French Desk File: Lot 53 D 246: File “Germany”

The Associate Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Wallner) to the Counselor of Embassy in France (Bonbright)

personal and secret

Dear Jamie: Deliberately we have not yet answered your cables concerning the French protest on bizonal reorganization, because we feel it is better to wait until the matter is thoroughly clarified in Washington, and you know how difficult it is thoroughly to clarify in Washington policy matters concerning Germany.

I think that at this stage the following points emerge:

In London bizonal reorganization and conversations with the French were discussed in water-tight compartments. The connection between them never seems to have been established in the minds of American and British officials and no discussions took place at any time about whether or when the French should be informed or consulted.
The atmospherics, but not the record, of the Bidault-Marshall conversations indicated future collaboration with the French on future German questions. Consequently, the French have some cause for being both surprised and hurt at the manner of announcement of the Frankfurt decisions.
As for substance the French have absolutely no kick coming since no commitment was made or even contemplated that they would be either consulted or informed concerning bizonal reorganization.
The British and ourselves had a different conception of how far and how quickly and with how little consultation Clay and Robertson should proceed in bizonal reorganization. However, both Washington and London was [were] equally surprised at both the scope of the Frankfurt decisions and the dramatic manner of their presentation to the world.
Until the French join trizonia and assume responsibility therefor, they cannot logically expect to have either a voice or a veto in bizonal matters. However, no understanding has yet been reached on this. In cases such as the present one, the French should be relieved that they are not called upon to approve measures which in some respects conflict with their doctrine on Germany. I believe an understanding must be reached whereby the French voice in German decisions will be in exact ratio to the responsibilities which they are willing to assume.
Public opinion in France on the German problem has not been allowed to evolve with the times. The armed truce by the political parties on this subject has frozen French thought on Germany as it was in 1944 when it differed hardly at all from; 1919. The average Frenchman thinks a Frankfurt Government as dangerous as a Berlin Government: he has not digested the significance of the latest CFM, and his Government, with a persistence which according to our standards would add up to treachery, has kept him in the dark about the facts of life. He must be told not to tremble at the Frankfurt mouse as if it were a Berlin lion.

Perhaps before you get this letter the whole thing will be considerably clarified.

I do not conceal my very real disappointment at a development Which contributes to disharmony with the French on the German question at a time when I had hoped that at last a common understanding was about to be reached. As you know, I have been plugging for such a common understanding for two years.

Very best,

W. Wallner