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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 98 (June 1947)

Bowman, Val
Parliamentary Advisory Council,   p. 7 PDF (667.0 KB)

Page 7

THE Parliamentary Advisory Council
acts as a mirror in which the
members of the Laenderrat can view
the opinions of the voters back home.
The council has no actual.. power,.
but its influence can be great.
The job of the Council is to advise
the Laenderrat and keep it close to
the elected representatives of the
people. After the Landtage became
elective last fall, and the Ministers-
President were elected officials instead
of appointed executives selected by
Military Government, a sort of stale-
mate occured in the enaction of legis-
lation at Stuttgart. The Laenderrat
members, who ar.e the Ministers-Presi-
dent of the three Laender and the
President of the Senate of Land
Bremen, became hesitant to take re-
sponsibility on their shoulders. They
took the position that all legislative
power originated with the Landtage,
and they didn't want to commit them-
selves on any issue without first
consulting their constituents. A period
ensued in Stuttgart during which little
progress was achieved in the legis-
lative field.
To get around this difficulty German
leaders suggested the creation of the
Parliamentary Advisory Council, and
with the approval of Military Govern-
ment it was set up. So far it has met
four times, including one constitutional
The Council consists of 24 members,
seven from each of the larger.Laender-
Bavaria, Wuerttemberg - Baden, and
Hesse - and three from the smaller
Land Bremen. These men are appointed
by the Landtage of the various Laender
on a representative basis -for example,
Bavaria has three CSU Parliamentary
Council members because the CSU is
the strongest political party 'in that
state with 57 percent representation
in the Landtag. SPD has two Council
members as a result of its 30 percent
representation in the Landtag, while
PDP with five percent, and WAV with
seven percent have one Councilman
By Val Bowman,
According to the statute under
whifch it was established the Parlia-
mentary Council shall commenit on:
1. All draft laws and decrees to be
submitted to the Laenderrat.
2. All 'control Council measures pla-
ced before the Laenderrat by the
Regional Government Coordinating
3. Problems of basic political im-
Proposals which fall in category 3
must be submitted to the Parliamen-
tary' Council by the Secretary-General
of the Laenderrat, after they have been
approved. by the Directorate. The
Directorate consists of four "pleni-
potentiaries" or permanent represen-
tatives of the ministers-president, a
special representative of each minister-
president from the Land capitals, and
the Secretary-General of the Laenderrat.
No- definite date has been, set for
Parliamentary Council meetings, but
so far meetings have been. held the
day before the monthly meeting date
of the Laenderrat. Each Land has one
vote in the Council, and for decisions
unanimity is required. The Council
has a quorum only if every Land is
represented at the meeting.
The Laenderrat is not bound by the
action of the Council - the council
is purely an advisory body . but
only . on a few occasions has the
Laenderrat overruled the PAC. In each
of these instances the overruling was
in the interests of speedy enactment
of legislation which was believed to
require zonal uniformity. One main
difference seen between the two bodies
is a tendency on the part 'of the
Council to debate an issue at length.
The Laenderrat, mindful of Military
Government desires and 'American
ideas of efficiency, frequently acts in
the interests of speed, while the Coun-
cil, imbued with the German love of
debate and circumlocution, would
engage in long discussions before
deciding on it.
So far the Laenderrat has taken the
position that all legislative matters
should be submitted to the PAC for
advice and comment, but not executive
or administrative matters. The Parlia-
mentary Council would like to have
everything submitted to it for comment.
T O DATE the meetings of the Coun-
cil have been harmonius-which
is somewhat remarkable considering
the fact that such bitter political oppo-
nents as Alfred Loritz and Dr. Josef
Mueller represent the same Land.
Apparently the members are making
a strong effort to keep the meetings
on a high level for the sake of the
country. The nearest thing to a row
was the drawn-out debate over the
proposed Compulsory Labor Draft Law..
This proposal was first submitted for
consideration at the meetingof 14April,
but decision was postponed until the
next Laenderrat meeting, in order to
permit the discussion of the law within
the respective Landtag. At the next
meeting, on 5 May, Bavarian Council
members came instructed by their
Landtag to vote against it. Dr. Koh-
ler, CDU member from Hesse, stated
heatedly that no Land delegation should
come to a meeting with final instruc-
tions from its Landtag, as this would
make it impossible to coordinate its
opinion with those of the other Laen-
der. He raised the question whether
any Land delegation should block
Parliamentary Council action by voting
proposed legislation in advance.
Dr. Dehler of Bavaria submitted that
since the Parliamentary Council was
a bridge between the Laenderrat and
the. Laender, the unanimous opinion
of any Landtag should be respected.
The discussion did not result in. any
clearcut decision, but discussion and
approval of the Compulsory Labor
Law was effectively blocked.
At the recent June meeting of the
PAC, however, the delegation from
Bremen came forward with the state-
ment that they were prepared to
support the principle behind Bavaria's
(Continued on page 24)
23 JUNE 1947

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