740.00119 EW/11–545

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Riddleberger)

Mr. Berard, Counselor of the French Embassy, called this morning to inform the Department officially of French intentions respecting conversations between the two governments on the Rhineland-Ruhr. The substance of his remarks is set forth below:

Mr. Dunn has been completely informed of developments in London (Anglo-French conversations) and has received copies of all documents which have been “established” as a result of these conversations.
This material constitutes the French plan for the Rhineland-Ruhr region.
Mr. Couve de Murville will arrive in Washington within several days where he will describe the French ideas in detail and will supply any explanations desired. Mr. Berard said that the French Government thought certain misunderstandings had arisen respecting the French proposals and that these misunderstandings had been reflected [Page 892] in the Control Council in Berlin. Mr. Couve de Murville will attempt to make clear the French position on this entire matter.49
The French Government would be highly appreciative if instructions could be given to the United States reparations delegation to listen to what the competent services in Paris nave to say on the economic aspects of the Rhineland-Ruhr question. These would be strictly informal exchanges in which the reparations experts could ask any questions and cable the information to Washington. Such an arrangement would not in any way prejudice the holding of the basic conversations here in Washington.

I told Mr. Berard I would try to give him an answer to paragraph 4 as soon as possible.

James W. Riddleberger
  1. In telegram 6430, November 6, from Paris, Ambassador Caffery reported a further conversation with Mr. Chauvel on Couve de Murville’s projected visit. In the conversation Chauvel “expressed the hope that this visit might serve to clear up ‘certain misunderstandings which have arisen, particularly in Berlin, on the French position.’ He said that ‘the question of Germany’s western frontiers, the Rhineland and the Ruhr should be treated on a governmental level and therefore should be examined on a diplomatic level elsewhere than Berlin.’ He expressed ‘sincere regret that a certain amount of bitterness has apparently arisen between the French and American delegations at Berlin because of their different views on the German problem.’” (740.00119 EW/11–645)

    Ambassador Caffery further reported in telegram 6573, November 13, from Paris, that Couve de Murville was authorized by his Government to commit France “to participate in central administrative organizations for Germany if the Ruhr and Rhineland are excepted from this central control.” (740.00119–Control (Germany)/11–1345)