611.626/30: Telegram

The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Secretary of State

4069. At meeting of Reparation Committee on September 4 discussion of dye stuff situation disclosed continued sharp difference of opinion between French and British Delegates. Chairman Loucheur with great emphasis and considerable heat exposed the desperate situation of industries in Roubaix and elsewhere in Northern France due to lack of dye stuff[s], and he was supported by Belgian and Italian Delegates who stated that needs of their countries were excessively urgent. The French allege that the delivery of the dye stuffs outside of the option provided for by part VIII, annex VI, paragraph 1, of the treaty will result in excessive prices being insisted upon. According to their statements the 850 tons mentioned in American Mission’s 3601, August 10, 1 a.m., could only be bought at prices three or four times as great as those on the stock lists hereinafter mentioned. The very serious difficulty is also obvious, that if purchases in large quantities are now permitted the stocks on hand when the treaty comes into force will be so reduced as greatly to impair the deliveries under the reparation clauses. The French solution proposed is that the option should not be formally exercised but that deliveries should be anticipated at prices fixed in accordance with the treaty provisions, such deliveries to be deducted from the shares with [of] countries benefiting by the option when the treaty comes into force. Objection was made to this plan by the American and British Delegates who pointed out that an anticipation of the execution of the treaty was involved [Page 450]which might lead to embarrassment and for which in any case authorization of the governments concerned [was necessary]. It was finally arranged that a meeting of experts should be held in London on Tuesday next, September 9, under chairmanship of Lord Moulton to discuss ways and means of meeting the French and other requirements. Request made by Dresel88 to postpone meeting until arrival of American expert was refused. It would be extremely desirable to have an American expert present at this meeting and if Herty mentioned in Department’s 2978, August 28, 3 p.m., has already started he should be directed if possible to proceed to England at once.

Referring your very confidential number 2984, August 28, 1 p.m. [5 p.m.], American Mission has no reason to suppose that export of dye stuffs from occupied territory is possible without authorization of the Reparation Committee but is communicating with Rhineland Commission on the subject and will endeavor to secure positive confirmation immediately. As a matter of policy free export of dyes at the present moment seems extremely undesirable on account of the consequent reduction of stocks as indicated above and the rise in prices. In addition the French needs are very [real] and it is suggested that American dye manufacturers be discouraged from endeavoring to fill their orders in Germany unless in case[s] of the most urgent necessity which American Mission understands from Department’s 2908, August 21, 5 p.m., and also from personal interviews with dye manufacturers passing through here, do[es] not exist at present.

The Commission has received from the German Delegation a copy of the lists of dye stuffs existing on August 15 in the following factories: Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik at Ludwigshafen; Chemische Fabriken, formerly Weiler Ter Meer, at Uerdingen; Farben-fabriken, formerly Friedrich Bayer and Company, at Leverusen; Farbwerke, formerly Meister Lucius and Bruning, at Hoechst; [Kalle] and Company, Akiengesellschaft, stocks [sic] at Biebrich. As only one copy received these will not be [forwarded] unless especially requested, pending arrival of Herty.

Decision of Department on question of policy as to anticipating arrangements under annex VI as suggested in American Mission’s 3601, August 10, 1 a.m. would greatly facilitate future discussions here. It seems unlikely that the British though expressing themselves as desirous to help out the French will consent to an anticipation of the treaty in this respect. Polk.

American Mission
  1. Ellis Loring Dresel, technical adviser, American Commission to Negotiate Peace, 1919; American Commissioner at Berlin, Jan. 1920.