The British Embassy to the Department of State
His Majesty’s Government is of the opinion that arguments in favour of French representation on the Reparations Commission to be established in Moscow are so strong that they feel justified in proposing that the question be reopened with the United States and with the Soviet Governments in spite of the disagreement on this subject at the Crimean Conference.14
The principal reasons that occur to His Majesty’s Government are as follows:
- The French Government will have a zone of occupation in Germany and will be represented on the Allied Control Commission. They will thus be in the physical position to influence the execution of reparation policy and if confusion is to be avoided it will be essential that they should be associated from the start with the formulation of that policy. Any reparation policy that was not pursued on lines agreed by the occupying powers would be doomed to failure.
- If the French are excluded they will have what will seem to many countries a justifiable sense of grievance. This might assist them in taking the lead among the smaller European Powers and in organizing opposition to the decisions of the Great Powers. Such a development would have a serious effect on the ability of the Great Powers to organize Germany and Europe on lines which would avoid general friction.
- France has a peculiarly vital concern in policy towards Germany. Reparation is only a part of such policy but it looks very large in the eyes of the continent of Europe and is closely connected with many other aspects of the policy towards Germany which will require willing French co-operation.
- France is represented on the European Advisory Commission on whose agenda some of the questions connected with reparation already stand. She is thus entitled to raise these questions in the European Advisory Commission and can hardly be kept in ignorance of what is happening in the Moscow Commission.
These arguments seem to constitute an overwhelming case in favour of French participation in the Moscow Commission from the start. Problems being considered in the European Advisory Commission [Page 1178] and to be considered by the Moscow Commission are so interconnected that unless the parties concerned are the same nothing but confusion and delay can result. Whatever view is held on the contribution of France to the war or on her claims to reparation, such confusion and delay in settling these major issues are to be deplored on every ground and His Majesty’s Government find it difficult to understand what advantage there can be in a policy which causes great administrative difficulty while increasing the alienation of the French Government. They therefore urge most strongly that the United States, Soviet and United Kingdom Governments should agree without delay to invite the French Government to take part from the start in the work of the Moscow Reparation Commission.
His Majesty’s Government is also making representations in the above sense to the Soviet Government.