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Chancellor Adenauer of the West German Republic last Wednesday signed a protocol which alters enormously the location of political and economic power in Trizonia. From now on, Germany is, except in military affairs, virtually a self-governing nation.
The new Occupation policy was codified in Paris two weeks ago, at the invitation of Ernest Bevin, by the Foreign Ministers of France, Britain, and the U.S. Secretary of State Acheson has called the Paris talks "entirely harmonious" and says that the three Foreign Ministers reached "full agreement" on the questions discussed. But the French are skeptical of such unanimity.
During and since the meeting, the Paris press, particularly that of the Right and Left, accused Bevin and Acheson of bullying France into accepting a new dominant Germany. They recall Schuman's telling a press conference, for instance, that, though there would be a slow-down in dismantling German industry, such plants as the huge Thyssen Steel Works in the Ruhr, which made ten per cent of the Reich's war output, would definitely not be removed from proscription. On Thanksgiving day, when the protocol was announced, however, dismantling of Thyssen came to a half.
Briefly agreement was reached on the following points:
1. The criterion for removing German industry has been altered to apply to those plants useful only for war, rather than to those which constitute war potential, as formerly. The ceiling of 11,500,000 tons remains on steel production, but limitation now depends on the good faith of the German manufacturers.
2. German industry can seek foreign investment and economic cooperation with France, Italy, and the Benelux nations.
3. Germans are invited to participate in the Ruhr Authority, the Military Security Board, and to draw up a decartelizaiton program, presumably to replace the unsuccessful Occupation plan.
4. Germany can have an unspecified number of merchant ships and tankers, not to exceed 12 knots and 7,200 tons.
5. She can send consuls and business representatives aboard and join certain international organizations, notably the Connell of Europe.
Both Acheson and Schuman deny that the subject of a German army was discussed, but while Schuman says rearmament is not even envisioned, Acheson refused to deny that he favors such a move.
There are two possible explanations for these new concessions to German revival. At best, they represent votes of confidence designed to strengthen the German democratic government; at worst, bids for another ally in the Cold War over French protests of distrust.
There is some basis for the alarm which many of the French have evinced at the new program. During the '30's France listened reluctantly to British defence of a strong Germany against the East and paid a higher price than either Britain or the U.S. for doing so. Schuman will find little support in the French Chamber for ratification of the plan by rating the Russian danger over the German today. He must instead defend the success of the Occupation in disinfecting Germany as justification for her return to self-control.
The dependence of the French Cabinet on approval of the plan by the Chamber of Deputies is only the first crisis which a powerful Germany creates in Western Europe. In every way the solidarity of the West now rests on German fulfillment of Adenauer's promise to keep the Reich disarmed and cooperative. Social Democrat Schumacher's expulsion from the Bonn Parliament yesterday for calling Adenauer "Chancellor of the Allies" is not altogether reassuring.
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