Mass Starvation of
Irving's Introduction to the Morgenthau
1986 David Irving published in the German language a file
of Allied documents on the origins and history of the
Morgenthau Plan. This was his introduction to the
SMALL PRINT: This is a copyright work. The manuscript
is reproduced as part of the Focal Point Publications
Website. While it can be downloaded for personal use,
the manuscript may not be marketed or commercially
traded. ©1986 David Irving.]
Irving's facsimile record and commentary on the
infamous American policy for Germany, Der Morgenthau
Plan 1944/45: a Free Download in German
reproduces in full the 22-page
Morgenthau Plan for the first time. [Not yet reproduced on this site.
This is just the editor's Introduction].
It also prints a selection of key
British and American documents relating to the plan, although the story is
still incomplete: many parts of the British foreign office files relating to
it are still closed to public inspection, an exception to the general
The Morgenthau Plan, more formally known as the Treasury
Plan for the Treatment of Germany, was devised by Assistant Treasury
Secretary Harry Dexter White and Secretary Henry R. Morgenthau Jr. in the
summer of 1944. Morgenthau had just visited the battlefields of Normandy and
spoken with General Dwight D Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, then
arrived in Britain for talks with Mr Winston Churchill, the British prime
minister and his advisers.
While important elements of the Plan, including
the subtle re-education of the Germans by their own refugees and the
dismantling of German heavy
industry to aid British
exports, were indeed put into effect, in the directive 1067 which the
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff finally issued to Eisenhower, the main parts
of the Morgenthau Plan, including orders to liquidate entire classes of
suspected Nazi war criminals upon simple identification, and to leave
the German nation to 'stew in its own juice,' were not formally
The Morgenthau Plan would have led to the death by
starvation and pestilence of ten million Germans in the first two years
after the war, in addition to the one million who had been killed in the
saturation bombing and the three million killed in the enforced
expulsion from Germany's eastern territories.
enthusiastically adopted by German-born Lord Cherwell (Professor
Friedrich A. Lindemann, Churchill's close friend, economic, strategic
and scientific adviser), was pushed through at the Quebec summit
conference between Roosevelt and Churchill on September 15, 1944.
was part of the price that Churchill and Cherwell were willing to pay
for a broad package of American concessions over which Morgenthau had
political control including further Lend-lease aid (Phase II) to the
British Empire after the war; moreover Mr Churchill needed his support
on military issues including joint British strategic control of the
atomic bomb (the Hyde Park agreement which was signed on September 18,
1944) and Britain's participation in the war in the Pacific. We can only
speculate about Harry Dexter White's purpose in canvassing a plan which
would have ruined the largest country in Central Europe, the last
bastion that would protect Western Europe from the Red Army in post-war
The memorandum endorsing the plan's objectives was initialled
(Okayed) by F.D.R. and W.C. on September 15, 1944.
The Plan caused immediate controversy. Hearing that it had been
initialled at Quebec, Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War (Kriegsminister),
made bitter comments about the Semites in his unpublished private diary.
Anthony Eden, British foreign secretary (1940-1945).and later prime
minister, dismissed Morgenthau's and Lord Cherwell's lobbying, in a
hitherto unpublished document, as a piece of gratuitous impertinence:
'These ex-Germans,' wrote Eden, 'seem to wish to wash away their
ancestry in a bath of hate. A.E. Nov 19.'
When details of the
Morgenthau Plan leaked to the press in America, angry British
politicians demanded to know if Churchill had indeed signed such a
In 1953, after the F.B.I. levelled Soviet spy charges
against the plan's co-author, Herry Dexter White, Sir Winston Churchill
sent to Lord Cherwell a letter behind which was all the anxiety and
guilt of a great man who realizes he has been duped.
* * * * *
Much still remains to be revealed about the Morgenthau Plan. Dr Joseph
Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, made enough capital from it to
inflict tens of thousands of extra casualties on British and American
troops in the battles that followed its publication, and in the autumn
1944 U.S. presidential election campaign Roosevelt's opponent Thomas
Dewey lost no time in pointing this out. 'The publishing of this Plan,'
claimed Dewey, 'was as good as ten fresh German divisions.'
under increasing fire, Morgenthau wrote around his fellow ministers,
appealing for support. Telephoning Henry Stimson on November 4, 1944, to
'urge him to do something,' he found the Kriegsminister too busy cooking
the official records to cleanse Roosevelt of any implication in quite
another scandal. 'He sounded more tired than ever. Said he was tired out
from working the last two weeks on Pearl Harbor report to keep out
anything that might hurt the Pres.'
Clever forgeries, prettying-up of
official files after the event: this is why historians who rely only on
printed volumes are likely to be misled. For this reason, it is
important that my full dossier on the infamous Morgenthau Plan should be
published in facsimile, to enable future generations of Germans to
distinguish between the fantasies of Nazi propagan- dists and the total
truth of 1944-1945. David Irving, London, June 1985
THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
CHERWELL,(1886-1957)faddish, teetotal personal adviser to Churchill from
1940; Paymaster General 1943-45, 1951-53. Had a knack of putting
complicated matters in terms intelligible to Winston. When Cherwell
became Paymaster General on December 31, 1942 Oliver Harvey aptly summed
him up: 'He is a somewhat sinister figure who under the guise of
scientific adviser puts up a lot of reactionary stuff.' Henry Stimson,
asked if he knew the Prof, acidly replied: 'I'm not sure whether that
means the Professor or the Prophet. We in the War Department know him
only as an old fool who loudly proclaimed that we could never cross the
Channel and also that when the robots [V-weapons] came they could never
do any damage!'
In Admiral Leahy's personal file on 'White, Harry D.'
is a document entitled, 'Publicity in regard to Harry D. White, one time
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury,' November 1953. According to this
the Attorney General had announced that on February 20, 1946 the F.B.I.
gave to White House officials including Leahy a report of White's
association with Soviet agents.
Leahy noted, 'I
have no recollection of having seen or heard of such a report at any
time.' His only contact with White, in connection with Britain's request
for Lend Lease, had been at a meeting on November 18, 1944.
THE BITTER ATMOSPHERE
In June and July 1944,
Roosevelt and other leading Americans had begun dropping remarks about
their plans for Germany and the Germans. On June 7, entertaining the
Polish prime minister Mikolajczyk at the White House, Roosevelt had
related with round eyes remarks made by Stalin about his plans to
'liquidate 50,000 German officers.' In fact when Churchill tried to
persuade Stalin to adopt such a plan, to his annoyance Stalin insisted
on fair and proper trials in every case.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower
had similar views. He told British ambassador Lord Halifax on July 10,
1944, that he felt the enemy leaders should be 'shot while trying to
escape.' Imprisonment was not enough for the 3,500 officers of the
German general staff. Lieutenant-Commander Harry C. Butcher,
Eisenhower's naval aide, noted in a secret diary: 'There was agreement
that extermination could be left to nature if the Russians had a free
hand.' Why just the Russians?, inquired Eisenhowerthey could temporarily
assign zones in Germany to the smaller nations with old scores to
Stimson felt that it would be wise to allow the British to
occupy Northern Germany, because that was where much liquidation would
be effected. 'I felt,' recorded the Republican Kriegsminister obliquely
in his diary, 'that repercussions would be sure to arise which would mar
the page of our history if we, whether rightly or wrongly, seemed to be
responsible.' If the Americans occupied southern Germany, it would keep
them away from Russia during the occupation period: 'Let her do the
dirty work,' he suggested to the President, 'but don't father it.'
