862.60/8–2547: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Acting Secretary of State

top secret
urgent
niact

4604. For Lovett from Douglas and Murphy. ReDeptel 363871–3661.72

1.
Our views in regard to inclusion of paragraph d in any statement which may be published in England is as follows:
(a)
It would, we think, cause hardly a ripple on general public sentiment in this country.
(b)
Within certain elements of the trade union movement it would doubtless be attacked and would cause opposition and resentment. It should be noted, however, that at a small dinner with seven or eight labor MPs, when among other things public ownership of the coal mines in Germany was discussed, they took the general view that the matter could well be held in abeyance for several years.
(c)
Bevin has made a commitment to the House of Commons and insofar as we know, his position previously reported on this question remains unchanged.
Our conclusion is that the inclusion of paragraph d would not prejudice general public opinion in England one way or the other.
2.
As to the second question. First, Ave are not clear as to whether the compromise contemplates that only the Germans in north Rhineland Westphalia will vote on the question of public ownership of the coal mines of the Ruhr, or whether it contemplates that the Germans in the remainder of the Laender, at least of the bizonal areas, be permitted [Page 954]to have a voice in the determination of this question. It seems to us that there is a distinction between the socialization of a small utility servicing a limited area and the coal mines of the Ruhr which it is universally agreed are of such great significance to all of the people of Germany.
If all of the people of Germany as it is reconstituted are entitled to express their views on this question, as we believe they should, then we do not see how a compromise along the lines of the one indicated in your 3638 or your 3661 can now be agreed to for the valid reason that we do not now know what the reconstituted Germany will include. When, however, it is known what will be embraced in the reconstituted Germany as a whole, and that the German people are able freely and considerably to express their views on the subject of public ownership of Ruhr coal mines, we see no reason why they should not then have the opportunity to do so. We do not believe German people should be barred from expressing their views on this question when the conditions suggested herein have been met. Whether this takes place at any time within the five-year period or not, or when production has reached a given level, seems to us unimportant.
3.
As to your third question on unequal membership US–UK control group, our views are as follows:

As we understand it, bipartite board consists of an equal membership. If this is the case, then it would seem to us that the US–UK control group should be similarly constituted, at least until negotiations respecting a redetermination of respective financial obligations for the bizonal areas are commenced. At that time it might be appropriate to suggest unequal membership and a US chairman.

Repeated Geneva for Clayton 131.

Douglas
  1. Ante, p. 950.
  2. Ante, p. 952.