740.00119 Council/5–1048: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

top secret   us urgent

1710. Personal for Douglas. Dept believes any tripartite agreement on German disarmament and demilitarization would be inadvisable since it might be construed as vitiating existing quadripartite engagements [Page 234] on this subject. (Delsec 17251) Dept shares your doubts re maintenance permanent economic controls over Germany and determination at this time of future productive capacity. As we understand it, one objective of Ruhr agreement was to provide that element of control necessary to insure that German resources would not be used for aggression. Under application of this control it is difficult to envisage that Germany could prepare for modern total warfare.

Dept recognizes depth of French feeling this subject and its internal political importance in France. We have given careful consideration to justifiable French security preoccupations about Germany and are prepared to give French reasonable satisfaction under the following sub-heads. Nevertheless present French tactics have some appearance of last-minute pressure campaign. We are confident you will meet it squarely and impress on French disastrous effects of failure of talks on security issue, which has far larger implications than Germany alone.

Dept agrees to reiteration and elaboration assurances in President’s statement Mar 172 re continued occupation, either in protocol or agreed communiqué. Please cable draft text this point.
You may point out to French that disarmament and demilitarization enforcement is one of powers reserved to miltary govt under projected occupation statute. These same matters will certainly be dealt with in any over-all settlement or German peace treaty.
We would agree to institution at any appropriate time of tripartite inspection and consultative board under mil govs dealing with German disarmament and suppression agreed prohibited industries (Deptel 691, Feb 283). Such board could be kept in continuous being or be convoked at request of one party. Along lines of inspectorate in Byrnes’ draft 40-year treaty, board could have authority to report and make recommendations, to govts through mil govs.
Separate telegram discusses general security situation. It can hardly be claimed that Germany under indefinite occupation can become danger pending development of a security system which will benefit by experience of devising procedures to meet far greater present threat to western Europe, including France.
  1. London telegram, May 10, p. 230.
  2. The reference here is to a statement included in a Special Message to Congress on the Threat to the Freedom of Europe, delivered in person by President Truman to a Joint Session of Congress on March 17. For the text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman 1948 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), item 52, p. 182, or Department of State Bulletin, March 28, 1948, p. 418.
  3. Ante, p. 101.