862.6362/3–2547: Telegram

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


1279. The Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Teitgen told me today that his government is still exceedingly worried about the Ruhr coal situation and most unhappy in regard to Bevin’s stand in that connection at Moscow. He said that if France can obtain a reasonable solution for the Ruhr coal business it would be much easier for his government to support our thesis on a number of other points at Moscow. All the more because the entire Cabinet he said except the Communist basically desires to cooperate with the United States.

First of all he said his government considers the Four Power pact to be essential. Next his government would go along with us in regard to economic unity of Germany and also in raising certain production levels. His government believes that a provisional government based on the Laender but with certain delegated powers to a central authority should be set up without delay, especially in view of the fact that it is obvious no definite peace treaty for Germany can be terminated at an early date. “Furthermore” he said “the powers of the central authority [Page 401] could be gradually extended. I personally envisage the possibility that one day it might evolve into a real central government”.

“Then there is” he said, “the question of unification of our zones. In principle we are not opposed to that but it would be difficult for us to sign a solemn agreement for unification. On the other hand unification of our zones could be effected little by little on an informal basis. The same result could be achieved and we would avoid the complications with the Communists which a public notice of unification would bring on for us”. He then repeated “in view of our public opinion on coal, however, we do not feel that we can contribute to any of these matters until we have the coal matter settled.”

He remarked “Stalin told Bidault in effect ‘you vote with us and we will vote with you’”. “Obviously” said Teitgen “that is the last thing we want to do and Bidault made it clear that we could not enter into such an agreement”.50

He added “you are now about to spend a lot of money to keep the Communists out of Greece and Turkey which is very fine; but don’t you think it is worth while keeping the Russians out of here too? What I mean is this, if we have an economic collapse because we don’t get coal the Communists will probably be the gainers.”

Repeated London 253; Moscow for US Delegation 181.

  1. For additional information on the Stalin-Bidault conversation in Moscow on March 17 under reference here, see telegram 974, Delsec 1339, March 24, from Moscow, p. 396.