740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–2247

The French Ambassador (Bonnet) to the Secretary of State 33

No. 430

Mr. Secretary of State: In the course of the meeting which you had in London on December 18 [17] with Mr. Georges Bidault,34 you were good enough to inform him of your interest that conversations concerning Germany take place in Berlin and at London.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has instructed me to inform you that he is disposed to accept the proposals which you made him on this subject, the terms of which were specified at your meeting with him.

—With respect to a certain number of urgent technical problems, Mr. Georges Bidault agrees that French representatives in Germany should proceed as soon as possible to exchange views with their British and American colleagues at Berlin and under the authority of their Commanders in Chief on the following points:
The French representatives will be invited to make a critical analysis of the measures which have been taken by the American and British authorities with a view to constituting the bizone. At the same time they will set forth their conceptions of the organization of a fused zone but without implying in any way a decision relative to the fusion, of the French zone.
The French representatives will study with their American and British colleagues the measures which might eventually be put [Page 830] into effect in the French zone with a view to harmonizing the activity of the Allies in the western zones.
The proposals relative to currency reform which are to be made by the American and British Commanders might, in case they are rejected by the Soviet authorities, become the subject of studies looking forward to their being adopted in the three other zones.
Views will be exchanged concerning the methods best adapted to facilitating the movement of persons and goods between the western zones without changing their present political situation.
The question of the financial arrangements between the Saar and Germany, as well as that of Saar coal, will be the subject of immediate negotiations in view of the urgency of arriving at an agreement on these two points. It is understood that it will be up to France to win acceptance in the ECO of the solutions on which an agreement has already been reached between experts in Berlin and which will be notified by the three powers to this body.
Finally, means will be examined whereby credits placed at the disposal of the western zones may be utilized in such a way as to facilitate as broadly as possible the reestablishment of commercial exchanges between western Germany and her neighbors.
As you were good enough to make clear to Mr. Georges Bidault, these conversations will in no way prejudge political decisions, and the question of the fusion of the three zones will not be raised at Berlin.35
—At the same time as these urgent technical problems are being studied, long-term political questions which arise concerning the German settlement, particularly the future status of the Ruhr, which is of the very first importance for France, must be considered. Mr. Georges Bidault agrees that these conversations should open in London in the second half of January or even sooner if that is possible.

Please accept [etc.]

H. Bonnet
  1. The source text is marked “informal translation”.
  2. See the memorandum of conversation by Ambassador Douglas, p. 813.
  3. A memorandum of December 31, 1947, from Samuel Reber to Under Secretary Lovett, comments on this paragraph as follows:

    “With reference to Paragraph 6 on Page 3 of the French note, the records of the conversations in London indicate that the Secretary proposed that the fusion of the three zones would be an evolutionary process which should take place after the French had an opportunity to examine the US–UK fusion agreement and after the removal of the French zonal restrictions on the movement of people and goods. It is our further understanding that no pressure would be brought to bear on the French to bring about this fusion but that discussions in respect to the matter might take place as soon as the French indicated their study was complete. Apparently no definite proposal to discuss fusion in Berlin was made. The French throughout have insisted that these discussions should take place elsewhere, to which no objection has been raised.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–2247)

    In a memorandum to Reber on January 5, 1948, Assistant Secretary of State Saltzman commented as follows:

    “Your proposed memorandum to Mr. Lovett dated December 31, 1947, conforms with my understanding regarding the talks with the French in Berlin, both from what I remember in London and what I have heard and seen since returning here.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–2247.)