After a discussion with General George C Marshall on the punishment of
Hitler, the Gestapo and the S.S., Stimson wrote in his diary, 'I found
around me, particularly Morgenthau, a very bitter atmosphere of personal
resentment against the entire German people without regard to individual
guilt. of the Nazis.'
MORGENTHAU VISITS EUROPE|
In July 1944 General
George C. Marshall had informed Eisenhower that Henry R. Morgenthau Jr.,
Secretary of the Treasury, and a party of experts were planning a trip
to investigate currency problems in France. Eisenhower replied that
there was nothing to be learned in the little strip of land which his
armies then controlled'which is divided about equally between fighting
fronts and a solid line of depots, with two main lateral roads
completely filled with double columns of motor transport.'
he added that these VIP trips were a pain in the neck. There just was
not the space for visitors: Bradley's only accommodation consisted of
one trailer and a couple of Jeeps, while Montgomery 'usually simply
refuses to see unwelcome visitors.' He could hardly have made himself
plainer. But Morgenthau had Roosevelt's ear, so Eisenhower had no choice
but to humor him.
On the transatlantic flight Morgenthau's chief
assistant Harry Dexter White slipped to him a copy of the report by the
Washington interdepartmental Foreign Economic Policy Committee on
postwar policy toward Germany. It shocked Morgenthau. As drafted, it
would leave Germany more powerful in five or ten years than she had been
before the war. Colonel Bernard Bernstein, financial adviser (G-5) at
Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), took
Eisenhower's special train to meet Morgenthau's party in Scotland.
Morgenthau's son was also there when Morgenthau stepped off the C-54 at
Prestwick, Scotland, on August 6 -- Eisenhower's chief of staff Bedell
Smith had secured a comfortable army appointment for him. (There was to
be 'no mention whatsoever, at any time, about his son nor photographs
including his son,' Morgenthau's aide had stipulated.
On the long
train journey down to London, Bernstein expressed concern to White and
Morgenthau about SHAEF's proposed handbook for American officers in the
future military government of Germany: it was too soft, he said; little
was being done to make Germany suffer. On the contrary, SHAEF's experts
seemed to be preparing for Germany's smooth return to the family of
nations. Army directives were being prepared to occupy, 'take over and
control' Civil Affairs in Germany. Evidently, said Bernstein, the Allies
were to assume responsibility for Germany's welfare, and 'even [sic]
ensure that the Germans received medical care and treatment.'
MORGENTHAU MEETS EISENHOWER
They could not have
picked a worse day for their visitHitler's counterattack against Patton
and Bradley began during the night. They lunched on August 7 at Ike's
Portsmouth command post. According to Morgenthau's version, General
Eisenhower also strongly opposed any soft line on Germany: 'The whole
German population is a synthetic paranoid,' he told the Treasury
Secretary. 'And there is no reason for treating a paranoid gently. The
best cure is to let the Germans stew in their own juice.'
Ike's female assistant Kay Summersby eavesdropped and wrote in her diary
afterwards: 'Secretary Morgenthau and party for lunch. Quite concerned
about post war policies in Germany and particularly anxious that we do
not establish rates of exchange that might favour Germany.' (Morgenthau
was proposing to inflict a punitive rate of exchange on Germany, which
would bankrupt her for all time, rendering her unable to rise again and
make another war.)
This prompted the Supreme Commander to enlarge on
his own views about the enemy, which he himself later quoted as follows:
'The German people must not be allowed to escape a personal sense of
guilt.. Germany's war-making power should be eliminated.. Certain groups
should be specifically punished.. The German General Staff should be
utterly eliminated. All records destroyed and individuals scattered and
rendered powerless to operate as body.'
It was, claimed Morgenthau,
Eisenhower who instilled in him the idea of a harsh treatment of the
Germans. Eisenhower would later deny this, or plead loss of memory, but
reporting this to his own staff on August 12, Morgenthau said: 'General
Eisenhower had stated, and given the Secretary permission to repeat to
others, that in his view we must take a tough line with Germany as we
must see to it that Germany was never again in a position to unleash war
upon the world.' He added, 'The Prime Minister had indicated his general
concurrence with General Eisenhower's viewpoint.' And on August 19 he
would tell President Roosevelt that Eisenhower 'is perfectly prepared to
be tough with the Germans when he first goes in.' Morgenthau said that
he had told the general, 'All the plans in G-5 are contrary to that
view.'THE MEETING WITH CHURCHILL
August 10, Churchill's diary showed a lunch appointment with Henry
Churchill had longer-term worries than the future of
Germany. He had at last woken up to the long term cost of the war to the
Empire. Britain's indebtedness would soon be $3,000m; her exports were
less than one-third of their 1938 level; to maintain full employment she
must increase exports fivefold. So she must start rebuilding her export
trade now which Americans might not understand. But Britain must release
labor to rebuild her export industries. So Lend-Lease must continue even
after Hitler's defeat, though a reduction of about twenty-seven percent
would appear reasonable to the British. (, discussion FDR/WSC, September
14, in Morgenthau diary and copy in General Hap H. Arnold diary; and. W.
D. Taylor, memo on meeting of Sir John Anderson and Sir David Waley with
Morgenthau, Harry Dexter White, August 11.)
Over lunch on August 10, they sized each other up. Churchill knew that
Morgenthau was no friend of Britain. Morgenthau flattered Roosevelt a
few days later that it was interesting 'how popular he [Roosevelt] was
with the soldiers and how unpopular Churchill was.' He described one
instance to Roosevelt: 'I told him [Roosevelt],' he wrote in his diary,
'about the difficulty of finding someone to take me through the shelters
[in the East End of London] because both Churchill and Sir Robert Morris
[?Home Secretary Mr Herbert Morrison] had been jeered when they went
through them recently, and that finally they decided on Mrs Churchill
and Lady Mountbatten.' Morgenthau amused Roosevelt's Cabinet a week
later with a description of how the prime minister 'kept referring to
his age during conversations.'
At the meeting between Churchill and
Morgenthau the small-talk was as frigid as only an interview between a
penniless debtor and his banker can be. 'Churchill,' described
Morgenthau to Roosevelt, '.. started the conversation by saying that
England was broke.. Churchill's attitude was that he was broke but not
depressed about England's future.. He is going to tell Parliament about
their financial condition at the right time after the Armistice, and
that when he does that he is through.'
Churchill said that he had
heard that Morgenthau was unfriendly towards Britain.
denied this, was brutally frank. Churchill must put his cards on the
table. He must appoint a committee to consider financial questions, and
then tell Parliament the facts.
When told of this, Churchill quailed
at the idea. Roosevelt retorted, 'Oh, he is taking those tactics now.
