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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

Ewers, Hans
Comment on the statement of policy of the German federal chancellor delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by Hans Ewers of the German Party,   pp. 52-58

Page 52

Comment on the Statement of Policy of the German Federal Chancellor
delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by
Hans Ewers of the German Party
(Deutsche Partei -  DP)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The hours we in Bonn hive through from the
middle to the end of September witness the birth-
pangs of a new German state. At times we of the
older generation had hardly ventured to hope that
our eyes would be privileged to watch these events.
When I visualize the passing parade of the past
few decades, then it strikes me - if I may speak
for myself - that just about twenty years ago
Gustav Stresemann*) passed away. He may well
have been the only German statesman of European
stature whom Germany has produced in this cen-
tury. His death signalled the gradual demise of
the German Republic and German democracy. By
way olf Briining's**) Emergency Decrees (Notver-
ordnungen) they stumbled into the Third Reich,
which boasted that it would last a thousand years
at least. We survived the Third Reich. Once again
we stand at the cradle of our nation and state,
tested and steeled by experiencs which befall
other nations perhaps only in the course of a
thousand years.
Here and now it is incumbent upon us to com-
ment on the Statement of Policy of the Federal
Chancellor. It was upon myself, a member of the
Deutsche Partei (German Party) not elected in
Hanover, that my parliamentary Party Delegation
conferred the honorable task of commenting upon
this Statement of Policy in its name.
With a minor exception, which I am going to
allude to in the course of my speech, my Party
Delegation endorses the Chancellor's Statement
fully and unequivocally.
("Hear, hear!" on the Left)
We approve and endorse this Statement not only
in its general tenor but also in its formulation, and
that applies to each and every phrase. We hope
and wish that the Government will be able to ful-
fil everything promised to the German nation and
the German people in this Statement.
In the name of my parliamentary Party Faction
I have been charged with adding -a few clarifying
and corroborating remarks to some aspects of the
Chancellor's Statement of Policy.
We most emphatically insist that anyone who
speaks or acts in the name of the German Fekderal
Republic bear in mind, whenever he makes any
statement or move, that at this time we are nought
but a torso, the fragment of a state, a rudimentary
entity. We are, I would almost say, the embryo of
a future Germany which, divested of tutelage by
foreign powers and within her 1937 frontiers, will
*) 1878-1929; German Foreign Minister 1923-1929; leader
of German People's Party.
**) Born at MUnster 1885; Reich Chancellor 1930-1932 as
member of Center Party; now teaching at Harvard.
have to find her place among the nations of
Europe. We consider it a blemish that the desig-
nation adopted by our West German State, namely
"Federal Republic of Germany", might be mis-
interpreted unless it is without fail taken in con-
junction with the wording of the preamble of the
Basic Law, and unless one keeps in mind its in-
completeness. It might have been priferable to
have adopted a designation for our new state that
would have stressed its provisional and preliminary
We are furthermore of the opinion that the mood
of.the German electorate revealed by the election
results of 14 August made it necessary to form the
sort of Cabinet that now exists. That development
was not written in the stars. Let us assume, for
example, that the election campaign had been
marked by differences of opinion on foreign policy
between the two major parties in this House, who
together hold two thirds of all seats. In that case
I for my part would have considered it an in-
escapable necessity to achieve a compromise before
proceeding. Sorrow and distress enough face us in
the months and years ahead. Make no mistake
about it - the acid test of politics, the true art -of
politics, is in the realm of foreign policy. Concern
with domestic matters, that is to say with the
setting of our own house in order, of necessity
ranks second. The woefully wretched fiasicos of our
foreign policy twice within a quarter century are
due to the preeminence which we have accorded to
domestic affairs forever and anon. However, since
the election campaign there have been no dif-
ferences of opinion with regard to foreign policy
between the two major parties, I may even say
between any of the parties, save for the extreme
Left. This unanimity inspires me with the hope
that the Government may count on the support
of even the Opposition in this House, whenever it
endeavors to gain concessions for us Germans from
some foreign authority or from the Occupation
Powers. I imagine I had better say from the High
Commissioners, for they are now civilians and no
longer a "Power".
Thus the issues that divide us in charting the
future course of the German people are to be found
in the domestic area. They are to be found in the
economic sphere, which, according to my obser-
vations, was the focus of all the sound and fury
of the whole election campaign. In this sphere we
of the Deutsche Partei (German Party) were fully
aligned with CDU and FDP in the election cam-
'Representative Dr. Carlo Schmid, SPD: "Just
a trifle more tinged with the jingoism em-
blemized by the old Imperial colors of black-
white-and-red, weren't you?"
No, that isn't quite it, Professor. When I say we
were "fully aligned", that does include the black-

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