Draft Memorandum by the Political Adviser to the Representative
on the European Advisory Commission (
Memorandum for the Secretary
Creation of a Separate Rhineland–Ruhr
There are several proposals for special treatment of the Rhineland–Ruhr. They have in common the assumption that control by the Western powers of the economic resources of this area, whether by political or economic means or by a combination of them, will provide a means of assuring our security interests in the European settlement.
All these proposals raise a number of complicated questions, which are bound to be advanced by the other Governments. Before approaching our Allies with this proposal, we need to consider what answers we will give to those questions.
- If the pattern of use of the Ruhr iron, steel, coal, and chemicals remains unchanged and these resources undergo final fabrication in many other parts of Germany, what especial benefit will be derived from “controlling” the raw material and crude manufacturing resources of the Ruhr?
- If the Rhine–Ruhr is to be drawn away from the rest of the German economy and oriented toward the West, what adjustments would the Western countries, including ourselves, have to make in the pattern of their manufacturing and trade in order to accommodate this important area, even on a reduced scale of production, within the western orbit? In controlling this area the Western powers would be drawn between two conflicting objectives: 1, the desire to prevent or restrict a competition of this powerful area against relatively high cost areas in France and Britain, and 2, the need to provide sufficient export markets in Western Europe and overseas to make the Rhine–Ruhr an economically workable area.
- If Germany east of the Oder or Oder–Neisse is cut off, if the Rhine–Ruhr is given a special status and if ten or twelve million Germans are dumped into the rump Germany which would be left in the middle, what economic adjustments would be necessary in that middle area? The middle area is a highly industrial area specializing in machinery and electrical equipment and fabricated consumer goods. To maintain even a minimum subsistence this area would have to become dependent on whatever countries would accept these products in exchange for foodstuffs and raw materials. The most likely market would be found in Eastern Europe because Western European countries and America have highly developed and competitive industries of the same type.
- If as the result of creating a separate Rhine–Ruhr state, Germany [Page 993] falls apart, will a Western German state of some sixteen million be able to withstand the pull exerted by a differently organized German state of some fifty million? Both economic and patriotic forces would tend to pull the smaller Western Germany, over the long run, to rejoin the much greater Eastern German state.
- If a Rhine–Ruhr state is created, what powers will control it? It is more than doubtful that France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, even in combination, are competent to control this area and to work out the adjustments necessary to make it a workable unit. Britain would suffer many disadvantages if she accepted the creation of a continental bloc of this nature outside her own control. If Britain joins in underwriting and controlling this bloc she will be taking a long step toward establishing a west-European bloc which will inevitably come into rivalry with Russia. For this and other reasons the Soviet Union will either oppose the creation of such a bloc outside her control or will insist on a strong voice in controlling and directing it. If, in order to overcome British and Russian opposition, they are brought into the controlling body, the control over the area would basically be in the hands of the same four powers which are already committed to controlling and policing Germany jointly. The British and Russians would then ask: why introduce the great complication of a separate political unit when they have already agreed to control Germany on a four-power basis?
- If this plan is proposed to our Allies, they will ask whether the United States is prepared to underwrite it and, if so, for what period of years and with what commitment of military force and financial contribution. Will such a plan reduce or increase our commitments in Europe and will it present those commitments in a form palatable to the American public and compatible with the purposes with which it entered the war? Will it be able to obtain from Congress the large appropriations which will be necessary to enable the population to subsist during the long period which must elapse before an economically workable adjustment has been made. We must assume that neither France or Britain is able to undertake such an economic commitment on their own resources.
- Printed from an unsigned carbon copy. It seems probable that this was a draft memorandum intended for signature by Dunn or Clayton.↩