840.811/3–1546: Telegram

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

1523. For Merchant,33 McClure and Rainey. Instructions CRC meeting Apr 10. Numbered points follow paragraph numberings in your 1256 Mar 15.34

US is definitely interested in promoting maximum possible traffic and shipment of goods on Rhine for relief purposes and rapid improvement of economic conditions in neighboring countries during 1946 navigation season. US is therefore disposed to consider any reasonable proposals presented by others at forthcoming meeting of CRC in this connection, always bearing in mind, however, its own and others responsibilities for effective military government in Germany under Potsdam agreement.
US continues to believe that a strengthened IRWC with fully authorized representatives from tripartite zonal transport authorities and from riparian states the simplest and most effective medium for dealing with all Rhine traffic arrangements. For this purpose, US has held conversations with Brit and French during past month and has issued directive to Clay. (ReDeptel 720 Mar 21). It hopes also that riparian states will be agreeable to authorizing their representatives with IRWC to make binding arrangements re traffic control and movement throughout Rhine.
US is inclined to look with disfavor upon setting up separate priorities committee for regulation of shipment of commodities. It [Page 235] favors allowing strengthened IRWC to handle commodity priorities as well as shipping, if it can do this satisfactorily. Alternatively, US is prepared to agree to ECITO discharging function re shipment priorities, if others concur and ECITO is in position to do so. (Reur 66 Brussels Jan 19),35 Dept foresees difficulties in pooling of barges, tugs, etc. along lines of French suggestion due to requirements of military. On this general subject of CRC agenda Dept is prepared to give delegation free hand to discuss proposals presented by other governments. Reference should be made to Dept before taking final stand upon any proposal other than indicated above.
US sees no objection to supplying of vessels along lines of Resolution 2 Jan Brussels CRC meeting (reur 400 Jan 2436).
No objection is seen to victualling arrangement along lines of Brussels Resolution 3. Delegation may discuss any arrangement which does not conflict with rights or duties of US military zonal authorities. Matter should be discussed fully with US liaison officers. US approves resolutions adopted by CRC subcommittee on international control card (reur 55 Frankfurt Feb 19), and by CRC financial subcommittee re supply and payment (reur 1151 Mar 9).37
US favors early completion Rhine craft census, and hopes there may be cooperation among all parties and zonal authorities toward this end.
Dept has no information re attitude of US zonal authorities concerning international passports for boatmen. Confer with US liaison officers and Transport Directorate OMGUS and Advise Dept.
US favors publication of police regulations for Rhine navigation including preparation and release of English translation. US believes that one of most useful functions of CRC can be active publication program re Rhine navigation and engineering affairs, (Urtel 1277 Mar 16 noted.35
As emphasized before, US hopes Eltville Committee will be able to secure genuine collaboration between engineering forces of tripartite group, and will cooperate closely with Technical Committee of CRC. US believes regular review of Eltville proposals by Technical Committee is a desirable procedure before proposals are executed. This will give CRC full information re work projected and permit It to offer suggestions based on its experience and broader concern while projects are still in formative stage.
US approves adoption by CRC of resolutions recommended by Technical Committee Mar 1. (Reur no. 75 Mar 5 Frankfurt.40)
US hopes that more can be done by way of combining German organizations within zones so that there may be a larger measure of international cooperation. Dept has no objection to German secretariat drawn from Wasserstrassendirektion groups at Eltville if this is all that can be achieved as hinted in your 50 Feb 16 Frankfurt.40
No objection is seen to CRC approval of road bridge at Maxau.
Establishment of suitable courts for determination of navigation cases desirable at early date. On the whole, resolution proposed in Duisburg Committee appears satisfactory to Dept. It should be discussed with proper representatives of OMGUS and US zonal authorities. Assume that civil navigation courts have been or will be reestablished in Neths, France and Switzerland. Arbitration system suggested by Secretary-General of CRC appears to involve unnecessary departure from traditional Rhine system and likelihood of complications re enforcement both in occupied territory and riparian states.

It is desirable that riparian states agree if possible to give Rhine shipping courts competence of prewar navigation courts (see Articles 33–40, Mannheim Convention), subject to changes proposed in Articles 54–65 of 1936 draft Revised Rhine Convention (See Padelford Rhine Documents Annex 4). Particularly desirable that parties agree CRC should resume former functions as appeals tribunal.

Essential that there be agreement among zonal authorities and riparian states on navigation and police regulations, and their promulgation, before courts are established. New regulations were adopted in 1939 by Rhine states (See Rhine Documents, Annex 5). Resolution no. 2 proposed to Duisburg Committee should be supported, and CRC should likewise call on riparian states to reaffirm binding force of these regulations. It might also be advantageous for CRC to invite tripartite authorities to give full force and effect to these regulations at earliest possible date.

In conclusion, US hopes that present session of CRC will be marked by harmonious endeavor on part of all to use powers and influence of CRC to greatest extent possible to promote freer and more extensive navigation upon Rhine. With food, agricultural, manufacturing and transportation conditions being what they are in Europe it is imperative that facilities and available equipment on Rhine and adjoining waterways be used to utmost this year. US hopes that military restrictions may be reduced to minimum compatible with effective [Page 237] discharge of responsibilities, and that any shipping not urgently needed by zonal authorities for transport of military supplies may be utilized for relief and commercial transport. Finally, US suggests that CRC undertake at an early date studies looking to drafting of new convention for international regime of Rhine. On basis of prewar experience this will require extensive work. Consequently it should be begun soon.

Attention is called to fact that copies of minutes and relevant papers of Jan CRC meeting have not yet been received. Dept needs full documentation of CRC regularly and as soon after release as possible.

Sent to Paris repeated to Berlin for Murphy and London for Blaisdell and Russell.

  1. Livingston T. Merchant, Economic Counselor in the American Embassy in Paris.
  2. Not printed. This telegram reported the details of the agenda of the meeting of the Central Rhine Committee at Strasbourg of April 10, 1946 (840.811/3–1546).
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed. In this telegram Mr. Caffery reported the details regarding limitations of fuel supplies for vessels and provisions for boatmen (840.811/1–2446).
  5. Neither printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.