862.60/8–1447: Telegram

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

top secret

3270. From Caffery, Clayton, Douglas to Lovett.

For reasons stated in ourtel 3239, August 13,80 as supplemented by ourtel 3263, August 14,81 we see no practicable alternative to negotiations with the French along lines indicated in ourtel 3263 of August 14.
We recommend therefore that the US should tell the French:82
that the US is prepared to join with them and the UK in support of inclusion in a binding international agreement in connection with the peace settlement with Germany (presumably the peace treaty or the disarmament and demilitarization treaty) of articles providing for the establishment of an international board, composed of representatives of US, UK, France, Benelux and Germany, with power to allocate Ruhr output of coal, coke and steel between German internal consumption and exports, the allocations for German consumption to be adequate to meet Germany’s legitimate economic interest in a reasonable standard of living, but for peaceful purposes only in accordance with demilitarization and disarmament measures which are agreed in the peace settlement.
that the US agrees that provisions for adequate power to enforce by sanctions or otherwise the decisions of the board should be incorporated in the general enforcement clauses of the international agreements referred to above.
that we are prepared to draft with the French and UK a broadly phrased public statement incorporating the substance of the above position.
in consideration for US support of these points, the French will be expected to agree not to object to the revised level of industry agreement or to its early publication after consultation with them and [Page 1034] to agree to begin negotiations for the purpose of adhering to the bizonal fusion agreement not later than the close of the November CFM meeting, unless such meeting results in quadripartite unification.
We consider this to be in line with the Secretary’s statement on the Ruhr at Moscow, and therefore should be approached affirmatively as potentially an important contribution to the solution of one aspect of the German settlement, the importance of which has long been recognized. The proposal leaves open the question of the role of the USSR in such a decision until formal negotiations begin, which can be put off as long as the Department wishes to postpone an open and formal break with USSR on this point.
It is felt that Benelux representative will help US and UK protect German standard of living against unduly harsh French action.
Prompt adherence by France to bizonal fusion, though essential, is only a temporary arrangement for giving the French a voice in German allocations, and completely fails to meet the French problem because they are concerned above all with agreement to an arrangement which has at least the appearance of a permanent guarantee against the use of the Ruhr resources in a way which is contrary to the legitimate interests of France.
If action can be taken promptly along these lines, anticipate no important problems with French on level of industry, and considerably fewer problems in connection with Paris discussions of Marshall plan on rate of reactivation of German industry. Otherwise French position at London level of industry conference apt to be bitter and result of conference will be only to freeze publicly French opposition to US and UK on German level of industry and rate of reactivation issue.
If you can agree to our proposal suggest that it be fully discussed with UK and if UK agrees, we privately prepare with UK and French a statement for publication which can be submitted to the respective governments and, after approval, issued simultaneously with announcement of the revised level of industry. Suggest this statement might be along following lines:

“The Governments of the US, UK and France have agreed that it is necessary to the peace and security of Europe that in connection with the German peace settlement there be established by international agreement an international board, on which Germany shall be represented, with authority to allocate coal, coke and steel produced in the Ruhr between Germany’s internal requirements for legitimate peacetime economy, and exports, and have agreed that there must be incorporated in an international agreement provisions which establish means for the enforcement of the decisions of such a board.”

Douglas returning August 15 and will give Bevin full account of discussions here.83
This cable concurred in by Martin and Jacobs.

Sent Department as 3270, repeated to London as 629.

  1. Ante, p. 1029.
  2. Supra.
  3. In telegram 857, August 15, from Geneva, not printed, Under Secretary Clayton reported that Ambassador Caffery, Ambassador Douglas, and he spent three hours the previous evening with French Foreign Ministry officials Monnet, Couve de Murville and Alphand discussing a draft of a memorandum which could be presented to the respective governments for consideration in trying to reach agreement regarding the Ruhr question. The American position in these discussions followed closely the recommendations set forth here in paragraphs (a), (b), and (d). (862.60/8–1547)
  4. In his telegram 4445, August 15, from London, not printed, Ambassador Douglas reported that, in the absence from London of Foreign Secretary Bevin, he had informed officers of the British Foreign Office of the American-French informal discussions in Paris. Douglas reported that the British attitude was as follows:

    • “A. At the appropriate time and in the appropriate documents respecting the peace settlement with Germany, some device which will satisfy their concern over the production of the Ruhr and the status of the Ruhr must be provided for.
    • “B. To reach an agreement with the French in principle even along the lines suggested as a result of the discussions in Paris at this particular time would be premature and would be in the nature of paying the French too high a price for their acquiescence in level of industry.” (862.60/8–1547)