More recently his attitude was that he wanted to see England through the
Still, the revelation that Churchill had bankrupted Britain
startled him. 'I had no idea,' he told Morgenthau. 'This is very
interesting,' he sneered. 'I had no idea that England was broke. I will
go over there and make a couple of talks and take over the British
Morgenthau gave a similar version of their conversation to
the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 'The Prime Minister stated,' he told
Anderson on August 11, 'that he did not wish to bring this matter into
the open while our combined war effort in Europe was at its height.'
Churchill was prepared to speak to Parliament about the straitened
financial outlook, but not just yet. Morgenthau's view was that, under
the circumstances, Churchill ought to take it up directly with the
Reporting to Roosevelt a few days later Morgenthau said,
'In England you can see the thing much clearer. There are two kinds of
people there: One like Eden who believes we must cooperate with Russia,
and that we must trust Russia for the peace of the world,'at which point
FDR said he belonged to the same school as Eden' -- and there is the
other school which is illustrated by the remark of Mr Churchill who
said, "What are we going to have between the white snows of Russia and
the white cliffs of Dover?"'
beginning to hint at the need for a strong postwar Germany, and
Morgenthau did not like the sound of that at all. Roosevelt replied that
he hoped to see Churchill soon, even though the Prime Minister was 'not
his own master in some important matters, being overridden frequently by
the Foreign Office.' (Memo Robert A. Lovett to Stimson, Aug 18, 1944:
One other topic was discussed at No.10
Downing Street. Morgenthau shortly told Zionist leaders that the Prime
Minister had assured him that, as was well known, his sympathy was still
for Zionism and Zionist aspirations: that 'it was simply a matter of
timing as to when he would give the Jews their State in Palestine.'*
MORGENTHAU'S OTHER MEETINGS IN ENGLAND
Turning his back on the unpleasant truth of Britain's
bankruptcy, Mr Churchill had literally flowntaking off late on August 10
to tour British headquarters in the Mediterranean.
England, on August 12 and 13 Morgenthau tried to analyse Churchill's
political attitude with U.S. Ambassador John G. Winant and Anthony Eden.
In England, he again said, he saw several groups: a pro-Soviet group
around Eden, favoring harsh treatment of Germany, including
dismemberment. A second, dangerous group favoured Germany's economic
restoration as a bulwark against the Soviet Union; and a third group,
mid-way, preferring a strong Europe as a whole, aligned with Britain.
Morgenthau inquired where Churchill lay, and Edenhesitatinglyadmitted
that Churchill was probably in that third group. Winant agreed:
Churchill now had 'certain reservations' against the Soviet Union, but
he could still be persuaded that it was desirable to continue the grisly
Three Power agreement reached at Teheran on the future of Germany.
Anyway, Winant was confident that Churchill would go along with
Roosevelt in any program. Morgenthau expressed to Eden his personal
concern that there were Allied officials aiming to restore Germany's
economy as quickly as possible. Eden expressed surprise as it ran
counter to the Teheran agreements. Stalin, he claimed, was determined to
smash Germanyto dismember herso that she could never again disrupt
* U.S. Dept of State record of visit by Dr Nahum
Goldmann, September 13, 1944: US embassy files, London, 710
'Eden,' noted Harry Dexter White, 'said Roosevelt had agreed with
Stalin, but Churchill was at first reluctant to accede. He (Churchill)
was willing to make Austria independent and to take East Prussia away,
but was doubtful about going beyond that.' Eden added that after talking
it over with him Churchill decided to go along with Roosevelt and Stalin
on this. Eden felt it important to pursue a tough policy on Germany, 'as
nearly in accord with Russian policy toward Germany as possible,' if
only to reassure Stalin of Britain's good intentions. It was an
interesting statement, and Morgenthau asked him to repeat it. Eden
obliged. 'He [Morgenthau] said [to Eden] that in his conversation with
Churchill the question of the program to be followed upon occupation of
Germany had come up and that he had gathered from the Prime Minister's
comments that he was in agreement with the view expressed by Morgenthau,
to the effect that during the early months Germany's economy ought to be
let pretty much alone and permitted to seek its own level.'
the origin of what Morgenthau later called leaving the Germans to 'stew
in their own juice.'
Morgenthau now talked with Anderson alone. Until
now the Chancellor had lifted the veil on Britain's bankrupt future only
slightly in Parliament, he admitted, in opening the talks with the U.S.
Treasury officials on August 11: so his coming budget message about
Britain's bleak post-war future was going to shock Parliament and
people. 'Financially,' summarized one Treasury official, 'England has
thrown everything into the war effort regardless of consequences. It is
well known throughout the country that England has gone into the war on
the basis of "unlimited liability"; the consequences of such financial
action, however, have not been weighed nor understood by the country. He
stated that England would emerge from the war with high international
and national prestige, but in a deplorable financial position. The
period of the war would have seen England's transition from a position
of the world's largest creditor nation to the world's largest debtor
When Morgenthau visited him on August 15 Eden read out to him
selected extracts of the Teheran conference between Stalin, Churchill
and Roosevelt. namely those extracts dealing with Germany. Roosevelt
said that he wanted to discuss the partition of GermanyGermany could be
divided into three or fifteen parts, he said. Roosevelt suggested they
instruct the European Advisory Commission to report on the problem.
Stalin agreed, and since they both evidently felt strongly on it,
However, as Ambassador John G Winant
explained, the European Advisory Commission (EAC) had not taken up the
question of partition, because the Russian representative had always
stalled. Morgenthau pointed out that the Teheran directive to the EAC
was evidently not known to the State Department. 'Eden said,' according
to Harry Dexter White's memo, 'there are some groups in both the United
States and in England who feared that Communism would grow in Germany if
a tough policy were pursued by the Allies. This group believed that it
was important to have a strong Germany as protection against possible
aggression by Russia. He said it was a question whether there was a
greater danger from a strong Germany or from a strong Russia. For his
part, he believed there was greater danger from a strong Germany.'
|MORGENTHAU RETURNS TO WASHINGTON
Morgenthau had been shocked by the confusion he found
in London as to the treatment of postwar Germany. He made no secret of
this upon his return to Washington. When he visited Cordell Hull in
Washington on August 18, the Secretary of State had to admit he had
never been told what was in the minutes of Teheran. On August 19,
Roosevelt confidently assured Morgenthau, 'Give me thirty minutes with
Churchill and I can correct this.' He added, 'We have got to be tough
with Germany and I mean the German people, not just the Nazis. You
either have to castrate the German people or you have got to treat them
in such a manner so they can't go on reproducing people who want to
continue the way they have in the past.'
Morgenthau now outlined in
response what later became his infamous Plan'In his opinion serious
consideration should be given to the desirability and feasability of
reducing Germany to an agrarian economy wherein Germany would be a land
of small farms, without large-scale industrial enterprises.' .
Morgenthau complained, 'Well, Mr President, nobody is considering the
question along those lines in Europe. In England they want to build up
Germany so that she can pay reparations.'
