740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–1948: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State


2537. Personal for Saltzman and Hickerson. My 2474, October 9.1 I attended a meeting yesterday afternoon of US and UK military governors with representatives of France and Benelux for discussion of (1) Ruhr trusteeship, (2) lifting of moratorium on foreign investments, and (3) signing of JEIA agreement with French2 (see mytel 2474, October 9).

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Benelux presented a paper setting forth further views of Benelux countries on the proposals for appointment of German trustees for coal, iron and steel industries. Text will be forwarded by mail.3 US/UK military governors gave substantial satisfaction to these Benelux suggestions.4 US and UK military governors pointed out that in this paper they are not trying to resolve the question re socialization of industry and therefore paper would not be subject to study by governmental working party considering foreign investments. They understand that before socialization or nationalization of mines there would have to be opportunity for governments to be heard. General Bapst for French, stating French point of view on final ownership of coal and iron and steel industries, reasserted position taken by General Koenig in his communication of September 235 which has been reported to Department. He stated that as question of ownership has not been subject of any decision by governments that French Government does not believe the commanders-in-chief should publish a statement to effect that the question of final ownership would be left to the German people as this is matter which should rest with governments. He requested the withdrawal of the draft statement on the ground that it was not necessary for the trusteeship scheme. He stated that French government will not recognize such a statement if made by US/UK military governors pending governmental decision.
General Clay replied that as US position has been stated previously he had nothing further to add. General Robertson referred also to previously stated British position, adding however that as French Government has now taken up this matter in London it was now under consideration by his government.6
In referring to the proposed joint recommendations by US/UK military governors re lifting of moratorium on foreign investments Clay stated that copy of these has already been handed to French and copy is now presented to Benelux colleagues. In asking for Benelux comments it was requested that these be limited to observations within scope of present outline and that the matter be treated confidentially. We would hope for the Benelux comments within a week.7
Agreement re French participation in JEIA was signed by US/UK military governors with General Bapst who stated that he had been authorized by French Government to sign in their behalf. Text of agreement will be transmitted by mail.8

Sent Department 2537; repeated Paris 800, London 745.

  1. Supra.
  2. Under cover of a brief transmittal letter of October 23 to Jacob Beam, not printed, Ambassador Murphy transmitted the verbatim record of this meeting (740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–1848). According to that record, twenty-two persons were present for the meeting. The principal participants were: General Clay, General Robertson, Lieutenant General Goethals (for Belgium), Baron van Voorst tot Voorst (for the Netherlands), and Lieutenant Dhur (for Luxembourg). Also included in the United States Delegation were Ambassador Murphy, OMGUS Economic Adviser Wilkinson, and OMGUS Finance Adviser Bennett.
  3. A copy of a paper entitled “Further Views of the Benelux Countries Concerning Reorganization of the Coal and Iron and Steel Industries” was transmitted to the Department of State by Ambassador Murphy under cover of a brief letter of October 26 to John D. Hickerson, neither printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–2648). For a brief chronology of the events attending the preparation of Military Government Law No. 75 on the reorganization, of the coal, iron and steel industries, see General Clay’s message CC–6717, November 13, p. 494.
  4. On October 19, Generals Clay and Robertson addressed a letter to Lieutenant General Goethals confirming the verbal answers given by the Military Governors in reply to the Benelux memorandum referred to in the previous footnote. A copy of the ClayRobertson letter was transmitted to the Department of State as an enclosure to Ambassador Murphy’s letter of October 28 to Assistant Secretary of State Saltzman, neither printed. (740.00119 (Germany)/10–2848)
  5. Not printed.
  6. In a letter of October 19 to General Koenig, Clay and Robertson confirmed the verbal statements made to the French representative at this meeting. The letter, a copy of which was transmitted as an enclosure to the Murphy letter cited in footnote 4 above, read in part as follows:

    “The [U.S.–U.K. Bipartite] Board has noted the French position on the question of the final settlement of ownership of the Ruhr coal and iron and steel industries and their request that the statement related to this question be withdrawn from the UK/US plan for the appointment of trustees in these industries. The Board has been informed that this question has now been raised by your Government with the U.S. and British Governments, and in view of this action, it becomes apparent that no purpose can be served by further discussions between the Military Governors.”

  7. Regarding the inter-governmental discussions on safeguarding foreign investments in Western Germany, see p. 698.
  8. For the text of the agreement under reference here, see p. 677.