740.00119 Control (Germany)/11–345: Telegram

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

6383. Gen. de Gaulle asked me to come to see him this morning to explain again the French point of view in regard to the setting up of any sort of central govt in Germany. He began by saying that whoever dominates Saxony and Prussia also dominates Germany; that any central govt set up in Germany would inevitably fall into the Russians’ hands; that the setting up of a central govt would inevitably tend to the restoration and strengthening of Germany; that France in no event would be a match for a revived Germany within the Russian orbit; that France could not fight Germany under those conditions either alone or with the aid of the British Empire and the US; that a revived Germany would certainly eventually invade France; that France would succumb and all Europe would be Russian. “Besides” he added “we have a lot of Communists here.” He said “you are far away and your soldiers will not stay long in Europe. It is hard for you to understand the difference: it is a matter of life and death for us; for you, one interesting question among many others.” “The British” he remarked “lack courage and are worn out. We can expect nothing from them in the way of facing the Russo-German combination.”

I endeavored to set out the point of view of our military authorities in Germany. He said “I know that for them the setting up of a central administration would make things much easier: Germany would be much easier to handle and to govern, but I repeat for us it is a matter of whether or not France is to continue to exist as an independent nation.” He denied that France had made any commitment in regard to taking any part in a central administration. “We were not at Potsdam. A Germany within her 1936–1937 frontiers was once envisaged but since that time big slices have been handed over to the Russians and Poles.”

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He then went on to speak of the Ruhr and the Rhineland and set out again his often repeated arguments for internationalization of the Ruhr and the setting up of some sort of Rhineland state. He pretended that he could not understand why we have not agreed on this. “Even with Russian participation” he said “it is better to do these things than to do nothing at all.”

Then he went on to say “Why not set up separate states, Bavaria, Baden, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Hanover. After those states are set up if they want to federate well and good—that is an entirely different approach to the problem.”

“You are mistaken” he said “if you believe you can prevent the Russians from dominating a German central govt. They have all the useful weapons at hand and they are not over-scrupulous as to how they would use them. For instance, there are Communists in our zone and in yours and in the British. Do not forget how many Communist Deputies there were in the Reichstag before Hitler.”

He made some observations about how little coal was coming out of Germany and criticized the British for their inertia and inactivity in getting coal out of the Ruhr mines.

He remarked on my leaving that he intended to write a letter to the “Doyen d’Age” of the recently elected Assembly just before the Assembly meets November 6 “turning in his powers”.