740.00119 Council/3–946

The British Ambassador ( Halifax ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

My Dear Secretary of State: You will remember telling me on March 6th of your proposal that there should be a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Paris on April 15th and asking me to find out from Mr. Bevin how he felt about it before you sent off telegrams to him and Monsieur Molotov.

I have now received a telegram from Mr. Bevin asking me to thank you and give you the following reply.

Since you spoke to me there has been a new development in the form of the French proposal for four power discussions on the question of central German administrations and Western Germany.51 Mr. Bevin feels that in view of the long deadlock which has existed in Germany over central administrations and the urgency of reaching decisions on the Ruhr and Rhineland, it is necessary to settle these two connected questions at the earliest possible moment and he is thus disposed to fall in with this French proposal. He would, therefore, be quite ready to agree with your proposal for a meeting of the four Foreign Ministers in Paris on April 15th. But in his view the first item for discussion should be the questions raised by the French about Germany. The meeting could secondly discuss the question of the organisation and procedure of the Peace Conference, which is due to start on May 1st, and also any important outstanding questions connected with the draft peace treaties if any have been left unsettled by the deputies.

I am also asked to explain that the Dominion Prime Ministers are likely to begin discussions in London on April 23rd and Mr. Bevin would, therefore, have to go to London to attend some of their meetings during the last week of April.

I am to add that so far as Mr. Bevin is concerned he would strongly deprecate putting to Monsieur Molotov any proposal for a four power [Page 28] meeting until we have had some moderately satisfactory reply to our remonstrances regarding Persia.

Yours sincerely,

For the Ambassador:
D. D. Maclean
  1. The French proposal for a four-power conference on the question of central German administrative organs and Western Germany was contained in the note of March 1, 1946, from Foreign Minister Bidault to the Secretary of State, the translation of which is quoted in telegram 1024, March 2, from Paris, vol. v, p. 512. For additional documentation regarding the question of the establishment of central administrative institutions in Germany, see ibid., pp. 481 ff.
  2. Second Secretary of the British Embassy.