740.00119 Council/1–2348

The British Ambassador (Inverchapel) to the Secretary of State 1


Dear Mr. Secretary: Mr. Bevin wishes me to thank you for your reply to his message,2 in which you expressed your wish that Mr. Douglas should lead the United States delegation to the proposed three-power talks on Germany. Mr. Bevin welcomes the nomination of Mr. Douglas and realises that he cannot be spared until the 15th of February.

I am accordingly instructed to invite you to send a delegation to begin preliminary talks in London on the 16th of February, with a view to opening the three-power talks with representatives of the French Government on the 19th of February. Mr. Bevin would be glad to know the names of the other members of the United States delegation [Page 41] as soon as possible. He is particularly glad to hear that you agree that General Clay should be present.

Mr. Bevin has informed the French Ambassador in London that he has agreed that the talks should begin in London on or about the 18th of February and has warned him that there may be preliminary discussions between United States and British representatives on bizonal and other matters. Mr. Bevin assured the French Ambassador that these preliminary talks would not in any way prejudge the issues to be discussed on a three-power basis or prejudice the position of the French delegation.

I hope shortly to be able to convey to you Mr. Bevin’s suggestions as to the subjects which should be discussed.

Yours sincerely,

  1. In acknowledging this letter on January 29, the Secretary expressed his willingness to send to London a delegation headed by Ambassador Douglas to begin preliminary talks with the British on February 16 in advance of the opening of the Three-Power talks on February 19. The Secretary expected that General Clay and Ambassador Murphy would also join the American Delegation in London (740.00119 Council/1–2948). Subsequently the Department requested and the British Foreign Office agreed to a postponement of the American-British discussions until February 19 and the opening of the Three-Power talks until February 23. The postponement was made necessary due to Ambassador Douglas involvement in Congressional hearings in Washington.
  2. The reference here is to Inverchapel’s communication of January 17 to the Secretary of State, p. 35, and the Secretary’s oral reply, footnote 2, p. 36.