CFM Flies: Lot M–88: Box 104: Anglo-US-French Conversations

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy )31


I attended a meeting between Secretary of State Marshall and Mr. Bevin at 14 Prince’s Gate in company with Ambassador Douglas, Generals Clay and Robertson, and Mr. Frank Roberts (private secretary to the British Foreign Minister) today.

Before lunch there was a general discussion including certain matters relating to Latin-America, the Far East, Australia, Canada, Indonesia and Burma which are not pertinent to this memorandum.

It was agreed that as a result of the adjournment of the recent meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London that the US/UK Military Governments in Germany would proceed to achieve certain results in bizonia, carefully avoiding any dramatic moves or spectacular statements.

German currency. It was agreed that a further effort should be made to obtain four-power agreement in the Control Council regarding a new German currency. This involved a discussion regarding wages and price controls and emphasis was laid on the point that trade unions cannot function without a balanced relationship between prices and wages. Mr. Bevin was particularly insistent on this point.

Political Government and Western Germany. It was agreed that the Military Governments should work out considered plans for a political structure in bizonia but that there should be no unseemly haste. The views of the German population are to be considered and it might be found wise not to name as a government for Western Germany whatever political structure might be developed. There should [Page 828] be ample consultation with the Germans themselves. Both Mr. Marshall and Mr. Bevin seemed content to leave the details and procedure very much to the discretion of Generals Clay and Robertson. The Economic Council would undoubtedly form the nucleus for the new organization.

Control Council. There was discussion of the future of the Control Council and of our situation in Berlin. There was joint determination to remain in Berlin and to continue functioning on a quadripartite basis under the agreement of November 4, 1944.32

French Participation. It was to be made amply clear that the French were welcome whenever they evinced sufficient interest to participate on a trizonal basis. There was no intention to force this upon the French but rather to allow the initiative to come from the French. The political difficulties which might arise in the event of French participation were recognized, particularly should the French insist upon some form of veto power and also desire to tie the Ruhr and Rhineland issues in to an agreement for a trizonia.

The Ruhr. The British manifest a certain coyness about the Ruhr and General Robertson spoke with some emphasis against the early injection of this issue. He did not believe that concession should be made to the French on this score in order to induce them to join up on a trizonal basis.

Mr. Marshall mentioned that he had told Mr. Bidault that the Anglo-American fusion could be taken as a basis for discussion with the French regarding their eventual participation.

It was agreed that conversations would take place in Berlin with a special French team who are being designated (according to M. Alphand, they will include de Carbonnel, Leroy-Beaulieau and some others) regarding trade relations with the French Zone, the matter of zonal boundary relations for the movement of persons and goods. Mr. Douglas mentioned the question of the Saar coal and the relation with ECO. This will be the subject of discussion with the French team in Berlin. It was not believed possible to credit the French with the Saar coal production as a part of French production. This would mean allocation of Ruhr coal to satisfy the needs of the French Zone and a readjustment of ECO allocations as ECO goes out of existence on January 1 and is replaced by a committee of ECE in which there is Russian participation. It was considered undesirable that the new body should become involved in the decision of this [Page 829] matter. Mr. Bevin discounted, however, the Soviet participation, pointing out that the Soviet Union would not exercise a veto power in ECE.

Later at lunch there was a discussion regarding dismantlings and reparations deliveries from the Western Zones. Mr. Bevin’s opinion seemed to be unchanged regarding the obligation to deliver to the Soviet Union the share of dismantled industrial equipment to which the Soviet Union would be entitled under the Potsdam protocol. Mr. Marshall stated that he would have to reserve his opinion on this subject until he had an opportunity to discuss it in the Cabinet in Washington, where there was some divergence of view. General Clay had suggested a compromise solution by which dismantlings and allocation would continue and the share to which the Soviet Union would be entitled under the Potsdam protocol would be placed in some form of escrow pending the development of the general situation in Germany.

Robert Murphy
  1. The source text was transmitted by Murphy to Hickerson on December 20, 1947, under cover of a letter which read in part as follows:

    “As you know, right before departure from London I attended the meeting at Lew Douglas’s house. I presume that you have been filled in about it either by the Secretary or Lew. I made a few rough notes of the meeting and I enclose a memorandum for your personal information.”

  2. On November 14, 1944, the representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on the European Advisory Commission in London signed an Agreement on Control Machinery in Germany. For text, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 124, or Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) 3070.