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

6481. For Clayton.

Yesterday evening final paragraph of Dept’s 5132 of November 2: (sent to Berlin as 794 and repeated to London as 9666) was discussed with Alphand.4 On first point Alphand confirmed Embassy’s understanding that difficulty does not lie in French failure expeditiously to return empties to Ruhr. On second point Alphand took note of our desire to implement central transport organization for Germany but indicated clearly that this was not a point on which they were now prepared to give way.

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Alphand countered with information that at Frankfurt meeting late last week General Bedell Smith proposed to Monet appointment of three-man coal expert committee5 one each from US, UK and France, which would in effect have complete responsibility for coal production and transportation within three Western Zones, each, however, reporting individually to his zone commander and through him to his Govt. Bedell Smith is stated further to have informed Monnet that if the French agreed, General Eisenhower would recommend urgently to the President that two other govts be invited to join in creating the committee. French are apparently enthusiastic and M. Bidault has strongly recommended to de Gaulle acceptance of proposal. Alphand views this as first forward step with respect to German coal since Truman directive and further that coordination of coal transport in three Western Zones envisaged in committee proposal removes necessity consideration for coal purposes at this time of central transport organization in Berlin.6

Alphand also expressed regret that Angell7 lacked Washington instructions to discuss with Foreign Office economic aspects of French position of Ruhr, Rhineland.

Sent to Dept as 6481; repeated to Berlin as No. 192 and London as 796.

  1. Hervé Alphand, Director General of Economic, Financial, and Technical Affairs, French Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff, United States Forces, European Theater. Subsequently, in telegram 1082, November 23, 5 p.m., from Berlin, Mr. Murphy informed the Department that the proposal, here attributed to General Smith, was actually made by Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy. General Smith had merely informed M. Monnet of the nature of the proposal. (862.6362/11–2345)
  3. Telegram 6516, November 9, 9 p.m., from Paris, stated: “Alphand informed Embassy yesterday proposal concerning coal committee for Germany reported in Embassy’s 6481 of November 8 has been approved by French Government.” (862.6362/11–945)
  4. James W. Angell, United States Representative, Allied Commission on Reparations; for documentation relating to German reparations, see pp. 1169 ff.