University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany / A program to foster citizen participation in government and politics in Germany

I. General statement: 2. The program,   pp. 5-6 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 6

c. Associations of professional public admin-
istrators in a variety of fields engaged in mod-
ernizing concepts and techniques within their fields.
The subjects covered by these groups have led
the Internal Political and Governmental Affairs
Division to set up its program for aid and advice
under eleven headings, as follows:
1. Citizen Participation in Government;
2. Local Government;
3. The Public Employee, the Citizen and the
4. Civil Liberties;
5. Police Policy and Administration,
6. Political Parties and Election Systems;
7. Legislative Organization and Practice;
9. Education in Political and Governmental
10. The Institute of Public Affairs;
11. Special Projects.
In Part II the eleven headings of the program
are explained in detail. They fall into two distinct
The one is concerned with German movements
to stimulate the interest and participation of as
many individual citizens as possible in political
and governmental affairs. The first item, Citizen
Participation in Government, is a general project
dealing with aid in the organization of citizen
groups, general stimulation of interest in politics
and government, and other means appropriate to
the objective. But interest can be aroused and
maintained only if citizens can deal with specific
problems of direct interest to them, and these sub-
jects should be such as to offer them the op-
portunity for active participation in political and
governmental affairs. The next three - Local
Government; the Public Employee, the Citizen and
the State; and Civil Liberties - will serve this
practical purpose, since they affect directly the
daily life of the citizen. There is an element of
citizen participation in the fifth item - the devel-
opment of the traffic safety program -which is
partly intended to elicit understanding and co-
operation between the police and the citizen.
The second group of activities involves aid to
specialized groups working on specific subjects,
the character of which is suggested by the titles
of the items themselves. This also includes aid to
special groups in connection with headings 2, 3
and 4 - the extension of local, autonomy, civil
service and administrative court reform, and the
activities of Civil Liberties Unions.
The plans for carrying out the program are set
forth in Parts II and III of this report. Part II
describes the activities peculiar to each heading.
Part. III, deals with the program responsibilities of
various HICOG organizational units and levels,
and with certain activities common to all head-
In general, the coordination and supervision of
the program is undertaken by the Civic Activities
Branch of this Division. It develops -some of the
projects directly with its own staff. Others are
assigned to the Legislation and Public Safety
Branches or to the Civil Service Consultant, in ac-
cordance with their functional interests. Some
field work is undertaken from headquarters, but
the greater part is delegated to the Political Affairs
Divisions in the Offices of the Land (State) Com-
missioners, who in turn delegate much of the
responsibility for assisting citizen participation
and related projects to the Kreis (County) Resident
Many of the projects involve coordination or
collaboration with other functional units in HICOG
-Labor Affairs, General Counsel, Food and Ag-
riculture Division, and the Field Division. The
Office of Public Affairs has a special interest in
the program  since a number of the activities
work with community groups, women's and youth
organizations, press, radio and universities - are
functionally within its jurisdiction. Work in these
fields must be carried out by the relevant Public
Affairs unit or with its approval.
The State Department and the advisory Gov-
ernmental Affairs Panel associated with it is re-
sponsible for the selection of visiting consultants
to come to Germany from the United States and
arrangements for Germans going to the United
States under this program.
The program has limited value if it is developed
only in the four Laender of the U.S. Zone and in
the U.S. Sector, Berlin. Stimulation of citizens' in-
terest in participation in public life and the move-
ment for reform in specific fields must permeate
all of West Germany and West Berlin if reform
is to be accomplished. There appear to be no
fundamental differences in respect to desirable
objectives in Germany, and therefore it seems
practicable to arrange coordination of the pro-
gram in our Zone with related activities in the
Laender in the British and French Zones.
The activities described in Parts II and III do
not present an operating program in its ultimate
detail. To some extent this must be an ad hoc
development. For example, varying progress has
been made in developing citizen participation in
the Kreise (counties), and further aid will be
adapted to the situation existing in any particular
locality, determined in large measure by the judg-
ment of the individual Resident Officer. Radio
and newspaper programs must be worked out, and
the use of consultants from outside Germany de-
termined, in relation to the situation existing at a
given time.
In reading the parts that follow, it must be borne
in mind that the purpose of this paper is not to
define organizational relations and channels which
are set forth officially in the HICOG organization
manual and appropriate staff announcements. The
reference to organizational relations is primarily
intended to indicate a manner in which this pro-
gram can be implemented under existing arrange-
ments, and to show the relationship that exists
between this and other programs in the fields
covered. Such statements are, therefore, to be con-
sidered as guides rather than instructions.

Go up to Top of Page