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Communiqué On Economic and Political Talks
Press release 189, dated April 9, 1953


The President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and other members of the Cabinet have met during the past 3 days with the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and had a full and frank exchange of views on the world situation in general and on American - German relations in particular. The conversations took place in a spirit of friendship and co-operation and revealed a far-reaching identity of and objectives.

The President and the Chancellor discussed the effects which recent developments in the Soviet orbit might have on the East-West conflict. They were fully agreed that, while no opportunity should be missed to bring about a general relaxation of tension, the free nations of the West must not relax their vigilance nor diminish their efforts to increase their unity and common strength. They were further agreed that if the Soviet rulers are genuinely desirous of peace and co-operation among all nations, they could furnish no better proof of their good will than by permitting genuinely free elections in the Soviet occupied Zone of Germany and by releasing the hundreds of thousands of German civilian deportees and prisoners still in Soviet hands. They further stated their joint conviction that there can be no lasting solution of the German problem short of reunification of Germany by peaceful means and on a free and democratic basis. The achievement of this purpose calls for sustained common efforts of the signatory powers to the contractual agreements signed at Bonn last year.

There was unanimity of conviction that all concerned should press forward unwaveringly toward European unity through early ratification of the treaty establishing a European Defense Community. Achievement of this goal will be accompanied by the establishment of German independence and sovereignty under the contractual agreements. The Chancellor declared that the Federal Republic of Germany is ready and willing to co-operate on a basis of equality and partnership with all the free nations of the West in strengthening the defenses of the free world. The Chancellor was given assurance that the United States would supply military equipment to the European Defense Community to assist in equipping the German contingents, once the treaty has been ratified.

The problem of the Saar was discussed and it was agreed that an early agreement should be sought in the common interest.

Consideration was given to the special situation of Berlin and admiration expressed for the political firmness and courage of its inhabitants. It was agreed that the moral and material support needed to keep the city strong is a matter of primary importance. The Chancellor indicated that he had in mind further measures to increase production and to reduce unemployment. The Secretary stated that consideration was now being given to assistance by the U.S. Government to investment and other programs to improve economic conditions in Berlin.

The Chancellor indicated the great difficulties facing the Federal Republic because of the necessity to assimilate not only to the millions of expellees who came earlier from the eastern areas but the renewed stream of refugees from the Soviet Zone and beyond. The President and Secretary of state recognised the great efforts undertaken by the Federal Republic to care for these homeless persons and to preserve economic and social stability. The discussion took account of the possibility that the Federal Republic and Berlin might be unable to bear this burden alone. The Director for Mutual Security stated that careful consideration of this matter would be given in the course of the preparation for the Mutual Security Program for the year, beginning July 1, 1953.

The Chancellor raised the problem of war criminals. The future of the war criminals now in U.S. custody was discussed. The U.S. representative stated that his government would re-examine the status of these prisoners and would also look forward to the possible adoption to new review procedures with German participation, as soon as German ratification of treaties was completed.

The representatives of both governments exchanged views concerning progress toward the freeing and expansion of world trade and the achievement of currency convertibility. The German representatives expressed particular interest in the reduction of tariffs and customs administrative barriers. For their part, the U.S. representatives noted President Eisenhower's statement of April 7 that "the world must achieve an expanding trade, balanced at high levels which will permit each nation to make its full contribution to the progress of the free world's economy and to share fully the benefits of this progress."

Representatives of the two Governments discussed a number of specific problems connected with the normalization of commercial relations between the United States and Germany, including the prospects for increased use by German exporters of the trademarks owned by German nationals prior to World War II. It was noted that considerable progress had already been achieved in making such trademarks available to former German owners and that future progress in that direction was being sympathetically studied by the United States.

The Chancellor and the Secretary of State agreed that the conclusion of a new treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between the United States and the Federal Republic would be of benefit to both countries and that negotiations for such a treaty should begin at a very early date. Meanwhile, as an interim measure, the two Governments are negotiating an agreement to restore to force the 1923 treaty of friendship, commerce, and consular rights as it stood prior to the war, taking into account the requirements of the present situation. This interim agreement, when ratified in both countries, would, among other things, re-establish a basis on which businessmen of each country would be able to reside and carry on business in the other.

The German representatives indicated their interest in the placing of off-shore procurement contracts in Germany. They were informed that as soon as the contractual and European Defense Community treaties have entered into force, the same criteria will be applied in the placing of such contracts in Germany, within the framework of the European Defense Community, as are applied with respect to the placing of contracts in other European countries.

In order to foster closer cultural cooperation between Germany and the United States and promote mutual understanding between their two peoples, an exchange of notes is taking place.

The two Governments reaffirmed their common interest in controlling, together with other nations of the free world, the movement of strategic materials to nations whose policies jeopardize the peace and security of the free world. Both Governments undertook to continue action to that end, and, in particular, to keep under constant review the list of items which from time to time may be subject to embargo to Communist China. The representatives of the Federal Republic also expressed their Government's intention, in co-operation with other trading and maritime nations, to apply supplementary measures, such as transshipment controls, against violations or evasions of existing strategic controls.

Announcement is being made simultaneously in the two capitals of the return to the Federal Republic of approximately 350 vessels formerly of German ownership. Arrangements for their transfer to German authorities will be completed by the U.S. High Commissioner in Germany. The President and the Chancellor are convinced that the conversations just concluded have made a solid contribution to the achievement of common goals of the two countries, in strengthening the ties of friendship now happily re-established and in consolidating the aims and strength of the free world.

Source: Department of state Bulletin, April 20, 1953. P. 565 - 566

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Updated: September 2002