740.00119 Control (Germany)/11–1048

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Geoffrey W. Lewis, Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Occupied Areas


Mr. Penson telephoned me about 11:15 on the morning of November 9 to say that he had received word that his government could not agree to the change of the wording in the preamble of the law reorganizing the Ruhr industries which we had proposed to him the preceding Thursday. This change would have been made in the paragraph which states that—“Military Government has decided that the question of the eventual ownership of the coal and iron and steel industries should be left to the determination of a representative freely elected German Government.” Our proposal was to change the first few words to read: “It is the policy of the Military Government that the question of the eventual ownership——.”

Mr. Penson said that his government felt that the US and UK Governments had made plain at the London conference last spring our views with respect to the question of eventual ownership and that there had been no undertaking to hold the matter open. His government called attention to the fact that while the words “Military Government [Page 465] has decided” certainly implied governmental approval, the fact remains that this is a statement of what is the case. Thirdly, Mr. Penson said that his government feels strongly that the wording of the preamble must remain unchanged because of the bad effect on German opinion of any alteration since some Germans had already seen the document which was to have been promulgated either the 9th or 10th.1 Note: At a meeting in “O”, Mr. Wilds’ office, it was subsequently decided that in view of the British position which had apparently been considered at a very high level in their government there was little point in taking the matter up with them again. Furthermore, time had about run out on us. It was, therefore, decided to make no further effort to change the wording of the preamble. Present at this meeting were Messrs. Beam (CE) Reinstein (E), Lewis (O). Mr. Reber (EUR) was consulted on the telephone and concurred in the decision.

Geoffrey W. Lewis
  1. Regarding the Military Government law for the reorganization of the German coal, iron and steel industries, see the editorial note, infra.