740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–847: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers to the Department of State

top secret

Martel 43. McWilliams from Humelsine. Following is top secret report of Mr. Dulles’ conversation with De Gaulle95 which Dulles handed to the Secretary this morning:

For Mr. Lovett from the Secretary.

  • “1. The danger from Germany has always come from initiative by Prussia and the influence of that initiative over other Germans. The ever present danger of an all-German Government centered in Berlin is increased by the likelihood that it would either be dominated by the Soviet Union or, as a matter of expediency, join forces with the Soviet Union. Formerly there was a barrier between Germany and Russia because Germany was stronger and Russia feared her. Today Russia is stronger and dares to use Germany, and Germany needs Russian backing. Also the Germans take to the “iron discipline” methods of the Soviet Communist Party.
  • 2. The best insurance is to rebuild Germany in terms of states. There will, of course, be need of central administrations in such matters as railroads, post, currency, etc. But these should be worked out by the states after they are organized and not first be created and imposed by the Allies, although for their own convenience they might establish a new currency.

    A serious defect in the zonal arrangements was that they cut across many historic state lines and that has impeded the reestablishment of German states.

  • 3. There should be a special regime for the Ruhr, along lines of TVA, so that if revived industry could not be a military or economic weapon against the West.
  • 4. Any tri-zonal merger could be predicated on an agreed policy along these lines. France should not put its German zone into a merger designed to be a step in recreating a united Germany under a strong all-German Berlin Government. The vital interests of France are at stake and if a weak French Government should be led to sacrifice those interests, there would be risk of early repudiation of its action by a succeeding French Government.
  • 5. If the above principles could be agreed, the German states could be given, say, one year in which to establish their governments and [Page 794] work out any desired interstate governmental agencies. It would not be necessary to make any “peace treaty” but only to recognize, diplomatically, the de facto status. There should be some continuing military occupation and inspection.
  • 6. On the foregoing basis there would be no obstacle to the active revival of German industry, notably in the Ruhr. There should be close economic relations between the western German states and France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. This would be in the common interest. There is need for coal and industrial goods from Germany and unless German commercial relations with the West become intimate there would be strong orientation toward the East. The Ruhr could be not merely a coal-mining area, but an industrial area. There are many products, for example electrical equipment, at which Germans excel. There has never been, and need not be, strong commercial rivalry between French and Germans. Their efforts can be complementary.
  • 7. There should be increasing economic unity in all of western Europe to create a solid and vigorous grouping of over 100 million people. Small divided units can not withstand the pressure likely to develop from the east where the Soviet Union has its own 200 million plus the satellite states which are being politically and economically integrated with it, and plus perhaps some of the Germans.
  • 8. Africa can, in the long run, be developed to provide food and raw materials in exchange for consumer goods and construction and development work. The people are poor material but the natural products are potentially important.
  • 9. The Italian situation is critical and while Italy will for long be poor and weak, it should be saved from Communism. A great help would be to restore some of the African colonial area, not as colony but under United Nations trusteeship. The psychological effect of this in Italy would be very great. This should be done even though the British may make objections.
  • 10. The British will probably not be very cooperative in working out a clear program for western Europe. They prefer a fluidity which enables them to influence events on a day-to-day basis. They do not want to have to decide definitively whether to throw in their lot with the continent or with their overseas dominions. Uncertainty on the continent postpones the necessity of early choice. Their attitude is perhaps more instinctive, based on tradition, than reason.
  • 11. Three-power negotiations about Germany should not be begun until there is agreement on basic principles. Otherwise the occasion might merely produce discord on which Soviet and Germans would capitalize.”96

  1. The conversation was held in Paris on December 6, 1947.
  2. Telegram Telmar 62, December 10, to London, not printed, replied to this telegram in part as follows:

    “The de Gaulle factor seems to us to make earliest discussions with French on basic principles for tripartite cooperation [in Germany] desirable. Present French Govt’s views on Germany nearer ours than de Gaulle’s are. While de Gaulle’s thinking may tend to exercise restraining influence on present Govt such commitments as it makes now would not lightly be repudiated by Gaullist Govt.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–1047).