740.00119 E.W./11–1845: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

6677. From Angell No. 65. Meeting of heads of delegations on November 16 began discussions of “Memorandum Relating to Inter-Allied Separations Agency” which was submitted to smaller powers in connection with invitation to Paris Conference.35 Phelps attended for Angell who was engaged in unsuccessful attempt to fly to Berlin for weekend visit with Murphy and Clay.

[Here follows inconclusive discussion of paragraph 2 of the memorandum relating to the functions of the Inter-Allied Separations Agency.]

It was decided temporarily to postpone discussion on IAEA functions and to discuss remainder of IAEA memo.

Paragraph 3 of memo was accepted.

With respect to paragraph 4 of memo Netherlands delegate submitted proposed amendment (see my immediately following telegram No. 6636). Basic reasons given for proposal were to give smaller countries greater voice in committee and to establish practical rotation scheme giving time for development of working relationships between Big Three and delegates of smaller powers on committee. South African delegate approved proposal but suggested, because of possibility of several members of committee being claimants and therefore [Page 1395] not entitled to vote, that there should be a minimum quorum of four; or committee members who were claimants should nominate successors to sit on committee to decide between conflicting claims.

Belgian and Yugo delegates supported Netherlands proposal and strongly favored regional grouping as offering economic and political opportunity for regional cooperation. Yugo delegate suggested, in view of possible three to three decision in committee of six, that there be four instead of three regional groups of smaller powers each with representative on the committee, thus making a committee of seven.

Greek and Norwegian delegates opposed Netherlands proposal on ground that 6-month period of rotation would bar smallest powers from sitting on committee until major task of reparation allocations was finished. Greek delegate also opposed regional groups because proposal involved political decisions outside scope of Conference and possible dangers. Indian delegate favored original proposal of Big Three as more international in character than regional proposal of Netherlands but stated that he would not oppose Netherlands proposal, if 6 months were reduced to 4 months, since regional proposal was strongly favored by many of the countries for reasons of sentiment and prestige.

Views of Big Three were requested on Netherlands proposal. Waley stated that Big Three would request considerable portion of reparations and should be correspondingly represented on committee and that Big Three conflicting claims with respect to very large plants should not be settled by a few smaller powers. Waley was sympathetic to proposal that claimant should not be judged in own case but offered no concrete proposal. Phelps expressed sympathy with right of party in interest to present case before committee and with proposal that interested member should not be judge in own case. He reserved expression of US views on regional blocks. He also suggested possibility that instead of sending question back to assembly in case of tie vote in committee, that might send disputed item back to Secretariat for further study and possibly inclusion in new program.

Rueff pointed out that original Big Three proposal was compromise between voting by head and voting by reparation share and stated that original proposal was more democratic than voting by share. He also stated that settlement of Big Three conflicting claims by smaller powers would not be satisfactory to Big Three. Although Netherlands proposal attractive to the mind he felt it was not practical in application and had dangerous political consequences.

Depts views are urgently request[ed] on Netherlands proposal especially with respect to (a) regional grouping of smaller powers (b) abstention from voting of interested members despite possibility of [Page 1396] consequent loss of Big Three preponderance in committee (c) election of successors for adjudication of conflicting claims if claimant members abstain from voting (d) whether committee larger than five is acceptable.

At close of meeting Rueff proposed reversal of decision by agenda committee on order of items so as to permit discussion of restitution before allocation of reparation shares. This proposal is another indication that Rueff is taking advantage of smaller powers position on restitution to further French aims in this matter. French have stated their position on restitution as an alternative between (a) obtaining full restitution prior to obtaining full share of reparations or (b) obtaining larger share of reparations in light of unsatisfied French restitution claims. Decision of delegates on Rueff proposal to discuss restitution immediately was temporarily held up by US proposal that comparative tables prepared by statisticians for various claimants should be examined at once in order to determine whether further work by statisticians is necessary to facilitate comparison of various claims. Rueff agreed subject to understanding that discussion on restitution would begin as soon as possible and that discussion on allocation of reparation shares would not be extended unduly. [Angell.]

  1. See telegram 4814, October 16, to Paris, and footnote 63, p. 1346.
  2. See telegram 6678, November 18, 2 p.m., from Paris, infra.