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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
Reply to statement of policy of the German federal government delivered in the Bundestag on 29 September 1949 by federal chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer of the Christian Democratic Union,   pp. 94-95

Page 94

Reply to Comments on Statement of Policy of the German Federal
Government delivered in the Bundestag on 29 September 1949 by
Federal Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer of the Christian Democratic Union
(Christlich-Demokratische Union -  CDU)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The debate on the Government's Statement of
Policy has extended over so many days and
brought forth such a multitude of suggestions that
you will understand it if I refrain from comment-
ing in detail on all the speeches and criticisms that
were made. Be assured, however, that everything
said will be carefully examined and that the
Federal Government will draw the necessary
consequences where it thinks fit to do so.
It has been critizised that I did not express my
thanks to the Workers' Welfare Organization
(Arbeiterwohlfahrt). I believe if you were to study
my speech not only in the Federal Gazette (Bundes-
anzeiger) but also elsewhere you would find that
I expressed thanks only to those organizations
having made special efforts on behalf of our
prisoners of war. In the meantime I have learned
that the Workers' Welfare Organization participated
in this labor of love. I do not hesitate to express
the thanks of the entire German nation for this
work to the Workers' Welfare Organization as well.
It has furthermore been alleged that I did not
refer to the workers. That may be true. May I
request that you read up on what I actually said
in this respect?
It has been criticized that I did not stress the
discipline and the loyalty towards the state
demonstrated by the trade unions during the past
few years. I do not hesitate to state that I fully
recognize the trade unions as necessary and ap-
preciate that during the years now behind us they
realized and fulfilled their duties towards the
people as a whole. If I did not mention this and
did not express any special gratitude to them, the
omission was due to the obligation I would thereby
have assumed of thanking very many others as
well. For, ladies and gentlemen, looking back at
the time since 1945 we would, I believe, first of
all have to thank our housewives for all they have
suffered and achieved.
It was further noted that I did not say anything
on the subject of local self-government. But surely
my personality guarantees my unqualified warm
sympathy for local self-government.
(Hilarity -
Representative  Heinz Renner, KPD: "Self-
government as I understand it!")!
I myself regret that the Basic Law has so little
.to say about local self-government. I should have
welcomed more explicit references, for I look upon
the strengthening of self-government as an impor-
tant component of the Federal idea.
I was extremely pleased by the statements of
the Opposition speakers concerning their attitude
towards the Government and to the Government
coalition. If I refer to speakers of the Opposition
parties I am purposely using a somewhat cautions
term for as yet I am a little uncertain just who
constitutes the Opposition.
Several spokesmen of Party Delegations, among
them Herr Schmid for the Social Democrats, stated
today that they are prepared to cooperate con-
structively when bills are introduced with the
tenor of which they agree. At present I shall there-
fore merely underline, and I do so with great
pleasure, the words uttered by Dr. Schumacher and
Herr Ollenhauer as well as by Professor Schmid
concerning the fundamental relationship between
Opposition and Government. That the Opposition
operates along these lines is, I believe, of the
greatest significance for the democratic sentiment
of the German people. Jn fact, I would not mind
if opposition were a trifle more emphatic occasion-
I do not hesitate to state that every government,
especially the one headed by myself, can and will
learn a good deal from a wise Opposition.
I should now like to stress several items of im-
piortance to us. First of all I should like to talk of
the restrictions imposed on our shipping. If the
German people are supposed to be in a position
to stand on their own feet by 1952, then the restric-
tions that block the development of German
shipping must be lifted. I believe we are all agreed
that through the weight of your votes you will
support the efforts of the Federal Government in
this direction.
I should like to say a word on the subject of the
so-called frontier adjustments in the West that
took place in the course of the last few days. I
regret it deeply that the Dutch government has
undertaken a so-called frontier correction - that
is the term they used - without first communica-
ting with the Land North Rhine-Westphalia or,
more correctly still, with the Federal Government.
Ladies and gentlemen, such a procedure is utterly
impossible and completely intolerable to us.
(Applause from the entire House except for
The people of the Netherlands desire to maintain
good economic relations with us. Economic rela-
tions are not possible without mutual respect. It
is, however, a sign of disrespect towards the Ger-
man Federal Republic and the Federal Government
if such things occur as have just happened.
In the course of the 'debate a few    romantic
speeches - I beg the gentlemen concerned not to

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