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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany / Germany's parliament in action; the September 1949 debate on the government's statement of policy

Adenauer, Konrad
Policy statement of the German Federal Government as delivered in the Bundestag on 20 September 1949 by Federal Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer of the Christian Democratic Union,   pp. 20-28 PDF (3.4 MB)

Page 20

Policy Statement of the German Federal Government
as delivered in the Bundestag on 20 September 1949 by
Federal Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer of the Christian Democratic Union
(Christlich-Demokratische Union - CDU)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
After the lengthy negotiations of the Parliamen-
tary Council and after the Bundestag elections on
14 August, no time has been lost in completing
the establishment of the new Germany.
On 7 September the Bundestag and the Bundes-
rat constituted themselves, on 12 September the
Bundestag elected the Federal President and, on
15 September, the Federal Chancellor. Thereupon
the Federal President appointed me as Federal
Chancellor on the same day. Today, on 20 Septem-
ber, he has appointed the Federal Ministers as
proposed by me. Thus the formation of the Federal
Government has taken place today, and the Occu-
pation Statute has therefore also come into force.
Even though the competence of the Bundestag and
the Federal Government is restricted by the Occu-
pation Statute, this development, this creation of
the nucleus of a German State, should nevertheless
fill us with joy.
The progress in relation to the conditions which
have existed around us since 1945, and also as
contrasted with conditions under the National
Socialist Reich, is great. We must, it is true, al-
ways remember that Germany and the German
people are not yet free, that the latter still does
not stand on an equal footing with other peoples,
and that it is split into two parts, which is par-
ticularly painful. But at least, we do enjoy rel-
ative freedom as a state; our economy is on the
upgrade and above all we have once more the
protection of the rights of the individual. No one
among us may be robbed of his freedom and life
by a Secret State Police or by some similar organi-
zation, as was the case in the National Socialist
Reich and to our regret is still the case in large
parts of Germany, i.e. in the Soviet Zone. These
assets, protection of the individual's rights and
protection of his personal freedom, which we have
not possessed for so many years, are so precious
that, regardless of all we still lack, we must be glad
that we enjoy once again these rights of the
My election to the Federal Chancellorship and
the formation of the Government are a logical
consequence of the political conditions which had
arisen in the bizonal area as a result of the policy
of the Frankfurt Economic Council. The policy of
the Frankfurt Economic Council, the problem of
a "social free-enterprise economy" (soziale Markt-
wirtschaft) as opposed to a "planned economy",
has so largely dominated our whole situation that
a renunciation of the program upheld by the
majority of the Frankfurt Economic Council was
impossible. The question of planned economy
versus free-enterprise economy dominated the
election campaign. The German people has declared
itself opposed to planned economy by a great
majority. A coalition between the parties who
rejected planned economy and those who sup-
ported it would have been directly contrary to
the wishes of the majority of the electorate. Had
a coalition between these parties nevertheless come
about, the voters' would have been justified in
asking why the elections had been necessary at
all. The democratic idea, the conviction that par-
liamentary democracy is a necessity, would have
suffered in the broadest circles of the electorate,
notably among the voters of the younger genera-
tion, had a Government been formed which would
not have corresponded'to the spirit and the results
of this election. It is therefore irrelevant and un-
democratic to lambaste with words of reproach
those parties which have joined together here in
this House to form a Government and to work
together. In the same way, it is irrelevant to con-
demn the Social Democratic Party for not being
ready to enter a so-called "Great Coalition", One
cannot expect either side to disavow just about
everything which had heretofore been presented
to the people as being right, after both sides had
fought for their principles, in Frankfurt for almost
two years, after the electorate had been called
upon to decide and after it had given its judgment
at the ballot box.
On the basis of general political considerations,
I therefore welcome this development. I am not
of the opinion that it would have better served
the interest of the population as a whole, and the
interests of Germany if one had set about to
establish some coalition between the CDU/CSU and
the Social Democratic Party. I 'am of the opinion
that the State needs an Opposition, that the latter
has a political function in the State, and that only
by the juxtaposition of a Government majority
and an Opposition can true progress and an ac-
climatization to democratic thought be achieved.
I am further of the opinion that, under the unstable
conditions obtaining in Germany, it is a much
better thing that any opposition which may exist
should show its true colors in Plarliament than that
it should run wild outside of Parliament in an un-
controllable manner because, gagged by the dis-
cipline of a broad coalition, it cannot express itself
to any extent within Parliament.
I have proposed to the Federal President the
appointment of 13 Federal Ministers. I am aware
that this figure will at first sight seem too high
'to many people. I must emphasize that in our time,
new tasks have arisen that demand the attention
of the State - here I refer to the question of
refugees - or that have assumed proportions ex-
ceeding the capacity of one of the classical
Ministries. Here I refer to the problem of housing
and of housing construction. Thus, several of the
Federal Ministries will have a limited existence.

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