740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–1148

The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador (Bonnet)1

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency the French Ambassador and has the honor to acknowledge His Excellency’s note No. 11 of January 11, 1948.2

It is regretted that the French Government was not kept currently informed regarding the discussions in Frankfurt relating to proposed changes in the bizonal economic organization.

The United States Government does not attach to the proposals resulting from these discussions the same interpretation as that set forth in His Excellency’s note. The plans formulated at Frankfurt were intended simply to make the bizonal economic organization more workable and are considered to be within the framework of the present structure. It was not intended that they should establish political institutions prejudging the constitution of a future Germany or in any way set up a western German state. These considerations were impressed upon the German authorities in Frankfurt.

The United States and British Governments are faced with an emergency in their combined zones, as evidenced in particular by the current food difficulties, which requires immediate action to make the bizonal economic administration more effective. Since the two Governments bear primary responsibility for this area, they felt justified in taking the initiative to formulate adequate measures. The United States Government supports the general objective of the plans drawn up at Frankfurt.

While the United States Government must retain freedom of action to deal in agreement with the British Government with the administrative and economic crisis in the combined zones, it will be happy [Page 35] to receive and give sympathetic consideration to any comments which the French Government may wish to offer in detail regarding the Frankfurt proposals for bizonal reorganization. General Clay has been requested to furnish to the French military authorities in Berlin complete information concerning these proposals, including written texts when finally drawn up, to explain the proposals fully, and to transmit to this Government the views of the French authorities. The United States Government is happy in the meantime to note that the tripartite discussions concerning trade and technical relations between the western zones are in progress in Berlin.

The United States Government is prepared to engage at an early date in tripartite discussions at governmental level to explore the possibilities for the development at the appropriate time of a German political organization. This matter is considered to be one of the long-term questions referred to in the talks between the United States Secretary of State and the French Foreign Minister in London, as confirmed in the French Ambassador’s note of December 22, 1947.3

The United States Government takes this occasion to remind the French Government that it has looked forward to French participation from the time when the United States Government first made its proposal for economic fusion of the zones. When this fusion occurs the French Government will be able, of course, to take part, as a welcome and valued participant, in all proceedings relating to zonal organization.

  1. A handwritten marginal notation on the source text indicates that this note was initialed by Under Secretary Lovett and was handed to Ambassador Bonnet at the French Embassy on January 17.
  2. Not printed. In it the French Government formally protested the creation of a Bizonal Economic Administration in the American-British zones of occupation in Germany. The French felt that the action fundamentally changed the structure of the bizonal area, constituted in reality the creation of a German Government, and was contrary to the understanding reached between Secretary of State Marshall and Foreign Minister Bidault during their conversation in London on December 17, 1947 [see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. ii, pp. 813 and 829]. The French feared that the de facto creation of a German government with headquarters in Frankfurt might give the Soviet Union an excuse to create a German government, in Berlin. The French also protested that the American-British bizonal economic reforms, as approved by German authorities, had taken on a contractual character which appeared to predetermine the future political organization of Germany. Finally, the note observed that the economic reforms had been accomplished in a great deal of haste and that discussions with French representatives on the matter had been postponed until after agreement had been reached to establish the Bizonal Economic Administration. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–1148)
  3. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. ii, p. 829.