The British Ambassador (Inverchapel) to the Secretary of State

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Dear Mr. Secretary: Mr. Bevin has asked me to thank you for your very helpful reply to his communication about Germany.1 He wishes you to know that he was very glad to be able to take account of your views in issuing instructions to Sir Oliver Harvey for his first meeting with M. Bidault.

With regard to the individual points raised in your letter of the 13th of January, Mr. Bevin agrees that the proposals discussed with the German political leaders in Frankfurt on the 7th and 8th of January meet the objective set forth in Section B (3) of the Aide-Mémoire enclosed in my letter of the 8th of January.

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Mr. Bevin agrees that it is essential that talks on the official level between representative of the United States, United Kingdom and French Governments should take place in London as soon as possible and that these talks should; cover the whole range of short-term and long-term German problems. He regards the Ruhr as being one of these problems and he considers that, as mentioned in Sections B (5), C (12) and C (14) of my Aide-Mémoire of the 8th of January, an attempt should be made to settle the question of the Saar before passing on to the other French claims such as those connected with the Ruhr. Mr. Bevin also agrees that the discussions of urgent technical problems which are already taking place in Berlin should continue. He does not intend to hold any separate talks with the French in advance of the Three-Power talks in London.

As our two Governments are partners in the bizonal arrangements, Mr. Bevin would like to arrange for three or four days to be kept clear, before the Three-Power talks at an official level take place in London, for a discussion between British and American representatives on the problems which will be discussed subsequently on a Three-Power basis. The object of these earlier discussions would be to cover the ground quickly in advance in order that your representatives and ours may know where our Governments stand on all the points involved and in order that our joint position as partners should not be weakened vis-à-vis the French.

With this plan in mind, Mr. Bevin suggests that the United States Government should send representatives to London in time for discussions to begin with British representatives on the 28th January. These discussions could last until the end of the week and the French Government could be invited to send representatives to join the talks on the 2nd of February.

Mr. Bevin would be glad to know whether you agree to the procedure suggested.2 If so, arrangements will have to be made for appropriate British and United States representatives to attend from Germany, including at a suitable moment the two Military Governors. Mr. Bevin would be grateful if you could help in this connexion and, in particular, if you could arrange for General Clay’s presence in London when he is required.

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On receiving your reply, Mr. Bevin will issue an invitation to the French Government.

Yours sincerely,

  1. See Secretary of State’s communication of January 13 to Inverchapel, p. 24.
  2. In conversations with the Secretary of State on January 19 and with Hickerson on January 20, Lord Inverchapel was informed that Ambassador Lewd Douglas, who would head the group of United States officials taking part in the London Three-Power talks on Germany, would not be able to return to London before February 15. It was hoped that the British would agree to the February 15 date rather than the February 2 date first suggested by Foreign Secretary Bevin. Lord Inverchapel was also informed that the United States agreed to preliminary US–UK talks for a day or two in advance of the Three-Power talks. (Memoranda of conversation by Hickerson, January 19 and 20: 740.00119 Council/1–1948 and 1–2047)