840.6362/3–1745: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

2802. Following the meeting on Thursday reported in Embassy’s 2714, March 15, 11 p.m., and a meeting of the coal drafting committee last evening, the position of the negotiations on the proposed European Coal Organization may be summarized as follows:

We have reached agreement with United Kingdom, USSE and France that ECO should remain advisory and not an executive body.
The difficulties with the Soviet concerning references to reparation, which we forecasted in Embassy’s 2503, March 10, 7 p.m.,74 and in the third sentence of paragraph 1, Embassy’s 2714, March 15, 11 p.m., came to a head in the coal drafting committee yesterday. It is clear that Borishenko has been strictly instructed from Moscow to press uncompromisingly for the inclusion in its coal document of passages which we cannot accept.
The last sentence A (I) in the draft coal document sent to you in Embassy’s 2600, March 13, 8 p.m.74 reads, “The disposition of German coal will be conditioned by various factors, especially reparation policy as and when it may be laid down”. For this sentence Borishenko proposed to substitute the following: “The distribution of German coal will be conditioned in the first place by the reparation policy and thereafter by other requirements which will be determined by the controlling powers”.
Prolonged discussions at the delegation meetings, the drafting committee meetings and privately, have shown that the Soviet intend [Page 1437] (I) to be a statement of priorities and (II) to imply that decisions on reparations must be completed before ECO can begin to consider any questions relating to German coal supplies; (III) to convey implications as to which countries will determine reparation policy. This was underlined by Borishenko’s reaction to another suggested amendment which was as follows. “The measure of the German surplus which may be made available by the controlling powers for use outside Germany will be conditioned by reparation and other agreed policies.[”] Borishenko said he was ready to consider this if for the words “conditioned by reparation and other agreed policies” the following were substituted: “conditioned in the first place by reparation policy and thereafter by other agreed policies of the controlling powers”. Berger replied that the words “and thereafter” were not acceptable because they implied a decision on priorities, which the ECO meeting was not competent to decide. He also raised questions on the implications of the last four words of the sentence.
At the full delegation meeting on Thursday we made clear, and have repeatedly explained to Borishenko, that in our view the meeting on ECO, as well as ECO itself when it is set up, are not authorized to deal with questions involving reparation policy nor with priorities concerning the disposition of coal mined in Germany, though of course it is possible that ECO might serve a useful purpose in compiling information on the needs of the Allies for coal and in making recommendations on the distribution of any German coal available for export, the destination of which had not already been determined by other policies. We have also emphasized to the Soviet that the activities of ECO should be subject to whatever policies are laid down on reparation and on the foreign trade of ex-enemy countries and should not be allowed to prejudice such policies in any way. We have pointed out that we are not proposing to enter into any discussion for or against the policy issues on German coal which the Soviet are raising, since these are a matter for future discussion through other channels.
In regard to this last point, however, Borishenko’s instructions are that the statement which the Soviet propose contains “a most important principle which must be included” in the coal document. The Soviet appear to be using tactics, familiar to us in our UNERA work here, of attempting to use bodies on meetings intended for specialized discussions as channels for the propagation of their ideas on general policy issues.
Both private and public discussions with the Soviet are taking place in a most friendly and frank atmosphere and the Soviet delegates show an obvious desire to cooperate to the fullest extent that their instructions permit. It seems probable that the outstanding issues on ECO, like those on EEC, will soon have to be taken up directly [Page 1438] with the Soviet Government in the hope of getting the instructions to the Soviet delegates altered.
The French are supporting us fully on ECO as well as EEC. On ECO we think they may be influenced by a desire not to assent to reparation decisions on coal that might be reached only by United States, United Kingdom and USSR. The Department will have noted that Borishenko has used phrases which imply that France would be among the powers desiring reparation.
The coal drafting committee will meet again on Tuesday and the delegations on Wednesday of next week. If no agreement is reached on Wednesday it will be necessary to adjourn for consultation with government[s].
On Monday we hope to send Department text of an instruction which the Foreign Office may send later next week to Clark Kerr75 with reference to an approach to the Soviet Government regarding EEC.

Sent Department as 2802, repeated to Moscow and Paris as numbers 101 and 154.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Sir Archibald J. K. Clark Kerr, British Ambassador in the Soviet Union.