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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

Clausen, Hermann
Comment on the statement of policy of the German federal government delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by Hermann Clausen of the South Schleswig Electoral League,   p. 91

Page 91

Comment on the Statement of Policy of the German Federal Government
delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by
Hermann Clausen of the South Schleswig Electoral League
(Stidschleswigsche Wahlervereinigung -  SSW)
As representative of the smallest recognized
political party, the SSW (South Schleswig Electoral
League), and at the same time as representative
of the Danish-thinking part of the popullation in
South Schleswig, permit me to say a few words
about the Government's Statement of Policy.
After election of the Federal Chancellor, I real-
ized what significance a small party, even a one-
man Party Delegation, may have in parliamentary
life. A newspaper reported that it had learned from
the well-known reliable sources that Clausen of
SSW had cast the 202nd vote for Dr. Adenauer.
I was almost saddled with the entire responsibility.
By the way, this amusing allegation is incorrect,
if only because I was unable to attend the plenary
session in question.
Nor is the newspaper report correct that I joined
CDUJ. In other words, I am not a member of the
governmental Coalition. As representative of the
Danish-thinking part of the population, or, if you
prefer, of the Danish minority in South Schleswig,
my attitude towards the Federal Government is
open-minded. It will be influenced by the degree
to which the Federal Government will comply with
the wishes and alleviate the difficulties of this
South Schleswig border area. There may be objec-
tions to the discussion, within the framework of
this debate, of problems concerning one segment
of the Federal Republic. However, the members
of my political organization and my constituents
are confined to the border area of South Schleswig.
I therefore ask this House to bear with me.
The Federal Chancellor mentioned a fairer
distribution of expellees among the various Lander.
By this time it has become well-known that South
Schleswig - and as a Landtag member I also
speak for Holstein - suffers most from the pres-
sure of overpopulation. For that reason I would
like to tell the Government from this rostrum: not
only the equalization of financial burdens is an
urgent necessity, the equalization of population is
just as essential. Tackle a fair distribution of ex-
pellees seriously and speedily! In that way you will
render a service not only to the native population,
which suffers from this overpopulation, but also
to the expellees who will never to be able to make
a living in our border area, and who cannot find
apprenticeship positions or work for their children.
At the same time you will eliminate an injustice
done to South Schleswig.
Much has been said about the borders of the
Federal Republic, in the Government's Statement
of Policy and probably in the debate also. I miss
one thing, though. Nothing was said about a border
population's right of self-determination. We do
demand this right in our platform. The Atlantic
Charter is explicit with regard to it. This right of
self-determination, and the right to work for the
implementation of this right by democratic means,
are part and parcel of the most basic democratic
principles and foundations of human rights. The
future will show whether the Government will
have to take care of minority rights in border
areas. In our section, the Land Government of
Schleswig-'Holstein is concerning itself with that
matter and we do hope that it will be settled
satisfactorily. Should the Federal Government
assume the task of caring for minority rights in
the border areas, I would ask it to be generous
and to lay down rights that actually correspond
to the demands of liberty. Such rights should be
above the petty pinpricks of chicanery that were so
common in the past. In solving the problems of
border areas, where different cultures overlap, a
government may best prove that it takes democracy
I will also mention that administrative autonomy
for South Schleswig is one of the prerequisites of
complete liberty in our border Barea, a prerequisite
demanded by my organization in its platform. We
believe that the three existing cultures - German,
Danish and Friesian - can develop equally and
with complete freedom only under self-administra-
tion. This should have been taken into account
when the Lander were formed. Even Prussia
repeatedly considered the advisability of making
the area of South Schleswig a separate Admin-
istrative District. Nothing was ever done about it.
From the historical point of view this demand is
To preclude any misinterpretation, I wish to
conclude with the assurance that you will find
the Danish-thinking part of Siouth Schleswig's
population, and myself as their elected represen-
tative, wherever the principles of democracy are
to be cultivated, implemented and defended.

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