Volume #18 - 25.|
CONDUITE DES RELATIONS EXTÉRIEURES
REPRÉSENTATION DIPLOMATIQUE ET CONSULAIRE
RÉPUBLIQUE FÉDÉRALE ALLEMAGNE
Note de la Direction européenne|
pour le sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 16 janvier 1952|
FUTURE OF THE CANADIAN MILITARY MISSION IN BERLIN|
At a meeting of the Working Group of the Establishment Board on October 17 the question of the future of the Canadian Military Mission in Berlin was informally discussed and referred to the Divisions concerned for their views. At that time it was thought probable that because the British intended to take their civilian employees off occupation costs and put them - with appropriate allowances - on the German economy, the staff of the Canadian Military Mission might have to be treated likewise and that this would involve an increase in the cost of maintaining the Mission. A later report suggested that the situation for British military personnel would be different; they would continue to receive normal military facilities, including housing and servants, as charges against occupation costs. Mr. Davis thought that our Mission in Berlin might be taken under the wing of the military authorities, in which case there would be no question of our receiving services at United Kingdom expense although we would receive them through the medium of the United Kingdom authorities. To date we have had no definite word from Bonn that this would in fact take place so that there remains some uncertainty about the future costs of operating the Mission.
2. The considerations outlined above led us to give thought in this Division to an assessment of the political value to us of the Military Mission, apart from considerations of staff and finance. To that end we wrote Mr. Davis on October 26 in the following terms:
"While, as we understand, the Berlin office serves some purpose on the consular side and on the intelligence side, the main consideration in deciding whether or not to continue it will be whether its value as a contribution to Allied solidarity in Berlin and as a source of political intelligence is sufficient, in Canadian terms, to justify the cost of maintaining it. Your assessment of the utility of the office on the basis of these broader political considerations will be helpful in reaching a decision."
3. In a reply dated December 15, Mr. Davis informed us that Major-General Coleman, the British Commandant of Berlin, and his political adviser, were most anxious that the Military Mission should remain for the following reasons:
(a) The withdrawal of any one of the Western Military Missions from Berlin might cause similar action on the part of other missions;
(b) The withdrawal of even one mission would give the Soviet authorities, as well as their East German puppets and those of the satellite countries, a propaganda point which would doubtless be distorted in the usual manner;
(c) The presence in Berlin of as large as possible a number of missions from the Western Powers is of tremendous moral and psychological value. to the citizens of Western Berlin; no matter how little material value any Military Mission might be to its government at home or to its own nationals in Germany, this moral and psychological value is not in the least diminished.
4. Mr. Davis gave it as his own view that the Military Mission should be kept open at least until a radical change takes place in the relations of the Federal Republic and Berlin with the West, when the position should be reconsidered. As to the value of Berlin as a source of political intelligence, he considered it inevitable that the material which would come from Berlin would be almost entirely military intelligence since our representation there is military. He was inclined to doubt whether the Department could or should afford political representation at a sufficiently high level there.
5. Our next step was to ask our Ambassadors in London, Paris and Washington to ascertain the views of the governments to which they are accredited. Replies have now been received from all three.
6. The State Department would view with some concern a decision on our part to close the Berlin Mission, chiefly for the reasons set out in paragraph 3 above. They took the line that the maintenance of military missions in Berlin provides evidence to Berliners that countries of the West, other than those of the Occupying Powers, would continue to lend their support to preserve the status quo. They pointed out that the legal status of missions in Berlin would not be affected by the proposed contractual relations and that the cost of maintaining these missions would not necessarily be substantially increased in the near future. They also made the suggestion that if the costs of maintaining the Canadian Military Mission were considered excessive, a Canadian Military Representative, perhaps residing in Bonn, might be accredited and be present in Berlin only when it was considered essential or desirable.
7. The French also agreed with the views of the British Commandant. They were insistent that our Mission remain in Berlin even if we reduced it to one representative who need not even live there but who could arrange to be present at all important functions in order that the name of Canada should continue to be in evidence.
8. The Foreign Office assured Canada House that, in answer to a similar enquiry from the South African Government, the United Kingdom authorities in both Wahnerheide and Berlin had stated that they attached great importance to continued Commonwealth representation. In addition to giving general support to the views of the British Commandant in Berlin, the Foreign Office referred to the key importance which the tripartite powers have placed on Berlin in the General Agreement now being negotiated under which arrangements are being made to preserve the position of the Three Powers in this critical outpost. General Bishop of the Commonwealth Relations Office, who served in the Control Commission in Berlin and as Land Commissioner for North Rhine/Westphalia, was also consulted by Canada House and supported the Foreign Office's views.
9. We might add that Personnel Division have asked National Defence for a continuation of Captain O'Hagans services with our Berlin Mission for another year, Finance Division have made provision in next years Estimates for maintenance of the Mission, and Consular Division would like consular and immigration work there to continue.
10. After due consideration of the points set out in this memorandum we recommend that the Canadian Military Mission in Berlin be kept open. Its value as a source of political intelligence is perhaps not great, but we believe that the prestige of the West and the aid and comfort to the Berliners which the presence in their city of our Mission constitutes justify the continuance of Canadian representation in this outpost of the free world.17