862.60/8–1447: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

top secret

3263. For Lovett from Douglas, Caffery and Clayton. We spent two hours yesterday with Bidault, Monnet, Alphand and Couve de Murville. Our discussions were continued on a wholly personal and informal basis.

Bidault outlined his idea of a device which would satisfy France on points two (a) and two (b) of our telegram No. 3239.78 He proposed an international board which prior to the peace treaty would be composed of representatives of the US, UK, France and Benelux with the addition of Germany when peace is made. This board would allocate Ruhr coal, coke and steel as between Germany and export and through the exercise of its powers of allocation would limit German consumption to peaceful uses. He further proposed during the period of occupation of Germany that the board should be substituted for the bizonal authorities in the supervision of the management of the Ruhr properties.

[Page 1032]

We pointed out to Bidault that what we were talking about was some device to satisfy France on the security angle of the Ruhr and that France could hardly have any fears respecting the Ruhr during the period of occupation, hence, should be concerned only with that period beginning with the time when Germany would again be in control of her own affairs; furthermore, that the US could hardly agree to any device which would give a vote in the operation of the German economy to states which paid no part of the resulting deficits. After some discussion Bidault and his advisors were compelled to admit the force of both arguments, and in the end, it was agreed that we were discussing the following:

The US, UK and France would agree to support the inclusion in the peace treaty of a provision to the effect that an international board composed of representatives of the US, UK, France, Benelux and Germany should be established with the power of allocation of Ruhr coal, coke and steel as between Germany and other countries, controlling through the exercise of such power the peaceful use of such products by Germany.

Obviously, this formula removes entirely any question regarding international control of the Ruhr during the period of occupation. Bidault said that he assumed in case there should be a fusion of the French zone with the bi-zone that the French commander would then have a voice in the operation of the Ruhr properties. We said that we could hardly conceive of anything else but that of course all such matters would be the subject of negotiation in connection with such fusion just as the US and UK had negotiated the conditions surrounding the fusion of their two zones.

Bidault raised the question of power to enforce decisions of the proposed board. We said that we assumed that power to enforce such decisions would be provided for in the peace treaty in the same way as power to enforce other conditions of the treaty such as sanctions, etc. Bidault is almost sure to insist on some agreement on this point.

Bidault also said something about trusteeship of the Ruhr properties but we said that we could not discuss that question and insisted that our discussions be kept within well defined limits and on as simple a basis as possible because the subject was difficult enough in any case. All seemed to agree to this and Bidault suggested that we should start trying informally to draft something for presentation to our respective governments. We agreed to this and will attempt to send you something later today. We pointed out the tightness of the time table especially in view of the fact that some statement will be expected soon regarding the proposed London meeting.

[Page 1033]

This will be followed immediately by another cable with our recommendations in consultation with Martin and Jacobs who are here.79

  1. Supra.
  2. Edwin Martin and George Jacobs, experts in the Department of State on German economic affairs, were detailed to serve on Ambassador Douglas’ staff at the forthcoming tripartite talks in London.