The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador (Bonnet)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency the Ambassador of France and has the honor to refer to his note No. 375 of June 6, 1946,91 dealing with the coal supply of France.

The Secretary of State regrets that there has been an apparent misunderstanding of the position expressed by officials of the Department [Page 783] of State regarding the problems of German coal and it seems desirable to clarify the American position.

The Department of State has given frequent assurances of its desire to increase French coal supplies and to accomplish this end, has helped to effect measures in the United States to enlarge American coal exports, taken steps to increase production of coal in Germany, and advocated recognition of the needs of France in the allocation deliberations of the European Coal Organization. The President of the United States, in the statement announcing the loan agreement with France, renewed the assurance of our earnest desire and continuing support for increases in French coal supplies.92

The French representatives, in discussing in the Department of State the difficult situation in June and July of this year resulting from the severe curtailment of American coal shipments, appear to have misunderstood the American position regarding German coal exports. While it was agreed that the American representatives on the Allied Control Authority and the European Coal Organization would be urged to obtain the greatest volume of coal exports practicable from both the United Kingdom and Germany, there was no agreement to limit German consumption in the three Western Zones to 3,000,000 tons nor to insist on the export of any particular amount from German stocks. The Department of State has indicated many times to the American element of the Allied Control Authority that it desires to increase German coal exports. The American representative is fully aware of his Government’s interest in the provision of coal for France and of its policy of clear priority with respect to the recovery of the liberated countries as against Germany. The representatives of the four occupying powers in Germany sitting in the Allied Control Authority, having the direct responsibility for the administration of Germany and its coal resources, are in the best position to know the minimum requirements of Germany and to make the quantitative decisions necessary.

The Secretary of State, in his conversation with the Foreign Minister of France in Paris made it clear that no definite quantities of coal could be promised to the French Government as a result of these facts.

The steps taken by the United States Government to relieve the situation in the month of June were outlined in the note delivered by the American Ambassador in Paris to the French Foreign Minister on June 3.93 From present indications, it appears possible to resume substantial shipments of coal from the United States in June, which will greatly relieve the whole European coal situation.

  1. Not printed, but see last paragraph of footnote 88 above.
  2. For text of the President’s statement, see Department of State Bulletin, June 30, 1946, p. 1127.
  3. The text of this note is contained in telegram 2625, May 31, supra.