26. November 1951: Interview mit dem Nachrichtenmagazin Newsweek (Auszug)

What is the significance of your trip to Paris?

I welcome this opportunity for a personal contact with the foreign ministers of the three Western countries, and I am particularly pleased that the Federal Republic-for the first time-will have a chance to discuss its problems directly on this level.

I trust it will be possible to lay the groundwork for a true union of the European states. All topics now under discussion-the contractual agreements, the Schuman plan, the German defense contribution, the unification of Germany-should be regarded together as essential elements of the ultimate goal, which is the federation of Europe. If this can be realized, Paris will have become a real turning point in European history.

What is your estimate of the likelihood of war with Russia in the measurable future? Will rearming Western Germany precipitate a Soviet attack?

I do not believe there is great danger of a hot war, because Soviet Russia by itself is inclined to conduct policy on a long-range basis, and because it knows that in a hot war it would be successful in the beginning but lose the war in the end.

The goal of Soviet Russian policy is to prevent the integration of Europe so as to cause the U.S.A. to lose interest in Europe. An integration of Europe without the Federal Republic of Germany is not possible. For this reason, and not from fear of a possible twelve German divisions, Soviet Russia is trying with all means to prevent the accession of the Federal Republic to the European Defense Community.

It wants-I emphasize this once more-to prevent the integration of Europe, to induce the U.S.A. to withdraw its forces from Europe, so that all Western Europe will come under Soviet Russian influence.

How do you expect the plans for a European Army to develop? Are you willing to have Germany participate in this army without a national force of its own, while France does have a separate national force?

The integration of Europe is an absolutely essential condition for the freedom of Europe. I am of the opinion that nothing will further the integration of Europe as much as the creation of a European Army. Thus France would be relieved for all future time of the worry of becoming involved in war by Germany.

The negotiation on the formation of European defense community are based on the principle of equality of all participating states. Consequently, the solution found by joint effort in these negotiations will be binding on all members of the European defense community. An exception can be made only for those states that support troops in colonial areas and transoceanic possessions, and only to the extent necessary for those areas.

Do you feel that German public opinion generally now supports remilitarization in principle?

Among the German people the realization is growing increasingly that only when the Western world has corrected the disproportion of forces between East and West will there be the condition for an international relaxation which will also give Germany security and a permanent peace.

The German population will be willing to accept the political and military risk inherent in the resolution to take part in defense, if it realizes that a genuine solidarity is growing between the Federal Republic and the other nations of the free world.

What economic contribution can the Federal Republic make to Western defense? Will a German armaments industry be re-created?

By its expenditures for the relief of social distress, especially of the expellees (from behind the Iron Curtain), and of the payment of the occupation costs, the Federal Republic has already made a considerable contribution towards strengthening the preparedness of the free world. Beyond this, the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs (Ludwig Erhard) - as you know - discussed in detail the possibilities of economic cooperation during his stay in the U.S.A. in 1951. It seems to me to lie in the nature of things that Germany industry (?) contributes to Western defense.

What limitations on German sovereignty would be acceptable to you in contractual agreements which are now being negotiated?

I regret not to be in a position to answer this question with the negotiation still pending.

Do you envisage any method by which Eastern and Western Germany can be reunited in the foreseeable future? Can the unification of Western Europe precede the unification of Germany? Will not a unified Western Europe inevitably draw Eastern Germany to itself?

The unification of Germany by peaceful means as a free democratic state will always be one of the most important aims of German policy. I hold the conviction that this goal can be achieved only by way of a united Europe, that is, when the European community is established with inclusion of the Federal Republic.

When Soviet Russia realizes that it can no longer prevent the integration of Europe, and when the Western armament is strong enough to impress Soviet Russia, then the time will have come for a peaceful agreement with Soviet Russia and then, I am certain, the unification of Germany in freedom will also follow.

The rights and duties which the Federal Republic of Germany takes on by integration into Europe will have to be extended to the reunited Germany. I believe that the accession of the Federal Republic to the European defense community will strengthen extraordinarily the hopes for a reunification held by Germans in the eastern half of Germany.

Do you feel that Germany should have the support of the Western Powers in regaining the territory beyond the Oder-Neisse line? Is there any solution to this problem other than reannexation of these territories to Germany? If Germany regains them, will it insist on expelling the Poles who have settled on former German land? Should East Prussia also be returned to Germany? The Sudetenland?

