London Six Power Conference
The London Six Power Conference was a conference of foreign ministers of the three western occupation powers of Germany and the Benelux states as direct neighbors of West Germany , paving the way for the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany . An invitation to the Soviet Union was not issued. The results of the conference were distributed to the six governments of the participating states and became known as the London Recommendations .
The Six Power Conference lasted from February 23 to June 2, 1948. It consisted of two sessions. The first started on February 23rd in the old India Office and ended on March 6th. The second started on April 20th and ended on June 2nd. The military governor of the American zone of occupation, Lucius D. Clay , also attended the conference. An invitation to the Soviet Union was no longer issued. At the previous meeting of the “Council of Foreign Ministers” of the four victorious powers in London from November 25 to December 12, 1947, its fifth and final attempt to unite Western and Soviet ideas on Germany policy had failed.
The aim of the conference was to create the basis for the participation of a democratic Germany in the international community, that is, above all, to establish a federal , democratic German state in the area of the three western zones of occupation . To implement this, the prime ministers of the federal states were authorized to convene the constituent parliamentary council .
The Soviet Union protested in a note on February 13, 1948 against the holding of the conference. On February 23, the Ambassador of Czechoslovakia Kratochvil presented the Prague Declaration in London . In it, the foreign ministers of Poland , Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia called for participation in the upcoming Germany meetings. They pointed out that the London conference was in contradiction to the Potsdam Agreement . The Western powers replied at the end of February, pointing out that the agreement did not preclude the possibility of advising several occupying powers on issues of common interest. In the American and English notes, the Soviet Union was accused of not having observed the principle of economic unity in Germany. The French government declared that it was not bound by the Potsdam decisions.
The victorious powers and the Benelux countries left the drafting of the constitution to the German Conference, but imposed restrictions such as a ban on NBC weapons and other heavy armaments as well as military intervention in the Soviet zone of occupation . At the next meeting of the Control Council on March 20, 1948, the Soviet commander, Marshal Sokolovsky, was refused information about the conference results. As a result, the Soviet Union stopped participating in the Allied Control Council.
The Frankfurt documents (recommendations to the highest representatives of the western zones , the nine prime ministers of the federal states and the mayors of Bremen and Hamburg) and the London recommendations to the six own governments emerged from the conference .
In the arms- political issue of the Ruhr , France was concerned with being “finally safe” from Germany; It pursued "a hard-handed policy, the primary aim of which was to separate the Rhineland from the rest of Germany and to place the Ruhr under the control of an international authority ." De Gaulle had already announced this goal on February 5, 1945 in a radio speech; French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault followed it up in agreement with Vincent Auriol ( French President ) and Prime Minister Robert Schuman . Finally, thanks to the efforts of the United States of America and Great Britain, France agreed to the merger of the three western zones of occupation into the Trizone . In return it was assured that the Saarland could be separated from the French occupation zone and economically connected to France. An international authority will be set up to control the distribution of coal, coke and steel production in the Ruhr area .
The French National Assembly only ratified the London recommendations with a narrow majority due to strong criticism. In the course of the cabinet crisis that followed, Schuman had to resign from the office of prime minister and became foreign minister.
According to the historian Henning Köhler , the London agreements are in history as unique: While in all other cases, nations whose territory by a foreign power occupied was, have to fight with difficulty participation rights and statehood, came here a "rugged request of the occupying forces [...] Kindly found a state ”, and that in a situation in which no one from the affected population had made a corresponding demand. It would have been generally condemned as a demand for a division in Germany.
- Bernd Steger: The staff conference of the American military governor General Lucius D. Clay from June 26, 1948. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 27th year, 1st issue, March 1979.
- Manfred Görtemaker : History of the Federal Republic of Germany. From the foundation to the present , CH Beck, Munich 1999, p. 49; Heinrich August Winkler : The long way to the west , Vol. 2: German history from the “Third Reich” to reunification. CH Beck, Munich 2000, p. 131; Documents on the future political development of Germany ['' Frankfurter Documents ''], July 1, 1948: Summary on 1000dokumente.de , accessed on June 11, 2019.
- Raymond Poidevin: The European factor in Robert Schuman's policy on Germany (summer 1948 to spring 1949). In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 33rd issue, 3rd issue, July 1985.
- Henning Köhler: Germany on the way to itself. A history of the century. Hohenheim-Verlag, Stuttgart 2002, p. 478.
- Gerd Wehner: The Western Allies and the Basic Law 1948–1949: The London Six Power Conference. Rombach, Freiburg im Breisgau 1994, ISBN 3-7930-9093-0 .
- Siegmar Rothstein: The London Six Power Conference 1948 and its significance for the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany. Diss. Univ. Freiburg im Breisgau 1968.