The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State
3817. For the Secretary. Embtel 3816, July 12,51 represents British comments and suggestions and has been shown them. The following I could not include:
In regard to item 11, Deptel 2959, July 10,52 re removing uncertainty of ownership north German coal mines, Bevin said that in view of the statements he had made before the House of Commons, he could not again agree to a five-year period. Were he to do so he would precipitate [Page 938]a serious political question for him here which would weaken his general position. I am not able to judge fairly his estimate but I have the impression that a plan which would leave the question of ownership in abeyance for five years, or until later, when a responsible German Government could decide the matter, would be generally accepted here except by a few extreme left backbenchers (Berger, whose contacts with labor MP’s are broad, confirms this impression).
Bevin further said that he was afraid a five-year commitment would have the effect of disturbing Schumacher and his following in the British zone.
You will note that the British have added to the suggested agenda for the forthcoming meeting, the discussion of financing the bizonal area. If we are to carry heavier burdens, I should think that it would be appropriate for us to have a greater say in economic matters and particularly in the matter of ownership of the mines.