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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

Richter, Franz
Comment on the statement of policy of the German federal government delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by Dr. Franz Richter of ther German Reich Party,   pp. 85-90

Page 85

Comment on the Statement of Policy of the German Federal Government
delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by
Dr. Franz Richter of the German Reich Party
(Deutsche Reichspartei -DRP)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In his Statement of Policy, the Federal Chancellor
asked that the Opposition should show its true
colors in Parliament. After yesterday's meeting I
have a feeling that the impression was to be
created in this House that only one Opposition
party exists. I emphasize today that this is not
true. However, our conception of Opposition does
not exhaust itself in striving for purely negative
goals. We believe that the value of the democratic
regime lies precisely in the fact that the Opposition
can draw the Government's attention to deficiencies
and shortcomings, enabling it thereby to avoid such
mistakes and shortcomings henceforth.
We are not here to condemn the Government
from the very start just because we are an O-p-
position party. In this respect I agree with Rep-
resentative Loritz who asserted that the Govern-
ment should be judged by its actions. However, I
should like to draw your attention to one fact at
this stage already. In view of the difficulties that
will undoubtedly confront the German Federal
Government, it is necessary to point out that it
might possibly be driven into a situation making
it impossible to perform certain tasks demanded by
one side. or the other. After the events that have
unrolled in Germany, particularly during the last
few years, sit is my oninion that sometimes - and
that must remain valid in future too - an honest
"Nay" is Dreferable to a dishonest "Yea". At any
rate, the Government should not allow itself to be
maneuvered into a tight spot from which it cannot
find a way out, for which it cannot assume respon-
sibility towards the German people.
Certainly the Government itself, as well as its
Statement of Policy, are open to criticism. For
instance, we do not like the great number of
ministries either. We could have imagined that
additional responsibilities might have been found
for the gentleman administering that somewhat
strange Foreign Ministry for Germ-an Domestic
Affairs (Aussenministerium fur innerdeutsche An-
gelegenheiten). The situation of the German people
requires the greatest economy in all fields, in
particular in that of public administration. This
requirement is disregarded when the number of
ministries is increased beyond the classical figure.
The one exception I would allow for is the Ministry
for Refugees, the creation of which I demanded
from the Federal President even before the Federal
Chancellor was appointed. If the number of minis-
tries is diminished, this will not necessarily lead
to inferior work on the ministerial level. On the
contrary, it must be expected that the multitude
of ministries will lead to overlapping, contradictions
and to paralysis of their work. However, we will
wait and see how things are going to come out.
One point, however, should be emphasized: we
consider this State, towards which we take an af-
firmative stand, as only a first step on the road to
a German Reich. All Germans desiring it shall find
a home in this 'Reich, but it shall not impair the
individuality of the various German regional stocks.
However, I think it is shameful that an assembly
of elected German representatives could meet here
without pledging itself to Unity, Justice and
Liberty*) through an anthem which should, and
does, grip the hearts of all Germans.
(Applause from the Right)
It seems that those who oppose this anthem want
neither unity nor justice nor liberty.
("iHear, hear!" on the Right)
Like all men inspired by honest conviction, we are
dead set against such an attitude.
We bear great responsibility towards the German
future. For the last time, the German people has
been given an opportunity to demonstrate its
creative powers. We call the system.we now have,
democracy. This word should be used with more
caution. In 1945 already democracy was apostroph-
ied very frequently indeed, but I have gathered the
impression that up to this day we have more "de-
mocratorship" ("Demokratur") than democracy.
(Merriment and interjections -  Interruption
from CDU: "Would you mind telling us what
you mean by that?")
Once upon a time there was a man who, had he
remained a philosopher, would undoubtedly have
retained his world-wide reputation of being a great
democrat. His political acts, however, were at
cross-purposes with his philosophical ideas. That
man was Masaryk. Masaryk once said that democ-
racy is discussion, and in my opinion the extent
to which Germans may call themselves democrats
is contingent upon their ability to engage in dis-
cussion. There can be no democracy without per-
sonal freedom, which   this "democratorship" in
particular was forever endeavoring to restrict. And
what ailed that concept which people iin Germany
were bold enough to call democracy? According to
my conviction, it was the fact that the party was
placed above the people. Tocqueville once called
democracy "a vast, desolate, treeless plain where
every bush looks like a tree". How could he arrive
at such a far from laudatory judgment? I believe
that Professor Burckhardt has already furnished
the answer when he asked whether 'democracy is
not hostile to every outstanding individual, be it
clandestinely or openly.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is at least in certain
parts of Germany that this danger is acute once
more. They speak of democracy, 'but think of party
*) Key words of a strophe of the former German
national anthem, "Deutschland, Deutschland tiber alles..i

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