On August 21, the Secretary
of War Henry L. Stimson dictated in his own diary (now in Yale
University archives) a note that he had talked with Roosevelt's special
adviser Harry L. Hopkins on the telephone: 'He wants me to talk with
Morgenthau on the subject of Germany.' At noon on August 23, Stimson
went to the White House to see the president: 'It is the first time I
have seen him since June. I succeeded in getting through to him my views
of the importance of having a decision on what we are going to do to
Germany. I came back to the Department and Secretary Morgenthau came to
lunch with me in my room. I had [John] McCloy in too. Morgenthau told me
of how he had learned in London that the division of Germany had been
agreed upon at Teheran between the three chiefs. Although the discovery
of this thing has been a most tremendous surprise to all of us, I am not
sure that the three chiefs regard it as a fait accompli and in this talk
with Morgenthau it developed that the so-called decision was of a more
informal character than I had understood from McCloy's first report to
me of Morgenthau's news a day or two ago. In the afternoon I settled
down and tried to dictate my ideas in regard to the postwar settlement
In this document, 'Brief for Conference with the
President on August 25,' Stimson listed 'a number of urgent matters of
American policy' including the zones of occupation, the partition of
Germany, and in particular the 'policy vs. liquidation of Hitler and his
gang". His wording was very explicit.
instructions seem inadequate beyond imprison-ment. Our officers must
have the protection of definite instructions if shooting required. If
shooting required it must be immediate; not postwar.' He also asked the
question, 'How far do U.S. officers go towards preventing lynching in
advance of Law and Order?'
Meanwhile Morgenthau got at Roosevelt
first. Lunching at the White House on August 23, he sketched out details
of his plan for punishing and emasculating postwar Germany regardless of
the effect which this running sore would have on the rest of Europe. He
visited Roosevelt again early on August 25 and handed him a memorandum
on the German problem.
Later that day, Stimson and Morgenthau both
lunched with the president. The Kriegsminister took up the question of
the British and American zones of Germany and urged Roosevelt to allow
the British to occupy Northern Germany. 'I further urged the point,' he
recorded in his diary, 'that by taking south-western Germany we were in
a more congenial part of Germany and further away from the dirty work
that the Russians might be doing with the Prussians in Eastern Germany.
I was inclined to think that I had made an impression on him, but it was
impossible to say. I either then or in my former meeting pressed on him
the importance of not partitioning Germany other than the allotment of
East Prussia to Russia or Poland, and Alsace Lorraine to France and a
possible allotment to Silesia to Poland, namely trimming the outer edges
of Germany. Other than those allotments I feared that a division of
Germany and a policy which would prevent her from being industrialized
would starve her excess population of 30 million people, giving again my
description of how she had grown during the period between 1870 and 1914
by virtue of her industralization..'
APPOINTS A CABINET COMMITTEE ON GERMANY
worried that Allied troops would shortly enter Germany without policy
directives, suggested that Roosevelt appoint a Cabinet committee. The
president accepted the point, and then they went together into Cabinet.
Navy secretary Forrestal wrote a diary on this date.
So did the
Secretary of Agriculture Claude Wickard.
Both were struck by
Roosevelt's insistance that the Germans in future live off soup-kitchens
as a punishment. Henry Stimson's diary is also explicit: 'At the very
beginning of Cabinet he brought up this last point and said that he
would appoint Secretaries Hull, Morgenthau and myself as the members of
that committee..' Later Stimson joined Morgenthau at the airport. 'I had
the opportunity of a satisfactory talk with him on matters on which we
were inclined to disagree, namely the use of over-punitive measures on
Germany principally economic. I have been trying to guard against that.'
In a subsequent 'Memorandum of Conversation with the President,' August
25, Stimson felt that he had made his point that the penalties should be
against individuals and 'not by destruction of the economic structure of
Germany which might have serious results in the future.' 'As to
partition, the Secretary [Stimson] argued for a lopping off of sections
rather than a general partition and thought the President was inclined
to agree that Germany should be left as a self supporting state. The
President showed some interest in radical treatment of the Gestapo.'
For the last days in August Stimson remained on his farm, maintaining
scrambler telephone contact with McCloy in Washington. 'In particular,'
wrote Stimson in his diary, 'I was working up and pressing for the point
I had initiated, namely that we should intern the entire Gestapo and
perhaps the S.S. leaders and then vigorously investigate and try them as
the main instruments of Hitler's system of terrorism in Europe. By so
doing I thought we would begin at the right end, namely the Hitler
machine, and punish the people who were directly responsible for that,
carrying the line of investigation and punishment as far as possible. I
found around me, particularly Morgenthau, a very bitter atmosphere of
personal resentment against the entire German people without regard to
individual guilt and I am very much afraid that it will result in our
taking mass vengeance on the part of our people in the shape of clumsy
HARRY DEXTER WHITE DRAFTS THE
Harry Dexter White completed the first draft of the
Plan on September 1. Almost immediately the British embassy learned what
Morgenthau was up to.
On September 2, Morgenthau retired to his
country home for the Labor Day weekend, an American public holiday.
White sent the completed draft out to him there. President Roosevelt and
his wife motored over from Hyde Park to take tea with Morgenthau under
the trees of his estate at nearby Fishkill and Morgenthau showed the
draft to him.
Roosevelt's thinking on Germany was rather simplistic:
no aircraft, uniforms or marching. Morgenthau had said: 'That's very
interesting, Mr President, but I don't think it goes nearly far enough.'
He wanted the Ruhr dismantled and its machinery given to the needy
neighbors; 'I realize this would put 18 or 20 million people out of
work,' he conceded airily. But it ought to guarantee the prosperity of
Britain and Belgium for twenty years. Able bodied Germans could be
transported to Central Africa as slave labor on 'some big TVA project.'
TVA was the Tennessee Valley Authority hydroelectric project which
Roosevelt's new Deal had used to generate employment. He went off at a
tangent: he was thinking of re-education of the Germans. 'You will have
to create entirely new textbooks,' he said.
Monday, September 4, Stimson flew back to Washington and had a
conference with General Marshall that afternoon: 'Discussed with him my
troubles in regard to the treatment of Germany and the method in which
we should investigate and punish the Gestapo.. It was very interesting
to find that army officers have a better respect for the law in those
matters than civilians who talk about them and are anxious to go ahead
and chop everybody's head off without trial of hearing.'
dine with Morgenthau that evening, Stimson found there McCloy and Harry
White of the Treasury. 'We were all aware of the feeling that a sharp
issue is sure to arise over the question of the treatment of Germany.
Morgenthau is, not unnaturally, very bitter, and as he is not thoroughly
trained in history or even economics it became very apparent that he
would plunge out for a treatment of Germany which I feel sure would be
unwise. But we talked the matter over with temperateness and goodwill
during the evening and that was as much as could be hoped from the
situation. We did succeed in settling with perfect agreement the
question of the currency which should be issued in Germany namely that
we should issue Allied military marks at a 10 cent value of the mark.
Morgenthau had first struck for only 5 cents, wishing to use a low rate
of the mark to punish Germany.'
The Cabinet Committee on Germany met
for the first time on September 5 in Hull's office. Hull was cautious.
