Petersberg Agreement

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Hotel Petersberg near Bonn

The Petersberg Agreement is an international treaty that extended the rights of the Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) vis-a-vis the occupying forces of Britain, France, and the United States, and is viewed as the first major step of the Bonn Republic towards sovereignty. It was signed by Chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer and the Allied High Commissioners Brian Hubert Robertson (Britain), André François-Poncet (France), and John J. McCloy (United States of America) on 22 November 1949. The Hotel Petersberg, near Bonn, was at that time the seat of the High Commissioners and the place of signature. It was the first modification of the Occupation statute.

Main topics of the agreement[edit]

  • West Germany was permitted to join the Council of Europe as an associate member.
  • West Germany agreed to sign a bilateral agreement with the U.S. regarding Marshall plan aid. (see next section)
  • West Germany agreed to send delegates to the International Authority for the Ruhr, effectively accepting some international control of the Ruhr district. (see next section)
  • West Germany agreed to remain demilitarised, without armed forces of any kind, and to support the work of the occupation authorities in this respect.
  • West Germany was permitted to engage in international trade, as well as to establish consular relations. (The creation of a Foreign office was still prohibited)
  • West Germany agreed to follow the principles of liberty, tolerance and humanity and to prevent any reviving of totalitarian efforts.
  • West Germany agreed to implement legislation for the sake of decartelisation in accordance with the occupation statute.
  • West Germany was permitted to construct ocean-going ships with restricted capabilities.
  • The industrial dismantling programme was modified by the removal of a select number of industrial plants from the dismantling list.
  • The West German request for an end to the state of war was noted, but not granted.


Adenauer was heavily criticized in parliament for his signing of the agreement, particularly due to the Ruhr issue.

The International Authority for the Ruhr was established on 28 April 1949. Of the 15 votes, 3 were assigned to the German state, although voted as a block by a representative of the occupation authority. By agreeing to join the control council of the authority, West Germany gained control of those three votes, but also accepted the control of the authority over West Germany's main industrial center. In the following debate in parliament, Adenauer stated:

The Allies have told me that dismantling would be stopped only if I satisfy the Allied desire for security, Does the Socialist Party want dismantling to go on to the bitter end?[1]

The opposition leader Kurt Schumacher responded by labeling Adenauer "Chancellor of the Allies".[2]

The first treaty with a foreign power that West Germany was allowed to sign was the unpopular Marshall plan agreement specified in the treaty. Under U.S. pressure, the agreement was also made into federal law. Although it gave the Germans greater freedom in how to spend the funds, it also gave the U.S. greater powers to interfere in German economic matters, as well as requiring West Germany to subsidize West Berlin which was under occupation and not part of West Germany. The treaty also mandated deliveries from Germany to the U.S. of goods in short supply in the U.S.[3]

The treaty stated that for practical reasons the state of war with Germany could not be ended as requested by the Germans. According to the press, the state of war was maintained because "the U.S. wants to retain a legal basis for keeping a U.S. force in Western Germany".[4]

In 1952, members of the German parliament went to court to challenge the legality of the agreement.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ A Good European Time Magazine 5 December 1949
  2. ^ Hans-Peter Schwarz, "Konrad Adenauer", p.450 (Google books)
  3. ^ Armin Grünbacher, "Reconstruction and Cold War in Germany", pp.54-55 (Google books)
  4. ^ A Step Forward Time Magazine Monday, Nov. 28, 1949