6. Dezember 1951: Gespräch zwischen dem Außenminister Großbritanniens, Anthony Eden, und dem Bundeskanzler Konrad Adenauer in London

1. United Kingdom Attitude to Europe

Dr. Adenauer enquired whether the Secretary of State intended to go to Strasbourg next week. If not, he hoped some explanation could be issued to prevent any disappointment.

The Secretary of State said he had not been invited to go and did not intend to do so. The Foreign Ministers who would be in Strasbourg were those directly concerned with the European Defence Community plan. He and the Prime Minister were, however, going to Paris for a short visit this month before their visit to Washington in January. They would take the opportunity to talk with the French about the European Army. (Dr. Adenauer welcomed this news.)

The Secretary of State said he had spoken by telephone to General Eisenhower that morning. We wished to make it clear that, although the United Kingdom would not be participating in the European Army, we wanted it to succeed. The Prime Minister would make this clear in the defence debate. We should seek ways of associating ourselves with the European Army on the principle that we wished to join with it but not to merge into it.

Dr. Adenauer said that this would give particular satisfaction.

2. German Trademarks

Dr. Adenauer asked the Secretary of State to use his influence to find a satisfactory solution of this problem.

The Secretary of State said that he understood that we had recently agreed with the Americans and the French on proposals which we should put to the German Federal Government very shortly, i.e., as soon as a few outstanding details had been cleared. We had proposals which would go a long way to meet the German wishes.

3. German Steel Exports to the United Kingdom

Dr. Adenauer referred to his conversation the day before with the Minister of Supply. He had said that he would do what he could to help, on his return to Germany.

The Secretary of State said that the Minister of Supply had spoken to him and to the Prime Minister on this subject. Increased German supplies of steel would be most useful to us and would help forward the general defence programme.

4. War Criminals

Dr. Adenauer said that he would say nothing more in public on his return to Germany than that he had brought the question up in London.

The Secretary of State said that he under-proposal for counting pre-trial imprisonment towards sentences. (?) This would mean the immediate release of 30 to 40 prisoners within the United Kingdom total of 197. This was quite apart from the normal clemency reviews which were proceeding and which had recently resulted in two releases. He still required Cabinet approval for this but hoped to send instructions to Bonn by 20th December which would enable releases to take place before Christmas.

Dr. Adenauer then referred to the wider question mentioned to him by Mr. McCloy of how the war criminals should be handled after the Contractual Agreement. He understood that the German Government would be made responsible for continued imprisonment but would be associated with the clemency reviews. In response to a questions, Dr. Adenauer said he thought that a solution on the above lines, preferably with a neutral chairman on the clemency board, would make a very good impression in Germany. He did not want any dangerous individuals to be released but rather to satisfy public opinion that a just arrangement had been reached under which deserving cases would be reconsidered.

The Secretary of State said that he personally favoured this approach and also the idea of a neutral chairman, which was a new one. He foresaw no difficulty of principle on our side but he would have to consult the Cabinet and also the United States and French Governments.

Dr. Adenauer said that he did not expect any difficulty from the Americans but rather from the French. It was pointed out to him, however, that, although the power of pardon rested with the French President, there was no constitutional obstacle to his taking he advice of the proposed clemency boards.

Dr. Adenauer asked whether the proposal for a new clemency board could be made public fairly soon and mentioned Christmas as a possible date.

The Secretary of State said he would certainly examine this project from the British end without delay but in view of the need for consultation with the Americans and the French he doubted whether anything could be settled by Christmas.

Dr. Adenauer said that he would write to M. Bidault to remove any delays on the French side, which he understood were largely caused by the reduction of personnel in the French military courts. The whole issue was an important psychological one not only for the families of the prisoners themselves but for general public opinion throughout Germany. Since the proposal was that the German Government should undertake the responsibility for keeping the hard core of prisoners in gaol, it was essential to satisfy German public opinion that justice was being done. Otherwise there would be a danger of hostile Right-wing propaganda.

Sir I. Kirkpatrick reminded the Chancellor that public opinion in other countries should also be considered. He pointed out that the German public was inconsistent since it saw no harm in German courts imposing very severe sentences on Czechs held guilty of maltreating Germans in concentration camps, &c.

5. British Embassy at Bonn

Dr. Adenauer said he very much hoped that the British Embassy would shortly be moved to the left bank of the Rhine in or near Bonn. He hoped this would be done for the Offices and for the Ambassador's Residence.

The Secretary of State referred to the great need for economies at present. He had, however, put a plan to his colleagues concerned for moving the Embassy Offices to Bonn as a first step.

6. Compensation for Jewish sufferings

The Secretary of State said he wished to mention this, although it was more directly, the concern of the German Federal Government and of the Jews. There had been some recent conversations between the Israeli Minister in London and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State which suggested hat the Israeli Government would welcome private conversations with the German Government, perhaps in some "neutral" place such as London. The Israeli Minister here seemed anxious to help.

Dr. Adenauer said that he had seen that morning Dr. Goldmann, who represented World Jewish Organisations and also had a mandate from the Israeli Government. He was preparing a letter which Dr. Goldmann would take to Tel Aviv in a few days. He hoped that a good beginning had been made.

The Secretary of State welcomed this and said that in that case we should be happy to leave matters to the two parties concerned.

7. General

Dr. Adenauer concluded the talk by saying how grateful and moved he was by the real goodwill he had met with during his visit to Britain. The Secretary of State said he was sure that this existed not only for the Chancellor personally but also for the German people. We were anxious to work with them not only in those matters which they had been discussing but in other matters as well.

Quelle: PRO, PREM 11/1852