'We must not lay plans for partition of Germany,' he pointed out, 'until
British and Russian views are known.' Stimson found himself in a
minority. 'This proposal,' he said of Morgenthau's plan, 'will cause
enormous evils. The Germans will be permanent paupers, and the hatreds
and tensions that will develop will obscure the guilt of the Nazis, and
poison the springs of future peace.' 'My plan,' retorted Morgenthau,
unabashed, 'will stop the Germans from every trying to extend their
domination by force again. Don't worry. The rest of Europe can survive
Stimson was unconvinced. 'This plan will breed war, not
'It's very singular,' he wrote to Marshall. 'I'm the man
in charge of the Department which does the killing in this way, and yet
I am the only one who seems to have any mercy for the other side.'
Hull's ideas were no less extreme than Morgenthau's.
to his office and dictated this note for his diary:
soon as I got into the meeting it became very evident that
Morgenthau had been rooting around behind the scenes and had greased
the way for his own views by conference with the president and
others. We did get through the question of the currency alright on
the lines which we had decided upon last evening. Then Hull brought
up a draft of agenda.. and as soon as we got into a discussion of
these, I, to my tremendous surprise, found that Hull was as bitter
as Morgenthau against the Germans and was ready to jump all the
principles that he had been laboring for in regard to trade for the
past twelve years. He and Morgenthau wished to wreck completely the
immense Ruhr-Saar area of Germany into a second rate agricultural
land regardless of all that that area meant.. Hopkins went with them
so far as to wish to prevent the manufacture of steel.. which would
pretty well sabotage everything else. I found myself a minority of
one and I labored vigorously but entirely ineffectively against my
colleagues. In all the four years that I have been here I have not
had such a difficult and unpleasant meeting although of course there
were no personalities. We all knew eachother too well for that. But
we were irreconcilably divided. At the end it was decided that Hull
would send in his memorandum to the President while we should each
of us send a memorandum of views in respect to it.'
Hull had submitted a paper with the title, 'Suggested Recommendations on
Treatment of Germany from the Cabinet Committee for the President.' In
his reply dated September 5, Stimson utterly rejected it. 'I cannot
treat as realistic the suggestion that such an area in the present
economic condition of the world can be turned into a non-productive
'ghost territory' when it has become the center of one of the most
industrialized continents in the world, populated by peoples of energy,
vigor and progressiveness.' As for destroying the coalmines, etc, he
added: 'I cannot conceive of turning such a gift of nature into a
LISTS OF MEN TO LIQUIDATE
The British ambassador Lord Halifax notified the Foreign Office on
September 6, 1944, about all this, and asked the poignant question:
'Whom do we shoot or hang? The feeling is that we should not have great
state trials, but proceed quickly and with despatch. The English idea,
once preferred but then withdrawn, was to give the Army lists to
liquidate on mere identification. What has happened to this idea?
Besides individuals, what categories should be shot?'.
On the same
day, September 6, Roosevelt called the Committee to a sudden conference
at the White House.
'After what had
happened yester- day I.. expected to be steam-rollered by the whole
bunch. But the meeting went off better than I had expected. The
President.. then took up the question of German economy, looking at
me and reverting to his proposition made at Cabinet a week or two
ago that Germany could live happily and peacefully on soup from soup
kitchens if she couldn't make money for herself. He said that our
ancestors had lived successfully and happily in the absence of many
luxuries that we would now deem necessities.. As he addressed his
remarks to me, I took the chance and tried to drive in the fact that
the one point that had been at issue in our yesterday's preparatory
meeting of the Committee had been the proposition that the Ruhr and
the Saar a plot of non-industrial agricultural land.. I said I was
utterly opposed to the destruction of such a great gift of nature
and that it should be used for the reconsturction of the world which
sorely needed it now.. Morgenthau had submitted through Hull a
memorandum giving his program towards Germany and it had reiterated
what he had put forth verbally, namely a complete obliteration of
the industrial powers of the Ruhr.. I pointed this out and said that
this was what I was opposed to. The President apparently took my
side on this but he mentioned the fact that Great Britain was going
to be in sore straits after the war and he thought that the products
of the Ruhr might be used to furnish raw material for British steel
industry. I said that I had no objection certainly to assisting
Britain every way that we could, but that this was very different
from obliterating the Ruhr as had been proposed.. I wound up by
using the analogy of Charles Lamb's dissertation on roast pig. I
begged the President to remember that this was a most complicated
economic question and all that I was urging upon him was that he
should not burn down his house of the world for the purpose of
getting a meal of roast pig. He apparently caught the point.'
On September 7, Stimson showed to General Marshall the memorandum he had
written about Germany. '[Marshall] thoroughly approved the position I
have taken of temperate treatment economically of the Saar-Ruhr area as
being the only possible thing for us to do. I also showed them the
memorandum which I received from Morgenthau demanding that the leaders
of the Nazi party be shot without trial and on the basis of the general
world appreciation of their guilt, and it met with the reception that I
expectedabsolute rejection of the notion that we should not give these
men a fair trial.. But at 11:45 I heard from McCloy that Morgenthau
still sticks to his guns and has been to the president again and has
demanded a re-hearing.'
Stimson began looking for allies too. 'Dinner
with Mabel [Stimson] and [Felix] Frankfurter. Frankfurter was helpful as
I knew he would be. Although a Jew like Morgenthau, he approached this
subject with perfect detachment and great helpfulness. I went over the
whole matter with him from the beginning with him, reading him
Morgenthau's views on the subject of the Ruhr and also on the subject of
the trial of the Nazis, at both of which he snorted with astonishment
and disdain. He fully backed up my views and those of my fellows in the
Army,.. these men the substance of a fair trial and that they cannot be
railroaded to their death without trial.'
Now, by September 9, the
full Morgenthau Plan was ready. At a meeting that day with FDR, Henry
Stimson laid into it. 'Instead of having a two hour conference with the
President,' wrote Stimson, 'as Secretary Morgenthau had asked for, our
conference boiled down to about forty-five minutes and that was taken up
mainly by the President's own discursive questions and remarks..
Morgenthau appeared with a new diatribe on the subject of the Nazis and
an enlargement of his previous papers as to how to deal with them. Hull
took no leading part as chairman but sat silent with very little to say.
The President addressed most of his remarks to me and about the only
things that I can remember were (1) that he asserted his predilection
for feeding the Germans from soup kitchens instead of anything heavier,
and (2) he wanted to be protected from the expected revolution in
France. Those are the two obsessions that he has had on his mind on this
whole subject as far as I could see.'
Morgenthau's record shows that Roosevelt said he
wanted Germany partitioned into three parts. He
flipped through the pages of Morgenthau's
memorandum, and kept prodding Morgenthau: 'Where is
the ban on uniforms and marching?' Morgenthau
reassured him it was all there.
