740.00119 Control (Germany)/11–1348: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at Paris

top secret   us urgent

4400. For the Secretary from Lovett. You are of course aware that the MilGovs trusteeship law with its provision that the pattern of Ruhr ownership will be left to the future German Govt to decide has created universal unfavorable reaction in France. We had doubts concerning the language of this provision and did our best to persuade the British to modify it in the form of a statement of policy rather than a MilGovt decision. You will recall that we and the British at the London conference on Germany made perfectly clear our opposition to international ownership and management on practical grounds but agreed to the establishment of the Ruhr authority with its control over allocation as a measure of security for France. The MilGovs have been endeavoring because of the situation in Germany to clarify the question of ownership in the interest of increased German production from which France would benefit and which is essential for recovery of Western Europe as a whole. The language and timing of the trusteeship law is perhaps unfortunate from French point of view but it has consistently been made clear to French that this is our position.

Whereas the French opposition is concentrated on this specific law, it is, nevertheless, symptomatic of a larger concern and misunderstanding with respect to our policy in Germany which is intensified by the prospects of de Gaulle’s advent to power and his presumed position in regard to Germany. You will have seen Berlin’s 887 to Paris1 [Page 493] reporting Koenig’s statements that France may have to reconsider its German policy because German recovery is being pushed too fast. It is now clear that Koenig’s statements represent French Govt’s position and the same line has been put to us even more emphatically by French Emb reps here. It occurs to us it would be useful if you with Bevin, if possible, could undertake with Schuman a basic review of our common future policy toward Germany with a view to clearing up misunderstandings and reemphasizing the basic objectives with respect to the development of Germany and its relation to French security.2

We feel that in any such review of the situation the time has come to spell out clearly and firmly to the French that only real solution of German problem insofar as France’s security is concerned is within the framework of a stronger economic and political organization of Western Europe in which organization Germany must play an important role. To delay German recovery with its added burdens on the American taxpayer because France’s recovery is not making equal progress would be dangerous to the concept of Western European recovery and consequently to France itself. We cannot, while we are contributing substantial financial help to France, at the same time increase our burden with respect to Germany. With respect to the specific Ruhr problem, we feel strongly that international ownership and management do not increase the safeguards France is seeking but would in fact have the opposite effect either in creating such resentment on the part of Germany that they could not be maintained or in so reducing production that the Ruhr could not contribute to the essential needs of European recovery. We feel that on purely security grounds France is afforded protection through a series of measures which they are perhaps inclined to minimize. First, there is our commitment to them regarding continued German disarmament and development of their security through our support of a North Atlantic security system. Secondly, there is the establishment of the Ruhr authority with power to determine allocations coal, coke and steel, which we are at present discussing in London with a desire of reaching early agreement on the basis of the London program. Thirdly, as regards foreign interests in Germany, we have every intention to see to it that they are afforded adequate and nondiscriminatory treatment.

Finally, we earnestly trust that the French will not retard or hinder a constructive German program when it is just beginning to offer hope that Western Germany will be able to resist Communism and attraction towards the East. We can ask for French understanding for the [Page 494] effort we are making in Berlin to carry out our common determination not to be driven back by Soviet aggression, not only to the jeopardy of our German responsibilities but of the position of Western Europe.

It may be possible through such a meeting to clarify our position vis-à-vis the French Govt but there still remains the problem of how to deal with the French public, which has apparently been aroused over this issue. You may wish to discuss this aspect with Schuman if your conversation with him proves fruitful. We understand Douglas is to be in Paris tomorrow and he may be helpful to you in preparing any approach to Schuman either separately or with the British.

It should be recalled that the French Assembly reconvenes on Tues Nov 16 and that both the deGaullists and Communists are sure to question the Govt on Germany.

  1. Same as telegram 2686, November 5, from Berlin, p. 438.
  2. The source text bears the following additional sentence at the end of this paragraph which was deleted by Samuel Reber before the telegram was transmitted to Paris: “In this connection it may be helpful to have the MilGovs attend although it must be realized that Koenig doubtless feels himself the agent of de Gaulle.”