Publication: The Times

Full Citation

  • Title Final Preparation For New German Republic
  • Author From Our Own Correspondent OWN, OUR OWN, OUR
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Tuesday,  Sept. 6, 1949
  • Issue Number 51479
  • Page Number 4
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
FINAL PREPARATION FOR NEW GERMAN REPUBLIC DR. ADENAUER'S DESIRE TO DISPEL MISTRUST ABROAD The policy and the composition of the new Government of western Germany have been discussed by Dr. Adenauer in an interview with our Correspondent in Bonn, where preparations are being completed for the inauguration of the Federal Republic of Germany to-morrow. Dr. Adenauer said that the vote had decisively favoured a free economy. At home the emphasis would be on social and economic reconstruction; abroad, the Government would devote itself to dispelling mistrust of Germany. COMPOSITION OF I GOVERNMENT FIRST OBJECTS From Our Own Correspondent BONN, SEPT. 5 The stage is almost set for the inauguration of the Federal Republic of Germany on Wednesday. Work is continuing by day and night to transform the famous old pedagogic academy into the new Houses of Parliament, and although the scene today was still one of the utmost confusion there is every expectation that the buildings Will be ready for, and worthy of, what is rightly regarded as an historic occasion. The political preparations have kept step with the physical, and have been even a little ahead of them. Dr. Konrad Adenauer, with much of the consistency of the Nietzschean dictum, " a yea, a nay, a straight line, a goal," has gone forward on his own clear course. It will not be till after September 12, with the election of the first president of the Republic, that a party leader will be called on to form a Government; but, failing some unforeseeable realignment of forces, there is little doubt on whom the choice will fall. Dr. Adenauer, who has accepted with a high sense of responsibility the role for which he has been cast, discussed plans and prospects with your Correspondent to-day. DECISIVE VERDICT The verdict of the elections was decisive, he said. The result showed that 13,900,000 votes were cast for the free economy which had been practised in western Germany for two years and only 8,500,000 votes for the planned economy favoured by the Social Democrats and Communists. The Government, therefore, would be a " small coalition " formed out of the Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union, Free Democratic Party, German Party, and members of the Bavarian Party. This would give the Government a voting strength of 226 in a House of 402 members. It is a narrow majority, and the Government will have in the Social Democrats a critical but, it is hoped, also a constructive Opposition. Dr. Adenauer said that his negotiations with the party leaders had not included a meeting with Dr. Schumacher. After the verdict of the electors such a meeting would have been purposeless. It would have been something even worse. Having returned a majority for a free economy, the electors would have regarded a * grand coalition " with the Social Democrats as " a great swindle of the parliamentary system." Dr. Adenauer added that however difficult conditions in western Germany might be, his Government could not assume the character of a war Cabinet in which parties sank their individual differences in the interests of defence and unity. The keynote of the Government would be social and economic reconstruction. It will be its duty to show to the outside world," Dr. Adenauer said, " that the Social Democrats are not the only party of social progress." One of the first obiects would be to re-establish the millions who have been driven from their homes in eastern Germany and elsewhere and are finding it hard to begin a new life. " These are the poorest of our people," said Dr. Adenauer, and he added that any Government of which he was the head would make the provision of homes for them an urgent concern. Discussing the composition of the Government. Dr. Adenauer said that it had been suggested that if Dr. Erhard was appointed Minister for Economic Affairs a balance might be secured by appointing a Social Democrat as his Secretary of- State. Dr. Adenauer likened such a position to having two horses] each pulling its own way at different ends of a cart. No progressive work would be possible, and he preferred to have a straight policy. FOREIGN AFFAIRS Nor was it proposed to have a separate Ministry of Foreign Affairs. German relations with foreign Powers were reserved to the High Commission, but there were certain fieldsMarshall aid. for example-in which the interests of the Republic were recognized, and he therefore proposed to have a Secretary of State within the Federal Chancery to deal with them. There had never been any question of appointing von Prittwitz und Gaffron, who was removed from the Embassy in Washington when Hitler assumed power in 1933. Von Prittwitz, Dr. Adenaucr said, had had talks with Herr Nadolny. He himself, although his neighbour at Rhondorf, had not seen Herr Nadolny, and would not do so. The Government would devote itself seriously to dispelling mistrust of Germany abroad. Dr. Adenauer expressed his regret at recent criticisms in Great Britain, and denied that he was more friendly to the French than to the British. Recalling that Mr. Churchill had said that the future of Europe depended on a close understanding between France and Germany, he said that he was working for such an understanding. That, however, implied no unfriendliness towards Great Britain. Much interest centres in the choice of the President of the Republic. Professor Heuss, who combines to an unusual degree erudition, experience, and tolerance, and who is a Free Democrat. is strongly favoured at the moment. In Dr. Adenauer's view, it would be fitting, if there is a Catholic Chancellor, to have an Evangelical President-the one a Rbinelander the other a south German. The Social Democrats mayjhave other