Unlike the Soviet Union and the other countries of the East bloc, the Western Powers have never acknowledged the Oder-Neisse line. In the Atlantic Charter, man's right to his homeland is solemnly proclaimed, and I believe that the Western Powers will also intercede in favour of this right on behalf of the population of the German Eastern territories. At a settlement, Germany will always endeavour to respect the justified interests of the neighbours in Eastern Europe and to observe the laws of humanity.

It is in this sense that I regard the contacts existing between the organizations of the German expellees and the democratic exile organizations of the East European countries. An agreement with a free democratic Poland will have to be sought.

How do you envisage Germany's future relations with the United States? Has the occupation by American troops contributed to the betterment of future relations or made them more difficult?

I am strongly convinced that relations between the Federal Republic and the U.S.A. will in the future develop in the friendliest way and will lead to close cooperation between our two countries in all fields. The German people are fully conscious of their obligation of gratitude to the American people for the generous aid given them in such bad times. Germany hopes for a place as a free country in the community of free nations and considers the U.S.A. the foremost fighter for true democratic freedom.

When the tensions and resentments unavoidable after every war had been overcome, the presence of the U.S.A. occupation troops undoubtedly led to better acquaintance between the two nations and thereby to better understanding and to friendly ties which have become particularly evident in the numerous German-America marriages. The German population has long since regarded the American soldiers, not as the troops of an occupation power, but as the forces of a friendly nation whose presence on German soil represents the guarantee of preservation of the freedom of the German people.

The German people are fully aware of the sacrifice of these young men who give up their best years to form a bulwark on alien ground against those forces which today threaten the Occidental world and Christian civilization.

What form and amount of American aid will Germany require after the end of the Marshall plan next year?

Germany is among the countries which are eligible for help under the Mutual Security Act. The amount of this help has not been determined. It is to be determined according to the size of the Federal Republic's dollar gap which, however, must be covered partly through direct help and also partly through dollar income from other sources (for instance expenditures of U.S. occupation forces).

Despite the great efforts of the German people and their great economic recovery, the Federal Republic is not yet in a position to live fully by its own effort, especially in view of the burden imposed by the 9,000,000 expellees and refugees who have to be supported. For this reason the Federal Republic will have to rely on further economic assistance after June 30, 1952.

Does the failure of any parliament yet to ratify the Schuman plan mean that it may never be put into effect in its present form? Does the plan need modification or renegotiation?

I am certain, that the parliaments of the countries whose governments have signed the treaty for the European responsibility and will ratify the Schuman plan. The treaty itself contains a revision clause which makes it possible to take into account changed circumstances which may result, for instance, from the accession of another country.

What political form do you foresee in an integrated Western Europe taking in the future?

I believe the principle of supranational organization will be applied in a number of fields in the near future. Let me remind you that on July 26, 1950 the German Bundestag accepted a resolution supporting the conclusion of a European federal pact. For a transition period it will be necessary - in addition to cooperation on an supranational basis - also to set up specialized working agencies for the joint solution of particular problems in various fields.

One should proceed prudently in the creation of the United Western Europe, not delaying anything but neither precipitating anything.

Can the West ever undo the Communist indoctrination of East German youths? What can the West offer East German youth to offset the Communist appeal?

According to experience, the desire for freedom nowhere grows so impetuously as it does under a regime of terror. The extent to which East German youth can be infected with Communist doctrines will also depend on how long the Communist regime manages to last. The West can offer to East German youth the free development of the individual personality, without their having to sacrifice social security. I am convinced that it will not be difficult to free East German youth of the Communist infection.

How can the danger of a Nazi revival in Germany best be combated?

The Federal government is determined to treat with the full force of the law enemies of democracy who act against the constitution. However, the question of radicalism, which is to a great extent the result of our postwar misery, can be solved by police and legal measures alone. Radical trends will represent serious danger if we succeed in leading a free and sovereign Federal Republic into the community of free nations and thereby strengthen it economically and politically.

The best way to prevent the revival of Nazism in Germany is to give the Federal Republic real liberties, so that it appears in the eyes of all Germans a state for which they can work with pleasure and which they can (?) with pleasure.

Quelle: Newsweek. Vol. XXXVIII No. 22 vom 26. November 1951, 20-22.