840.811/6–1546: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State


1514. Reference Paris 2819 dated June 12 [11], 1946.58 I have discussed with General Clay contents of reference telegram outlining certain fears of French, Belgians and Dutch that United States position in Control Council might restore German Rhine cartel at their expense. Obviously we have no such intent as we expect reasonably free competition. We would, however, be opposed to French action in placing German barges under French operation and to all intents and purposes under French ownership. If Germany is de-industrialized it is obvious it must be left other means of livelihood. Operation of barges under International Rhine Control can hardly be regarded as war potential. It is, however, a major business in which Germans excelled. Its financial returns are essential to a balanced export-import program. My [Any?] transfer of barges was not a part of reparations program. Any loss of revenue from such operations would increase our own financial liability and would result only from commercial desire and not destruction of war potential. If similar procedure will be followed in other competitive fields such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, etc., Germany would find itself with nothing to export but coal and in the light of the experience of the past months would have much difficulty collecting for the coal.

Sent Department as 1514, repeated to Paris as 158.

  1. Not printed; in this telegram Mr. Merchant reported on the meeting of the Central Rhine Commission and the Duisburg Committee in which French, Belgian, and Dutch representatives expressed apprehensions over Germany’s re-emergence as a predominant Rhine shipping power (840.811/6–1146).