At one point FDR exclaimed, 'Furthermore I
believe in an agricultural Germany,' he said. This
conference behind him, Roosevelt, as Stimson later
put it, 'pranced up to the meeting at Quebec,'
leaving Hull and Stimson behind. On September 12 he
cabled to Morgenthau, 'Please be in Quebec by
Thursday September 14th noon.' In a looseleaf
folder Morgenthau took his Plan up to Quebec with
'BIASSED BY SEMITIC GRIEVANCES'
Stimson was astonished to hear that Roosevelt
had asked Morgenthau up to Quebec. 'While he has
the papers we have written on the subject with
him,' Stimson recorded on September 13, 'he has not
invited any further discussion on the matter with
us. Instead apparently today he has invited
Morgenthau up, or Morgenthau has got himself
invited. I cannot believe that he will follow
Morgenthau's views. If he does, it will certainly
be a disaster.' And on September 14, the
Kriegsminister wrote, 'It is an outrageous thing.
Here the President appoints a Committee with Hull
as its Chairman for the purpose of advising him in
regard to these questions in order that it may be
done with full deliberation and, when he goes off
to Quebec, he takes the man who really represents
the minority and is so biassed by his Semitic
grievances that he is really a very dangerous
adviser to the President at this time. Hull.. is
THE CONFERENCE AT QUEBEC, SEPTEMBER 1944
At Quebec both Churchill and Roosevelt were ill
men. Churchill was kept going only with M&B
sulphona- mide-type drugs. Roosevelt's great brain
had already deteriorated so far that at one banquet
in August he had proposed a toast to the same the
Icelandic prime minister twice in twenty
Both were putty in the hands of evil men.
Roosevelt camouflaged his withering brain with
carefree bonhomie. On September 13, he would turn
to his loathsome dog Falla and command, pointing at
Morgenthau, 'say hello to your Uncle Henry.'
The two leaders reached Quebec early on
September 11. In fact Roosevelt's train had pulled
into the railroad station fifteen minutes before
Churchill's train (10:15 AM), by design rather than
accident, as he confessed to the Canadian prime
minister with a candour that left Mackenzie King
gasping in his diary, 'It seemed to me that the
President was rather assuming that he was in his
own country.' Roosevelt was much thinner in his
body and face, had lost around thirty pounds in
weight, his eyes were drawn, his haggard face had
sunless pallor, and to his shocked host Mackenzie
King he looked distinctly older and worn. The
electioneering abuse on him as 'a senile old man'
had etched deeply into him.* Churchill told
Mackenzie King that it was wonderful what Canada
was doing in the war, and he particularly praised
the latest financial aid given by Canada to
Britain, and that he recognized that Canada had had
to cover up in a way in order to give what she had.
(Mackenzie Kiary, Sept 11, 1944).
As he told Mackenzie King at the end of his
stay, Britain would never forget how Canada had
helped: 'Really,' he said, 'we are the one debtor
nation that will come out of the war.' Now Britain
had to expand her export trade and build up her
industries. 'I understand that it has to be kept
secret for the present,' Churchill said, referring
to Canada's financial aid to Britain. They lunched
in the Citadel and talked about the war's
personalities, about de Gaulle and Chiang-Kai-shek;
Churchill flattered F.D.R. that he was head of the
strongest military power on earth, both in the air,
at sea and on the land.
Churchill looked better, and was getting to
grips with some Scotch as well as a couple of
brandies. It was hard for even the Canadian hosts
to find out about Churchill's and Roosevelt's
intentions. Mackenzie King himself was tired and
his eyes and body were aching with old age. After
luncheon, Mrs Roosevelt wheeled the president over
in his wheelchair to see the models Churchill had
brought from England of the D-day invasion
equipmenta gift for the Hyde Park library. As
Roosevelt leaned forward to see them there were
beads of perspiration on his forehead. Then he was
wheeled away for an afternoon rest. Sir John Dill
took Mackenzie King aside and told him he believed
that Churchill 'enjoyed' this war. 'It is clear,'
agreed Mackenzie King, 'that it is the very breath
of life to him.'
On the following day, September 13, it began
raining around noon. Morgenthau arrived at Quebec.
The problem looming over the conference was of
financing the war effort. Canada was now being
asked to commit her forces for the South Pacific,
but Mackenzie King saw immense political
difficulties in further Imperial wars Canadians
would never agree that their taxes should be spent
fighting to protect India or recover Burma and
Singapore. Roosevelt sneered to Morgenthau that he
'knew now' why the British wanted to join in the
war in the Pacific. 'All they want is Singapore
back.'* Diaries of Mackenzie King, H.H. Arnold;
That evening, September 13, FDR and Churchill
stayed at the dinner table at the Citadel. At 8 pm
on September 13, Churchill dined with FDR,
Morgenthau, Cherwell, and other members of their
staff. Mackenzie King left at 9 pm and he found
them still sitting there, talking at 11:30 pm.
'Churchill was immediately opposite the President,'
Mackenzie King described in his diary, 'and both of
them seemed to be speaking to the numbers assembled
which included Morgenthau, Lord Cherwell, Lord
Leathers, Lord Moran and two or three others.
Morgenthau arrived this afternoon. Anthony Eden is
to arrive in the morning.'
Morgenthau's papers show that they talked about
Germany. Churchill irritably said, 'What are my
Cabinet members doing discussing plans for Germany
without first discussing them with me?' FDR
explained that this was why Morgenthau had come up
from Washington. Tomorrow Morgenthau would talk
privately with Cherwell about it. Churchill
challenged FDR: 'Why don't we discuss Germany now?'
so Roosevelt asked Morgenthau to outline his plan.
Remarkably, Churchill's first reaction was hostile.
When the Treasury Secretary embarked on the details
of dismantling the Ruhr, Churchill was shocked and
interrupted him. He was flatly opposedall that was
necessary was to eliminate German arms production.
Doing what Morgenthau proposed, Churchill waspishly
told Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary, who was a Jew,
would 'unnatural, un-Christian and unnecessary.' He
doubted it would help even if all Germany's former
steel markets went to Britain. 'I regard the
Morgenthau Plan,' he said with heavy sarcasm, 'with
as much enthusiasm as I would handcuffing myself to
a dead German.' He was truculent, even offensive,
rasping at one point to Roosevelt in particular,
'Is this what you asked me to come all the way over
here to discuss?' And at another, to the American
representatives in general: 'If you do not do
something for Britain then the British simply will
have to destroy gold and do business largely within
the Empire.' The Prof glowered at his prime
minister, but Admiral Leahy, the president's chief
of staff, sided with Churchill. F.D.R. kept quiet.
That was his way. He had done his footwork behind
the scenes. Once, the conversation switched to
India and stayed there for an hour. Churchill was
angry at FDR's refusal to understand the
administration problems faced by the British in a
subcontinent where the birth and death rates were
high, and the people were careless of poverty and
ignorant of disease. 'I'll give the United States
half of India to admi- nister,' Churchill flung at
F.D.R., 'and we will take the other half. And then
we'll see who does better.'
Surprised at Churchill's hostility to the Plan,
Lord Cherwell suspected that WSC had not wholly
grasped what Morgenthau was driving at. In a
private tête-à-tête the next
morning (September 14) he apologized profusely for
Winston's behaviour over dinner, promised
Morgenthau that he would try to dress up the Plan
in a way more attractive to the Prime Minister.
