Department saw it as the place where only certain specified questions would be decided and in the fall of 1944 was inclined to believe that the surrender document (with the addition of the proclamation and general orders, then not completed) , the zones protocol, and the control machinery agreement just about constituted an ample output for the EAC.
The controversy over the Morgenthau Plan and the President's reaction to earlier planning had made all levels in the department very chary of commitments on policy for Germany. Moreover, the direction that the EAC seemed about to take appeared likely to infringe on the theater commander's freedom of decision. The EAC had thirty-eight British draft directives before it-ranging in subject matter from the general treatment of Germany in the postsurrender period to the control of leather and footwear that would, in War Department opinion, have bound the zone commanders to a rigid formula of administration. 83 JCS 1067, as stringent as it was in tone, at least left the zone commander latitude in its ap-
plication and even some leeway in interpretation. It also had the President's approval. The War Department, which had been relieved to get this approval in the first place, refused to put it in jeopardy after Lt. Col. John Boettiger, the President's son-in-law and a member of the Government Branch, CAD, reported in early November that he had "heard the President express the view that the planning for Germany should not go too deeply into detail at this time, and that major decisions, political and economic, might be deferred until we got deeper into Germany and were able to view conditions at close range." 84
When Winant came to Washington a few days later, McCloy and Hilldring told him that the War Department would not approve detailed directives written in the EAC since the department had a general directive, JCS 1067, which should also be used in the EAC. The reason they gave for this stand was to avoid "tying the hands of the commander in the field by directives issued at governmental level which he could not alter." 85 In London on 20 November, Wickersham, just returned from Washington, told the US Group Control Council, Document 1067 is now our 'Bible.' " It had been "recommended," he said, that the EAC not prepare any directives. The War Department preferred to have the directives written by the Control Council elements "and . . . approved by the military authorities on this side." 86
Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Return to the Table of Contents
Return to CMH Online