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

10028. To Blaisdell.

French Government through its representatives in Washington has expressed serious concern regarding recommendations of American, British and Soviet representatives on Quadripartite Coal Subcommittee in Berlin on Oct. 28 to reduce Dec allocation of coal for liberated Europe from previously set figure of 1,200,000 tons to 900,000–1,000,000 tons. (See Berlin cable CM–In13103, October 28—theater CC 18205—and War Dept. cable to Berlin CM–Out 82168 of Nov. 8, 1945.13)
Concern of French regarding this matter, expressed in note of November 914 presented to Dept. by French Embassy and in discussions between Dept. and French representatives on November 13, comprised following points:
Fear that recommendation of Oct. 28, which was to come up for decision on Nov. 10, constituted a departure from policy laid down by President Truman in directive of last July, whereby all necessary steps were to be taken to maximize production of German coal and its transport to Western Europe. French representatives referred in this connection to possibility that authorities in Berlin in making recommendation may have made too liberal allowance for minimum winter requirements necessary for safety of troops (see para 7 of 18205).
Proposed change in allocation would mean serious deficit in coal which French had hoped would be available to them, and this would affect seriously their industrial program.
Expectation that proposed change in allocation would result in more coal being made available to Germans than to peoples of liberated Europe. French representatives cited in this connection certain figures telephoned to them from Paris which purported to show that as result of change average amount of coal per head in month of Dec. would be higher in Soviet and British zones than in U.S. and French zones and also higher than average in France. It was stated that neither French Government nor French public opinion would be able to understand such a state of affairs.
French representatives requested Dept. to send instructions to American representatives in Berlin reaffirming that policy of this government with respect to allocation of German coal remained same as in the July directive of President Truman, and suggesting that decisions to be taken in Nov 10 meeting be changed accordingly.
In discussions with French representatives, Dept. took following position:
There had been no change in policy laid down in the directive.
Reference was made to discussions during General Clay’s recent visit to Washington to confirm fact that there had been no change in policy laid down in directive of July, and that American representatives were fully aware of this fact.
Recommendation made by Amer, British and Soviet representatives on Oct. 28. had been motivated not by change in policy or shortage in actual or anticipated production of coal but by expected transport bottlenecks which would prevent deliveries of German coal to liberated Europe in excess of 900,000 to 1,000,000 tons. Reference was made in this connection to terms of cable of Oct. 28 and to situation which had arisen with respect to allocations and liftings in month of September. It was further stated that Dept. believed that recommended allocation for month of Dec. would not preclude larger amounts being delivered to liberated Europe if transport facilities should permit greater movement of coal.
In view of reasons of preceding paragraph Dept. told French representatives that it was not necessary to send instructions to Berlin along lines suggested by them. Instead Department proposed to: (a) instruct American member of ECITO to urge that ECITO take all practical steps with view to reducing present transport impediments to greater movement of coal out of Germany into liberated Europe (b) advise American representatives in Berlin of concern of French Government regarding allocation for December.
In connection with first proposal (para 5 (a) Dept. suggests that:
Amelioration of transport facilities for movement of coal out of Germany into Western Europe be made special item of agenda of projected meeting of ECITO in Brussels towards end of November, and
in view of late date of this meeting, ORMOA15 be asked to investigate forthwith for purpose of presenting concrete suggestions to ECITO meeting in Brussels.
This cable repeated to Paris for Merchant16 and to Berlin for Murphy and copy being transmitted to War Dept. for information of Clay.
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Office for Relations with Military and Occupation Authorities. This body was part of ECITO and was located in Brussels.
  4. Livingston T. Merchant, Economic Counselor, U.S. Embassy.