Churchill got the message, wrote later: 'We had
much to ask from Mr Morgenthau.' When FDR and
Churchill discussed policy toward Germany later
that day Churchill now declared himself in favour
of the Plan, as outlined to him by Lord Cherwell.
Cherwell was instructed to draft a memorandum for
signature and give it to Churchill.
At one point Mackenzie King asked how long the
war was going to last. Churchill said he feared
that it might drag on -- the Germans might hold out
in the Alps or elsewhere. 'Hitler and his crowd
know that their lives are at stake,' he said, 'so
they will fight to the bitter end. This may mean
that at some time we have to take the position that
the war is really won, and that what is still going
on anew is just mopping up groups here and there.'
On the question of what to do with Germany,
Churchill said that there would not be any attempt
to control the country immediately by Allied
forces. The Germans would have to police their own
people. 'They are a race that loves that sort of
thing,' he said. 'To be given any little authority,
once they are beaten, and to wield it over others.'
He envisaged something like centralized stations
(FLAKTURME?) on towers around the different cities.
If there was any difficulty from the Germans they
could be threatened with a local bombardment. If
the difficulty kept up they could be given a very
effective bombardment from the skies. 'He did not
contemplate continued active fighting,' recorded
Mackenzie King after this discussion.
Churchill took a nap at the Citadel, dreaming
deeply, and arrived late for dinner. 'I have been
thousands of miles away,' he apologized. He sat
opposite Roosevelt and Morgenthau. A few hours
earlier Anthony Eden, summoned by Churchill from
London, had arrived at Quebec. He sat to
Roosevelt's left, worn out by the eighteen-hour
flight in a Liberator bomber. Churchill was in good
spirit, the Canadian premier was pleased to see how
well he was looking, and surmised it was because of
the scarcity of alcohol.
Out of earshot of Churchill and Eden, at 11:00
a.m. on September 15, Morgenthau invited Lord
Cherwell and Harry Dexter White to his room, read
the Prof's draft and disliked it. It represented
'two steps backwards,' he said. Since the last
discussion, he said, Churchill had seemed to accept
the Plan, and had himself spoken promisingly of
turning Germany into an agricultural state as she
had been in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Morgenthau urged them to scrap this draft, and
return to the two leaders for fresh
When Churchill met Roosevelt, in the presence of
Henry Morgenthau and Harry Dexter White, an hour
later at noon September 15, Britain's financial
problems were clearly uppermost in his own mind,
rather than the future of Germany. Roosevelt read
through the draft Lend-Lease Agreement for Phase
II, and approved it with a minor change.
But each time he seemed about to sign it, he
kept interrupting with a fresh anecdote -- he was
in one of his talky moods, as Morgenthau described
them. Churchill was unable to contain himself.
'What do you want me to do,' he exclaimed
nervously. 'Get on my hind legs and beg like
FDR enjoyed every moment of Churchill's --
Britain's -- humiliating plight. But eventually he
signed: OK, FDR. Churchill added: WC, 15.9. (A copy
of the document is also in the Forrestal papers;
and cf Leahy diary, October 19, 1944.)
It was a load off Churchill's mind. He became
quite emotional and Morgenthau saw tears in the old
man's eyes. After the signing he thanked Roosevelt
effusively, and said that it was something they
were doing for both countries.
CHURCHILL, ROOSEVELT INITIAL THE
Still at this noon conference on September 15,
1944, and feeling in generous mood, Churchill
turned to Lord Cherwell. 'Where are the minutes on
this matter of the Ruhr?' he asked the Prof. The
Prof and Morgenthau had agreed to say they did not
have them -- because the American, on reading
Cherwell's draft, had felt the text was too
milk-and-water. ('I thought we could get Churchill
to go much further,' he noted afterwards.)
Churchill was annoyed at this lapse. Roosevelt
humorously observed that the document was not ready
because Morgenthau had 'interspersed the previous
discussion with too many dirty stories.'
'Well,' Churchill interrupted impatiently, 'I'll
restate it.' He did so forcefully. Then he invited
the Prof and Morgenthau to leave the room and
dictate the memorandum anew.
When the two men walked back in, the new draft
still did not suit Churchill's new temperament.
'No,' he said, 'that won't do at all.' Morgenthau's
heart sank, but then he heard Churchill add, 'It's
not drastic enough. Let me show you what I want.'
He asked for his stenographer, then himself
dictatedrather well, as Morgenthau thought.
'At a conference between the President and the
Prime Minister upon the best measures to prevent
renewed rearmament by Germany, it was felt that an
essential feature was the future disposition of the
Ruhr and the Saar.'
Among those listening was Eden. Eden was going
white about the gills. He was hearing this for the
'The ease,' continued Churchill, 'with which the
metallurgical, chemical and electric
'In Germany,' interposed Roosevelt, because he
had in mind the whole of Germany, and not just the
Ruhr and Saar industries.
'The ease with which the metallurgical, chemical
and electric industries in Germany can be converted
from peace to war has already been impressed upon
us by bitter experience. It must also be remembered
that the Germans have devastated a large portion of
the industries of Russia and of other neighbouring
Allies, and it is only in accordance with justice
that these injured countries should be entitled to
remove the machinery they require in order to
repair the losses they have suffered. The
industries referred to in the Ruhr and in the Saar
would therefore be necessarily put out of action
and closed down. It was felt that the two districts
should be put under somebody under the World
Organization which would supervise the dismantling
of these industries and make sure that they were
not started up again by some subterfuge.
'This programme for eliminating the war-making
industries in the Ruhr and in the Saar is looking
forward to converting Germany into a country
primarily agricultural and pastoral in its
'The Prime Minister and the President were in
agreement upon this programme.'
Eden was horrified. He exclaimed to Churchill,
'You can't do this. After all, you and I publicly
have said quite the opposite.'
A row broke out between the two men. It got
quite nasty. But Churchill kept arguing that this
was the only way to steal Germany's export market.
'How do you know what it is or where it is,'
snapped Eden, and Churchill testily retorted:
'Well, we will get it wherever it is.' He took a
pen and initialled the document. Roosevelt had
already done the same. 'O.K. FDR' and 'WC,
'SEMITISM GONE WILD'
Copies went to London immediately for the War
Cabinet. There is no doubt about it. Typed on long
green telegram sheets, it is to be found among
Eden's private papers at Birmingham University, and
Lord Cherwell's papers at Oxford university.
Copies were circulated to the ministries in
Washington as well.* On September 15 Roosevelt sent
it to Hull, prefaced by the explanation: 'After
many long conversations with the Prime Minister and
Lord Cherwell, the
general matter of post-war plans regarding
industries has been worked out as per the following
memoranda. This seems eminently satisfactory and I
think you will approve the general idea of not
rehabilitating the Ruhr, Saar, etc.'
Knowing that Eden would return to London before
him, Churchill turned to his foreign secretary:
'Now I hope, Anthony,' he said, you're not going to
do anything about this with the War Cabinet if you
see a chance to present it. After all, the future
of my people is at stake and when I have to choose
between my people and the German people, I am going
to choose my people.'
