740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–748

The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson)


Dear Jack: As the London meeting began on April 20, it might be well to put a few points on paper to outline the present position and progress which has been made up to this time. It is my belief that we shall come out of this meeting with joint recommendations regarding the Ruhr and political organization for Western Germany.

About the agreement on the Ruhr—it was I who inspired the question regarding whether such an agreement could be made on an executive basis or whether Congressional approval would be required. I was glad to see the Department’s reply to the effect that the opinion is held that the executive has the authority to make such an agreement.1 It is such a fundamental issue involving so many things that I believe there will be manifest at some stage an active Congressional interest. Basically, General Clay remains opposed in principle to such an agreement and he drafted a letter to Lew Douglas, stating his belief that an agreement for the international control of the Ruhr is wrong in principle. He read the letter to Lewis who asked him not to transmit it to him until he had a chance to think it over further.

Trizonal fusion. On April 29 I attended a meeting with Douglas and Clay and Massigli, General Koenig, Couve de Murville and Saint Hardouin regarding trizonal fusion. The net French position was stated very simply to be that they agree to joining JEIA (in principle). By “in principle” it was understood they mean that they desire to join JEIA but must examine the financial implications which this will have. The following day we had a three-cornered meeting with Strang, Massigli and their staffs at which Mr. Douglas opened with an account of the informal meeting with the French, stating that the French had agreed to fusion in principle as well as to the United States having a dominant voice in JEIA. Strang stated the question whether the French should be permitted to join JEIA and, if so, at what time this action should be taken. Massigli stated that of course an examination of the dollar position would be necessary and stated the question whether it might not be better to have preliminary tripartite [Page 217] discussions in Berlin first in an endeavor to settle the financial features of the problem.

Strang repeatedly made references to the practicability of the French joining JEIA in advance of the complete economic fusion as provided in the original US/UK agreement. He felt that to accomplish this, negotiation should take place on governmental level and at this point suggested that it will be necessary to explore the effect which French participation would have on the present revised fusion agreement which expires December 31, 1948. Strang placed pointed emphasis on the date of expiration of the present fusion agreement, creating an impression that the United Kingdom definitely intends to make further effort to obtain relief from the present so-called dominant voice which the United States now exercises in the economic control of Bizonia.

General Clay at this stage pointed out that the United States is now in the position of advancing funds to the French Zone. For the immediate purpose, he suggested, we believe that acceptance by the French of the charter of JEIA would suffice. There would remain certain basic questions such as the amount of the French contribution, etc.:

Strang also pointed out that the British would have an interest in the terms of trade with other areas and also an active interest in the question of convertibility. These two points would require serious consideration.

Mr. Douglas inquired whether the French would join JEIA’s charter with the understanding that we will then explore what effect this action would have on the fusion agreement.

At this point Strang suggested the text of what he called an unofficial chairman’s draft as follows:

“It is agreed in principle that the trade of the French Zone should be brought into the JEIA procedure not later than the first of July under the general terms of the JEIA charter.

“The implications of this will be examined forthwith at ________ by ________ and a report presented to governments.

“It is agreed in principle that any additional liabilities to provide capital or to convert currencies arising from this step should fall on France.”

Mr. Massigli then referred to the statement that acceptance in principle is subject to condition that the implications arising therefrom must be studied particularly with regard to whether this step would increase French liabilities. He made it quite clear that this means that France is in favor of joining JEIA but before doing so must examine all implications. General Koenig made several references to his responsibility as administrator of the French Zone and that whatever [Page 218] action might be taken toward fusion must not increase the costs of operating the French Zone as far as the French treasury is concerned.

Mr. Douglas stated pointedly that the speed with which the French Zone joins Bizonia will have an effect upon the amount of ERP funds which become available for the French Zone. If delayed it will have an adverse effect on funds ECA may allocate. Mr. Douglas’s statement had a visible effect on General Koenig who said that he had never realized that the European Recovery Program would involve such a policy.

Strang then made a statement to the following effect—we want a provisional German government soon and to do that joining of the French Zone at an early date is necessary. The United States considers joining of JEIA at an early date is feasible in advance of a general fusion agreement. The United Kingdom considers this would be desirable but must examine the implications.

Mr. Douglas added that we think that this action should be taken by July 1.

The meeting was then adjourned in order to give the delegations opportunity to reflect on the question.

There is one more point I would add in this letter and that relates to the Benelux. Up to this point they have not been brought into the discussions of the paper on political organization. However, Strang by agreement received the Netherlands Ambassador on April 29 and reported to him generally what had happened up to that time. Strang gave him no texts but told him broadly how we were proceeding. Verduynen raised several points regarding the status of the Benelux delegation. Strang made the following personal observations: (1) There are some items which had been previously discussed in the presence of Benelux such as the Ruhr problem; (2) Other questions were exclusively of tripartite interest such as fusion; and (3) The question of political organization lies in between. Benelux would not be party to the recommendation which would eventually be made but Benelux would be asked at an appropriate time to give their views.

On the question of whether Benelux should be consulted before the Military Governors make an announcement regarding political organization, it was agreed that this was almost impossible because it would risk tying up the eventual constitution for Western Germany. General Clay suggested that we might adopt the procedure of consultation with the political advisers in Berlin as recently agreed.

The Netherlands Ambassador also asked whether the Western German constitution would say anything about external boundaries as he wanted to preserve Benelux claims. It was agreed that it would not be necessary for the constitution to mention this subject. It belongs in the peace settlement. Blanket reservation regarding frontiers could be included in the peace settlement. Massigli made the point that in [Page 219] his opinion the Benelux claims for frontier rectification should be settled before the German government is established. Mr. Douglas offered the opinion that we shall limit our action here to the procedural question of setting up a boundary commission to deal with the problem. Strang stated that the Benelux should have an opportunity if it desired to re-state their claims.

I had hoped to write you more frequently but we have made several trips to Germany during this brief interval and I have been too pressed for time to do so. I shall hope to write you further in a day or two. We are in Berlin over the weekend and returning to London tomorrow morning.

Yours ever,

Robert Murphy
  1. The question under reference here was contained in telegram 1751, April 27, from London, and the Department’s reply was sent in telegram 1512, April 28, to London, neither printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–2848).