The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Secretary of State
[Received August 10—10:32 a.m.]
3601. At informal meeting[s] between British, French, Italian and Belgian dye experts and German dye experts which have been proceeding at Versailles, very acute differences developed between the different delegations. The British have been represented by delegates chosen from dye manufacturers who are anxious to reduce to a minimum the utilization of German dyes evidently in the hope of keeping them off the market until Great Britain will be able to export. On the other hand the delegates of France, Italy and Belgium are representatives of textile industries who are exceedingly anxious to receive at once large quantities of dyestuffs for the reestablishment of their industries and who are under very great political pressure [Page 446]to accomplish this. The Germans appeared anxious to put into effect at once the provisions of annex VI of the reparation clauses so as to know as soon as possible precisely where they stand and what dyestuffs will be left to dispose of after the exercise of the option given the Reparation Commission. The French, Italians, and Belgians in agreement with the Germans accordingly proposed that the German inventory of stock should be given and accepted as of August 15 and the option exercised within 15 or 30 days thereafter. The British on the other hand refused to accept this procedure.
A meeting was held yesterday of the British, French, Italian, and Belgian experts at which Dulles88 presided in an effort to reconcile the conflicting views. Dulles stated that it would be impossible for the United States to agree to an anticipation of the treaty clauses. At the same time steps should be taken to ensure the French, Belgians, and Italians facilities to purchase German dyestuffs pending the coming in force of the treaty. It appears that the British through the Rhineland Commission and the Army of Occupation have succeeded in practically impounding all German dyestuffs on the theory that they could not be disposed of pending the coming in force of the treaty and the exercise of the option referred to in annex VI, reparation clauses.
It was eventually agreed to accept the view that no effort would be made to anticipate the time limits established by the treaty unless the United States agreed to this procedure. The American delegate undertook to cable for instructions in the matter. It was on the other hand agreed that German dye requisites [stocks] in occupied area should be made available for French, Italian and Belgian purchasers and that France should purchase 350 tons[, Italy 350 tons and Belgium 150 tons]. It was understood that these [purchases] would be for domestic use only and not for [re-]export. It was also agreed to recommend to the temporary Reparation Commission that it take steps to bring about the immediate formation of a committee of experts to consider the operation of annex VI.
The foregoing recommendations were presented to the Committee on the Organization of the Reparation Commission at its meeting held August 9 and were approved.
The Mission is not advised as to what the policy of the United States will be with regard to dyestuffs but whatever its policy is, [it is] believed that we will be at a disadvantage unless an American dyestuffs expert is present in meeting[s] of the experts of other committees which are taking place. Polk.
- John Foster Dulles, financial adviser, American Commission to Negotiate Peace.↩