McCloy, John J.
Test of democracy, pp. 35-36 PDF (1.2 MB)
Test of Democracy Excerpt of Address By JOHN J. McCLOY US High Commissioner for Germany WE ARE CLOSING OUT a great adventure that began in the days when we literally set about helping the Germans to bury their dead down to the present when we see a rehabilitated economy and a rehabilitated political system not only capable but eager to solve its own problems. To be sure, many Germans ascribe most of this recovery to their own regenerative power and in this they are quite right. But objective persons among them, and there are many, realize - it only takes a glance at conditions in the Eastern zone of Germany to see what might have been the situation here -that without generous foreign aid, without a spirit of helpfulness, without full op- portunity given them to develop their own capacity's rehabilitation, Germany would not be where it is today. We shall soon abolish the High Commission and the state commissions. The only functions we shall retain in our new setup are 'those which enable us to maintain some control of our own affairs, such as the security of our troops. Philosophically and actually this is a great change; but it is not one to be regretted - it is one rather to be welcomed. It is a sign of our advance. One of our objectives has been to create a free democratic com- munity in Germany, able to progress under its own steam. We are not going to make that objective more likely of attainment by continued control. We must be prepared to put our theories of democracy to the test. T HERE ARE HEAVY RISKS in our policy. Democracy itself is a great risk. It presumes a great deal of faith and a confidence in our fellow men. Considering the dis- sension and the political immaturity that was evidenced in Germany after the close of the first world war, con- sidering the spectacle of what followed after the break- down of the Weimar Republic and considering the aber- rations of the Nazi period, it makes one hesitate to give guarantees for the future, particularly when some are ostentatiously trying to revive the old Nazi propaganda. Sometimes I don't wonder that Germany's friends get a sudden sinking feeling. I must confess, I do. We have come to the period, however, when we must permit the Germans to take action themselves in the pro- tection of their own freedom. Otherwise we run the risk that the Germans will never develop freedom. Against these risks there are signs. The many good elements among the Germans do react against these excesses. The Federal Parliament and the Federal Government have shown great evidence, in my judgment, of Political development. Forward-look- ing people in the government see the the instincts of many promising The following are extemporaneous re Cloy made before t Officers' conference furt Dec. 10. future role of Europe quite clearly and they seek for Ger- many a participating and a contributing partnership in it. In spite of the most difficult problems and the necessity for taking steps of enormous significance to the future of Germany, they face their decisions with courage and with dignity. When I consider that when I first came to Germany that government still had to be erected, I gain faith in the future of this country. I think we must realize that some of the disturbing incidents that occur from time to time are conspicuous because they do not re- present the basic feeling of the people of Germany. We must provide the opportunity for the average man and woman of Germany to express themselves in regard to these excesses and to show their own sober and de- termined resistance to them. T HE ECONOMY OF the country certainly justifies hope in the future. We still have unemployment but the general standard of living in this country is in some respects higher than that in some of the victorious countries. I also take great faith from the fact that so many Germans recognize the interdependence of the nations of Europe. If a European community, which is a chief objective of our policy, is to be successfully erected, Germany must be a part of it. Germany cannot successfully be a party to it nor could it be a successful democratic community if it were only a second-class member. And it is by association in such a community, in my judgment, that we have the greatest guarantee, certainly a greater guarantee than we could possibly have by means of continued control. So I feel that we should look upon our work as having been constructive and capable of being tested We are closing out this great adventure which has involved so much American wealth and so much American engery. In doing so, however, we do not abandon our principles. We will continue to propagate them in every manner and through every agency which is compatible with a free German society. The embassy, when it comes, will con- tinue through its influence to work toward the main'te- nance of a democratic community. Our goals remain the same; our methods have to be altered with the times. You (the resident officers) heard something this morn- ing of the plans we have by which these aims and princi- ples can be continued. We all hope that they will be effective. If the 3 excerpts from energy and devotion which you have marks Mr. Mc- applied to the propagation of these :he US Resident principles is conveyed to the indivi- held in Frank- duals who will carry on American policy in Germany, there is no doubt INFORMATION BULLETIN JANUARY 1952 L. 35
As a work of the United States government, this material is in the public domain.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright