The Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Clayton) to the Secretary of State
3474. From Clayton for Eyes Only of Secretary, Acheson and Lovett. At meeting reviewed in immediate preceding cable,43 Bevin had emphasized recovery of Europe and particularly coal production in Ruhr depended on assured food supply and I took this occasion to outline your views that coal production depended upon other things too. Pointing out that current US shipments of coal to Europe approximated 30–5 [35?] million tons annually at a cost of over 700 million dollars, I said this is an intolerable burden for Europe and that Europe must again become self-sufficient in coal at earliest possible moment. I said that while the Secretary had incomplete information on Ruhr position at the Moscow Meeting, he has now made a thorough investigation and is convinced that British record in the Ruhr is bad, and that a radical change is needed in approaching the German coal problem as sine qua non to any consideration of the over-all European problem. Bevin accepted the view that output and management had been unsatisfactory. He had been working on the problem and had only taken over responsibility following the Moscow Conference but “got caught on food” and was unable to come to grips with the Ruhr difficulty. He claimed credit for raising production to 250,000 tons per day and for the POW Agreement, but said Communist infiltration into mine management and workers caused difficulty. He had a “tussle” with the French regarding their proposal for operation of the mines by French managers which he was convinced by post World War I experience was impracticable. Bevin asked us to “put someone on to me” and expressed passionate interest in getting production up to 400,000 tons daily. I agreed and added that it was the Secretary’s view that the present was no time for experimentation.
[Here follows a paragraph in which Under Secretary Clayton described the portion of his discussion concerned with the situation in Japan.]
To summarize, the two points of criticism you asked me to make were accepted soberly and without rancor by the British and with only weak rebuttal.[Page 933]
As soon as Bevin returns from Paris the Ambassador is going to take the Ruhr problem up actively with Bevin, keeping in touch with General Clay.
- The telegram under reference here is not printed. It briefly reviewed the first of three meetings which Under Secretary Clayton had with British Cabinet members in London, June 24, 25, and 26. For the records of these meetings, which were concerned with the problems of European economic recovery, see volume iii .↩