Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Clayton)

top secret
Participants: Secretary Marshall
Mr. Clayton

The Secretary asked me to make it quite clear to Mr. Bevin that he regarded the British management of the Ruhr coal problem as pathetic; that the production of coal in the Ruhr is essential to European recovery as we all know, and that we cannot participate in any big new commitments to help Europe get back on its feet unless we know that the problem of producing coal in the Ruhr will be licked and quickly.

The Secretary added that we could not sit by while the British tried out any ideas which they had of experimenting with socialization of coal mines; time does not permit of experimentation.

The Secretary added that when he was in Moscow he was not sufficiently informed on this subject to take the firm stand which he now takes. At that time the only advice and information which he had came from our occupation authorities in Germany. Since then he has had information and advice from other sources and is now convinced that the British have made an absolute failure in the Ruhr.

The Secretary further stated that since we are putting up all the money in keeping Japan alive, we cannot longer stand for punitive interference by the British in our programs there. We must get the Japanese on their feet as quickly as possible in order to get the burden of supporting them off our backs.39

W.[illiam] L. C.[layton]
  1. For documentation on the occupation and control of Japan, see volume vi .