740.00119 Council/4–1648: Telegram

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


1597. Delsec 1674. Following two preliminary discussions with members US Delegation, first meeting held with British Delegation this afternoon for purpose discussing agenda and related matters.1 Agreement reached to adhere as closely as possible to original agenda2 with following exceptions: deletion items B and E and following language from item C “role of the German economy in the European economy and.” Also agreed that US, UK Delegations would recommend to French rearrangement agenda items in following order: A, F, C, (as revised), G, D. Other subjects covered by position papers and Berlin working party proposals and reports will be discussed under most appropriate agenda headings but without being listed in agenda for publication. Further agreed various other items of current interest might be discussed informally on bipartite or tripartite basis, as may seem advisable.

British indicated desire to discuss on this basis following items:

Reparations, including German machine tools, resumption of allocations and basis on which resumption to be made, and (if available before end of discussions) preliminary report of technical mission. (Tripartite).
German assets in Italy.3 (Tripartite).
Berlin situation. (Tripartite).
Aspects of German trade, particularly German-Danish and German-Italian trade (Bipartite); and
German steel scrap.4 (Bipartite).

No commitment given to discuss foregoing subjects, not all of which appear appropriate items for consideration here and concerning some of which US Delegation has insufficient background. Views Department requested concerning these items suggested by British. Views Clay and Murphy will be obtained here.

First regular meeting to be held twentieth preceded by possible further preliminary meeting with British April 19 and preliminary conversation with French and British morning twentieth. US, UK will propose termination discussions May 6 with final formal meeting set for May 10 to permit drafting and for release official communiqué. Commencement date discussions will be announced April 19 and US, UK will propose that further publicity be handled same basis as first session.

Sent Department 1597; repeated Paris as 162, Berlin 93.

  1. Taking part in this meeting were: for the United States—Ambassador Douglas, Samuel Reber, and Frank Wisner; for the United Kingdom—Sir William Strang, Patrick Dean, and Roger Stevens. The United States Delegation verbatim record of this meeting is included in CFM Files, Lot M–88, Box 118, File—Verbatim Minutes 1948. This was the only U.S.–U.K. meeting to be held prior to the opening of the London Conference on April 20.
  2. The agenda adopted by the London Conference at the outset of its meetings in February is described in telegram 684, Delsec 1569, February 23, from London, p. 82.
  3. For additional documentation regarding this topic, see p. 863.
  4. The British were expected soon to begin negotiations regarding a bilateral U.K.–Bizonia trade agreement and were expected to concentrate on the purchase of steel scrap. Other European countries were also eager to obtain steel scrap from Germany. There was strong feeling in American industrial quarters that an over-riding priority be given to German scrap exports to the United States steel industry in the interest of national security. In March 1948 a U.S. Government-sponsored scrap mission to Bizonia had confirmed the existence of a substantial tonnage of scrap in Western Germany surplus to German needs. An agreed American policy on scrap exports had not yet been developed at this time, although an inter-departmental ferrous scrap committee was in the process of being formed.