views. ELECTION OF SPEAKERS The arrangements for Wednesday's ceremonies include a meeting of the Bundesrat in the morming and of the Bundestag in the afternoon. Each House will elect its Speaker. Herr Paul Lobe, who was the last Speaker of the Weimar Reichstag before his eviction by Goring, will preside at the first sitting of the Bundestag, and it is thought that his chances of being elected Speaker are good. Herr Lobe was one of the most povular Speakers of the former Reichstag, and his record of public service .is impressive. That he is one of the eight deputies from Berlin who at the moment are not allowed to have votes in the federal Parliament is not held as a disqualification. The feeling is growing that Berlin's association with western Germrany should be strengthened in cvery way, and this might well be shown by the election of Herr Lobe as Speaker of the Bundestag. ' General Sir Brian Robertson, Mr. John McCloy, and M. Frangois-Poncet, the three High Commissioners-designate, will attend the opening sittings of the two Houses, with theirJ principal advisers. The great hotel on the Petersberg-one of the seven bills of the renowvned Siebengebirge, commanding the loveliest panorama of the Rhine valley-is being rapidly prepared as the seat of the commission. It has hitherto been in Belgian military occupation. Tlhe. opening ceremonies in the Bundestag and the Bundesrat will open and close with the playingof classical music. In the Bundestag -the mu5c has becn chosen from that of Ludwig van Beethoven, proudly acclaimed to-day as tthe gr.itest son of Bonn,. The solemnity of PARIS, SEPT. 5 A speech, the tenor of which reflects very significantly the French Gove*nment's policy of seeking an understanding with Germany,was made yesterday at Lure, by M. Devinat, Secretary of State in the Prime Minister's office and, therefore, the right hand man of M. Queuille. The aim at Strasbourg," M. Devinat said, is not only to make a reality of the term Europe '; it is even more to put an end to the tragic dispute between France and Gerntany. The question is once more being asked whether France and Germany can work together within a united Europe." M. Devinat's reply was that while France has thc right to claim material guarantees and to make sure that in Germany there has been a change of heart, she should also prove able to weigh up her chances. France has considerable advantages now. M. Devinat recalled the military and economic weakness of the presentday Germany, and her state of dependence on outside help. He concluded that France has the means to take the necessary precautions. Athe day will also be marked by services to be conducted simultaneously on Wednesday morning by the ArchbishoP of Cologne (Cardinal Frings) and by the Bishop of Berlin and Brandenburg (Dr. Dibelius), who is also head of the council of the Evangelical Church of Germany. Even at this late hour there is some speculation whether Parliament may not after all reverse the decision of the parliamentary council to make Bonn the provisional federal capital, and select Frankfurt instead. The Social Democrats, or at least a strong section of them, fayour such a course. Some Americans are also said to be pressing for it. It is generally recognized, however, that a change now would be a mistake. The authorities of this war-damaged university city, helped by generous grants from the Government of North Rhine-Westphatia, have carried through the huge scheme of reconstruction magnificently. A transfer to Frankfurt would give the new German democracy a false start instead of the flying start which it desperately needs if it is to withstand successfully the rising tide of nationalistic sentiment, with all its importunities and perils. BERLIN AS " TWELFTH LAND" ALLIED SUPPORT LACKING FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT BERLIN, SEPT. 5 M. Fran,ois-Poncet, the French High Commissioner-designate in Germany, whc was Ambassador here before the war, is paying his first visit to Berlin since his new appointment. In an interview which appears in the French-licensed Kurier to-night he speaks on German affairs with the caution which has always characterized French policy in Germany. After the frightful experiences of the French atid the rest of the world with the Nazi regime, no sensible persona says M. Franpois-Poncet, will expect the allies to give the Germans a blank cheque right away; hence the security measures that still remain. But -t is in the interest of all, not least of the Germans themselves, that Germany should gain time to find its better self again. M. Frangois-Poncet, like British and American spokesmen here recently, gives no encouragement to the German agitation for the inclusion of Berlin in the western federal Republic as the so-called twelfth Land, still preferring to hope that the attempt of the allies, continued since the Paris conference, to, find a modus vivendi may succeed. This is a door which the Germans seem minded to keep on pushing against in spite of official announcements from the allied side that it is remaining closed meanwhile. In spite of much German optimism expressed in speeches last week by Professor Reuter, the senior burgomaster, no early change in allied policy is expected by British officials here. Addressing the City Assembly this afternoon, M. Francois-Poncet said that the formation of a twelfth Land would merely recognize the splitting of Berlin as a permanency, and Would make more difficult a better solution. The allies had complete sympathy for the problems and difficulties of the city. They were willing to stand by Berliners economically and financially, but this allied help was not and could not be inexhaustible. The best principle was: " Help yourself and the west will help you." Herr Franz Neumann. the Social Democratic leader, has used the visit of M. Francois-Poncet to renew the agitation for the reopening of the Borsig works in the French sector. RELATIONS WITH FRANCE FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT