The Representative on the Allied
Commission on Reparations (Pauley)
to the Chairman of the Allied Commission
on Reparations (Maisky)1
Dear Mr. Maisky : I was informed this morning that for the third time you again postponed the scheduled Plenary Meeting of the Allied Commission on Reparations. As in the case of the other postponements, this Plenary Meeting was scheduled to discuss your original Memorandum No. 22 which embodies the Soviet Proposal referred to in the Crimea Protocol.3 The American Delegation has now been here twenty-two days. We have not received a single figure supporting the Soviet proposal nor has any attempt been made on the part of the Soviet Government to enlighten either the American Delegation, or so far as I know, the British Delegation as to the basis of this Soviet proposal.
You will recall that at the first informal meeting between you, Sir Walter Monckton and myself, I stated, and you concurred in my belief that it was the joint responsibility of our three delegations to present as much as possible in the way of a definitive reparation program to the heads of our respective governments at their forthcoming meeting about the middle of July.
It is with reluctance that I must point to the lack of progress thus far made toward this end. If we are to have reparations in kind, as all agreed at the Crimea Conference, such a program must be based, in the first instance, upon things and not upon dollars.
At the time you made your twenty billion dollar proposal at the Crimea Conference, none of us had access to Germany. Any money figures which may have been discussed then could only have been based upon pre-war data of a very general character. Now we are in a position to undertake a complete physical inventory of present German assets and to make reasonably accurate estimates of future German requirements for whatever minimum standard of living may [Page 523]be agreed upon. Only by deducting permitted future German minimum requirements from the sum of actual present assets and estimated future production, can realistic net reparation figures be reached.
To attempt to arrive at any fixed monetary figure at this time before making a physical inventory and careful calculations as to permitted German requirements will lead to:
- A total of reparations expressed in money less than the physical amounts available for collection from Germany or,
- A money figure too large for Germany to deliver in physical terms under even the reduced standard of living which is to be allowed and,
- A delay in a program for interim reparation deliveries.
Any approach to the problem of reparations which results in any of the above seems to me wholly unrealistic. I, therefore, suggest in order to have a definitive program to present to the heads of our three governments, that the Allied Commission on Reparations shall:
- Arrive at an agreement between the Big Three as to the relative proportions, expressed in percentages rather than money, to which, as between themselves, each is entitled from such reparations as shall be determined to be available for these powers.
- Agree on principles and procedures whereby the percentages of other claimant nations may be determined.
- Define “reparation”, “restitution” and “war booty” and provide a speedy program of interim reparations for all countries entitled thereto.
In my judgment, it is necessary that we either reach an agreement on the above points to be presented to the heads of our governments on July 15th or failing to agree, that the points of disagreement be presented for decision.
I know that you realize that the lives and future of hundreds of millions of people both in the Soviet Union and in Western Europe are dependent upon prompt and realistic decisions on German reparations. It is for this reason that I believe it my duty to ask for a daily meeting of the three representatives of our respective governments and that a complete report on the program for each Committee as described in the Minutes of the Steering Committee be presented by each such Committee not later than July 10, 1945.