740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–1146: Telegram

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

top secret
us urgent

2818. In the course of a personal and strictly confidential conversation Chauvel alluded to the coming meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, referring particularly to the differences between the Russians vs Anglo-Americans on the German question. He said that while he and the “Quai d’Orsay” hope that agreement on Germany can be reached between the “west and the east” the Quai d’Orsay has serious misgivings that this will be possible. In the latter event he expressed “the personal opinion” that it appeared possible that a political and economic division of Germany might occur with a line of demarcation drawn between the Russian Zone on the one hand and the American and British Zones on the other. Under such circumstances he assumed that the USA and Great Britain would cooperate closely in organizing the overall policies of their two zones. He said that he could understand the necessity for this but that in such an event the French Govt would in all probability find it impossible to go along with us.

He went on to say that while he and other career personnel in the Quai d’Orsay would from both an economic and international viewpoint wish to go along with us, for French internal political reasons he believed that it would be “impossible for any French Govt to adopt an official policy of supporting the Anglo-Saxon powers against the Soviets in Germany.” He pointed out that the French Communists would bitterly oppose any such policy with all means at their disposal and that through their control of the CGT they were in a position to make quite impossible the task of any French Govt. He added furthermore that the MRP (which has been the leading advocate of present French Policy) would probably not subscribe to any official policy of joining with the Anglo-Saxon powers in Germany unless satisfaction were given to the MRP thesis for the Ruhr, Rhineland [Page 567] and Saar. Even in the latter event in view of their responsibility as the largest party they would probably not adopt any policy which would be certain to throw the Communists into the opposition thus creating internal confusion and chaos.

With the foregoing in mind he said that he hoped most earnestly that if, because of lack of agreement, Germany were divided into two zonal (Soviet vs Anglo-Saxon) spheres of influence, we would not press the French to go along with us formally and officially since such pressure on our part might simply force the French Govt (as a result of internal Communist pressure) to take a position of formal refusal. “On the other hand,” he said, “in the event of the separation of Germany into two zones the French will for very practical reasons be naturally attracted to the Anglo-Saxon group. If we can commence by dealing with you and trying to reach agreement on individual questions affecting the French and Anglo-Saxon zones as they arise, rather than being pressed to join actively and officially with you I believe that a gradual evolution of the French position will occur and eventually when a definitive French Govt is established there will be a possibility that the isolated arrangements or agreements which we have reached with you as a matter of expediency could be formalized by some real agreement.”

In conclusion Chauvel said French have no hope that any definitive solutions for the German problem will be agreed to at the coming meeting of the Foreign Ministers. The Quai d’Orsay hopes, however, that the other three powers will agree to establishing an agenda for discussion of German questions which could be subsequently examined by the Foreign Ministers’ Deputies—or in line with Secretary Byrnes’ suggestion last month—by a special group of Deputies. He mentioned as possible points to be included, the question of central administrations, the Ruhr and Rhineland, federal status for Germany versus the present concept, the demographic problem, and other interrelated economic and financial questions. “In other words,” he said, “the German problem must be treated as a whole rather than piecemeal as heretofore.” In reply to my question whether the French would propose such an agenda when the Foreign Ministers reconvene Chauvel replied that Bidault has not as yet made up his mind and that final decision cannot be taken until the new govt has been formed but that Quai d’Orsay officials will urge it.24

Sent Dept 2818, repeated London 406.

  1. On June 22, in telegram 3043, Ambassador Caffery reported on another conversation with M. Chauvel in which the latter indicated his belief that, provided the present deadlock continued, France would inevitably draw closer to the American and British positions on individual German questions, as long as this process did not appear to be part of a definite Western policy of cooperation against the Soviet Union (740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–2246).