For the rest of the day Eden sulked and brooded.
Morgenthau was delighted, particularly by the
unexpected bonus that Churchill had himself
dictated the infamous memorandum. He could hardly
later disavow it. Afterwards Morgenthau lunched
with Lord Cherwell. That afternoon -- it was still
September 15, 1944 -- Roosevelt looked at the
Combined Chiefs of Staff map of postwar Germany and
found it 'terrible,' as he told Morgenthau. He took
three colored pencils and sketched where he wanted
the British and American armies to go in Germany.
He waited until the PM was in a good humor and
everything else settled, then showed the map to
him. Churchill approved it.
Admiral Leahy was also pleased with it,
explaining to Morgenthau that since the British
were going to occupy the Ruhr and the Saar, they
would have the odium of carrying the Morgenthau
plan out. Henry Stimson, isolated on his estate by
a hurricane that weekend, now learned of
Morgenthau's triumph at Quebec. He wrote in his
diary, 'On Saturday or Sunday [September
16-17] I learned from McCloy over the long
distance telephone that the President has sent a
decision flatly against us in regard to the
treatment of Germany. Apparently he has gone over
completely to the Morgenthau proposition and has
gotten Churchill and Lord Cherwell with them. But
the situation is a serious one and the cloud of it
has hung over me pretty heavily over the weekend.
It is a terrible thing to think that the total
power of the United States and the United Kingdom
in such a critical matter as this is in the hands
of two men, both of whom are similar in their
impulsiveness and their lack of systematic study.I
have yet to meet a man who is not horrified with
the "Carthaginian" attitude of the Treasury. It is
Semitism gone wild for vengeance and, if it is
ultimately carried out (I can't believe that it
will be) it as sure as fate will lay the seeds for
another war in the next generation. And yet these
two men in a brief conference at Quebec with nobody
to advise them except "yes-men," with no Cabinet
officer with the President except Morgenthau, have
taken this step and given directions for it to be
* Copies of this are in, inter alia,
(Dwight D Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower files,
Box 152, Morgenthau Plan.; ibid., Box 76,
Morgenthau; Henry Morgenthau's book, 'Germany is
Our Problem,' New York, 1945; Cherwell papers;
Foreign office, files, London; Forrestal diary,
October 20 ("Morgenthau.. handed me a copy");
Morgenthau papers, diary, pp.1454-5, September
THE END OF THE CONFERENCE
At noon on the sixteenth, calling at the Citadel
for a final joint meeting with Roosevelt and
Churchill, airforce commander General Arnold
thought that the President looked 'very badly.' 'He
did not have the pep, power of concentration, could
not make his usual wisecracks, seemed to be
thinking of something else. Closed his eyes to rest
more than usual.' (Arnold diary).
Roosevelt left that evening for his Hyde Park
estate, joined there by Churchill early on the
eighteenth. On September 18, Churchill and
Roosevelt signed their secret agreement on the
atomic bomb: 'It might perhaps, after mature
consideration, be used against the Japanese;' and
there was to be 'full collaboration between the
United States and the British Government' in its
postwar development and commerical exploitation.
(Since neither Churchill's nor Roosevelt's
successors knew of this secret agreement, it would
After dinner on September 19 Churchill left for
Staten Island by train and boarded the Queen Mary
off New York the next morning for the return
journey to England. Lord Cherwell, his eminence
grise, remained in Washington. Roosevelt was still
under Morgenthau's influence. On September 20, John
McCloy told Stimson, who wrote it in his diary,
that he had heard from Halifax and Sir Alec Cadogan
that the president was 'very firm for shooting the
Nazi leaders without trial.' After Quebec, the
Washington campaign against the Morgenthau Plan
stepped up. McCloy showed it to Forrestal, the Navy
Both Stimson and Hull carried protests to the
President against it. On September 20, Morgenthau
proudly related to Secretaries Stimson and Hull how
he had obtained the initials of Roosevelt and
Churchill on his Declaration. Stimson and Hull both
gained the impression that the president had not
read what he had so easily initialled. On September
22 there was a discussion between Roosevelt, Bush,
Leahy and Lord Cherwell. The last-named wrote a
handwritten note. After discussion of the atomic
bomb project ("Tube Alloys") the conversation
passed to more general topics.
'P[resident] said that the
British Empire, in its struggle against fascism,
had got into terrible economic trouble. It was a
U.S. interest to help Britain over that trouble
and see that she became once more completely
solvent and able to pay her way. In fact to put
it bluntly the U.S. could not afford to see the
British Empire go bankrupt. For this reason it
was essential to increase Great Britain's
exports. It had been decided at
Q[uebec]though he did not know when this
would be announced or whether it would simply be
allowed to leak out later that in the interests
of world security German war-making potential in
the Ruhr and the Saar would be extinguished and
those regions put under international control.
In fact Germany should revert definitely to a
more agricultural habit. This would leave a gap
in the export markets which the U.K. might well
fill to general advantage. It might be that some
high minded people would disapprove, but he
found it hard to be high minded vis-à-vis
the Germans when he thought of all they had
Almost overnight, Roosevelt changed his mind.
What changed it for him, was probably the leakage
of the Morgenthau Plan to the newspapers, published
in great detail on September 23 by the Wall Street
Journal. Roosevelt covered his tracks as best he
could. Pulling out all the stops, Morgenthau sent a
copy of the full-length Plan round to Lord Cherwell
at his Washington hotel on September 26, asking him
to show it to Churchill.
But the opposition was stiffening. To Stimson's
surprise, on the 27th Roosevelt himself telephoned
on the scrambler telephone. 'He.. was evidently
under the influence of the impact of criticism
which has followed his decision to follow
Morgenthau's advice. The papers have taken it up
violently and almost unanimously against Morgenthau
and the President himself, and the impact has been
such that he had already reached a conclusion that
he had made a false step and was trying to work out
of it. He told me that he didn't really intend to
try to make Germany a purely agricultural country
but said that his underlying motive was the very
confidential one that England was broke; that
something must be done to give her more business to
pull out after the war, and he evidently hoped that
by something like the Morgenthau Plan Britain might
inherit Germany's Ruhr business.'
The five biggest American engineering unions
issued a declaration on September 29 dismissing the
Plan as economically unsound and warning that it
'contained the seeds of a new war.' Politically,
the Morgenthau Plan was a disaster. Roosevelt was
coming up to a new presidential election in a few
weeks' time. On October 3, lunching with Stimson,
he remarked: 'You know, Morgenthau pulled a boner.
Don't let's be apart on that. I have no intention
of turning Germany into an agrarian state.' Stimson
thereupon produced a copy of the Declaration and
read the appropriate lines from it. Roosevelt
listened in horror. He had no idea how he could
have agreed to such proposals. At a meeting the
same day with Lord Cherwell, Harry Hopkins said to
the Prof: 'Be careful with Cordell Hull. He is very
annoyed at Henry Morgenthau's intervention in the
plans for the treatment of Germany. He has no doubt
at all that you supported Morgenthau because you
were anxious to get the Lend-Lease negotiations
Point 1998 write
to David Irving|