EAC Files, Lot 52M 64, File “215—France”

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Counselor of the American Delegation to the European Advisory Commission (Kennan)

Sir William Strang’ phoned me about one o’clock today.

He said that they had had news from Washington to the effect that Bovenschen had been getting on very nicely in his conversations, and that there had been some talk there about the French agreement. It had been suggested—he thought by Mr. McCloy38 —that they should first make sure that Monnet39 was qualified to discuss the French agreement on behalf of the National Committee, and that when this was confirmed the paper should first be cleared before the Advisory Commission as soon as possible, prior to talks with Monnet.

He said that the British Joint Chiefs had just approached the Foreign Office and suggested that conversations with Monnet be started at once, subject to confirmation of the latter’s competency. The Foreign Office had replied that the Russians had said they had [Page 20]certain observations to make on this document and that it would be better for this reason to bring it first before the Advisory Commission. It was his idea that when the paper was produced before the Commission, we would say to the Russians in effect: “We have been talking together about this matter and wish to talk to the French about it. We would like to know any views you may have, before entering into our discussions with the French.” The Commission could then take note of Russian observations, and could ask that they be communicated to our Governments, to be borne in mind in the talks with Monnet.

He did not consider that the document itself would have to be discussed in detail by the Commission. “We don’t regard the EAC as a body which can go into detail on civil affairs”, he said.

He understood that our Government had already received confirmation of Monnet’s competence to discuss this matter. The British Government had also wired asking for such confirmation, and expected to receive it at any time.

They proposed, therefore, to raise the matter in the EAC, unless Mr. Winant wished to do so himself.

G[eorge] F. K[ennan]
  1. John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War.
  2. Jean Monnet, Commissioner of Armaments, Supplies and Reconstruction in the French Committee of National Liberation.