The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 1—9:35 p.m.]
1632. Deptels 141466 and 141567 June 26 have been discussed with Gen Clay and Transport Division and I feel impelled to express concern at the Dept’s apparent inclination to attach greater importance to Rhine transport problem (which we feel is no longer of immediate and critical urgency) than to the truly pressing problem of central administrative machinery which is here involved and on which the French attitude has blocked all progress.
Instructions to OMGUS representative at Duisburg conference June 6 were based primarily upon view that compromise proposal [Page 266] under consideration ran counter to whole principle we have been fighting for—namely, the necessity of German central administrative machinery (in this instance in transport field) as provided in Potsdam Agreement. We feel strongly that to yield here as proposed would prejudice our whole position on central administrative agencies and only serve to strengthen French intransigeance on this question and perhaps in other directions as well.
As for Rhine transport problem, Transport Division feels, generally desirable though French participation in Duisburg committee as well as strengthened IRWC would be, that real urgency has definitely receded as far as Rhine traffic situation is concerned. Available barges are now much in excess of cargo to be moved: at Duisburg on one day last week there were 265 barges awaiting cargo. A Dutch trade delegation recently in Berlin showed more concern about Rhine cargoes than any other problem. All this would appear to indicate that Rhine transport bottleneck has been cleared, at least for present, and that with over 1,500,000 tons barge capacity under British-American control as against some 100,000–150,000 under French, we are not in position necessitating yielding to French or Dutch on this matter.
We are in fact much concerned at increasing evidence that French, Dutch and Belgians are aiming at a permanent, drastic reduction in German Rhine fleet, removal of such equipment as reparations, and securing for themselves a dominant, if not monopoly, position in German import and export movements via Rhine. This seems to us to run counter to the level of industry and reparations plans, and to imply a further reduction in German ability to meet its own import needs—with consequent increased reliance on occupying powers.
We believe that our representative should go to the IRWC meeting with instructions to agree to a program of closer collaboration only on a basis which adequately safeguards legitimate German interests, and is consistent with principles we stand for as occupying power.
To Dept as 1632, repeated to Delsec and Paris as 180.