862.60/8–2447: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


3661. For General Clay and Douglas from State and War. In personal and confidential talk between Strang, Turner, Draper and Stillwell,69 Strang made clear that he authorized to receive American Trusteeship proposals but to discuss only effect on production of present uncertainty concerning ownership issue and not authorized to conclude any agreement. Presumably latter might be modified by additional instructions if satisfactory compromise basis achieved, but this not definitely stated. British recognize desirability continuity of German management under US–UK Control Group but favor opportunity be given to Germans, preferably on Laender basis, to reach decision on nationalization even though actual implementation delayed until coal production under proposed management arrangement has approached prewar levels, say 350,000 tons per day. Turner as personal and unofficial suggestion only put forward the thought that instead of the Trusteeship or some similar arrangement lasting a definite period of years to which British strongly opposed, an arrangement [Page 953]might be proposed by us under which Trusteeship should continue until production had reached 350,000 tons per day and been maintained at that average level for period of, say six months. Then Germans would be permitted make decision as to future ownership status and actually carry out the decision. They would insist that nationalization not be precluded as one of the possible German decisions. This appears to us here as real possibility for acceptable solution and as the only compromise basis on which British approval might be obtained. Would appreciate views of Clay and Douglas urgently.70

  1. The officials named here were all participants in the American-British conversations on Ruhr coal being held in Washington.
  2. General Clay’s comments on this telegram were contained in telegram 72088, August 25, from London, p. 1059.