740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–747: Telegram

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

top secret

572. Bidault is not very happy about the various memoranda on Germany which the Quai d’Orsay has been working on, some of which have been delivered to the deputies in London and others are still in the drafting stage.19 He remarked to me:

“I apprehend that neither your Government, nor the British, nor the Soviets will approve our memoranda, but no matter; I must do my best to defend my country’s interests. I am only too well aware that France is a defeated country and our dream of restoring her power and glory at this juncture seems far from reality. While I can admit that privately to you, I cannot admit it either to the French people or to the world at large.”

While Bidault is sincere on this, he has, of course, put himself on the end of a limb so far as his French public is concerned in view of the fact that De Gaulle first and then Bidault afterwards time and again repeated all over France the refrain: separation of the Ruhr, special status of the Rhineland (the Saar is a case apart) as well as no real central government for Germany. When Bidault began talking about this, he did so with his tongue in his cheek but to his surprise he found it was popular, and the more popular it became the more speeches he made on it.

On the one hand, Bidault, as he and De Gaulle have so often said to me, are not afraid at this juncture of any real revival of Germany as Germany, but they are very much afraid indeed of a revived Germany under Soviet auspices. On the other hand, it must be remembered that Bidault is a very ambitious man and in the past on a number of occasions [Page 155] has made compromises with Communist forces in France on internal French matters and has supported Soviet policies in international affairs when it served his (or France’s he could say) purposes to do so. With this in mind, he would be prepared to strike a bargain with the Kremlin to support Russian policies in eastern Germany and reparations for instance (mytel 420, January 3120) if the Russians will go along with him in regard to international control of the Ruhr, economic union of the Saar with France; and all this in the face of the well-known fact that Russian plans, in direct opposition to the French plans, call for a strong central government in Germany.

  1. The reference here is presumably to the French Government’s memoranda dealing with (1) the provisional organization of Germany (January 17, 1947), (2) the constitutional organization of Germany (January 17, 1947), and (3) international economic control of the Ruhr (February 1, 1947). For the texts of these memoranda, copies of which were given to the American, British and Soviet Governments, see Documents Francais Relatifs à L’Allemagne (Août 1945–Février 1947) (Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1947), pp. 42–64.
  2. Not printed; it reported that Ambassador Caffery had been told in confidence that the French Ambassador in Moscow had been instructed to seek an audience with Stalin and to put the French case along the lines described here (740.00119 EW/1–3147).