740.00119 Control (Germany)/11–1948: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State, at Paris

top secret   urgent

896. Personal for Secretary from Douglas.

I had no knowledge of decision contained in preamble to Trusteeship Agreement that question of ownership Ruhr Industries should be determined by future German Government until it was announced publicly. I feel that the implications of this decision are far-reaching and are closely related to the problem of peace and security in Europe, and therefore wish to submit my personal views on the matter to you.
It seems to me that it was an issue to be decided by the governments concerned and not by the Military Governors since it is not an occupational matter. Furthermore, a basic decision respecting the future ownership of the Ruhr Industries concerns not only the Two Powers exercising joint control of the area but also of France and the other Western European nations co-operating with US in re-establishing peace in Europe.
Apart from above jurisdictional aspect, decision (urged by Brit) politically was of doubtful validity since it may weight a determination in favor of nationalization of Ruhr Industries by a future German Government, and through such concentration of the greatest economic power in Europe may constitute a serious threat to future peace.
Decision also precludes International Ownership of which there are many varieties not only governmental in character but also of private nature. While I stated during London Conference US Govt position of opposition to International Public Ownership of Ruhr Industries, I believe it is worthwhile exploring certain types of International Ownership so that Nationals (not Governments) of Benelux, France, UK, US, and Germany might acquire holdings in Ruhr Industries.
I am doubtful whether question of private International Ownership has been studied as carefully as it deserves. Though the French are apparently thinking along line of Public International Ownership, it seems to me that they might be agreeable to some other form which gives them jointly with other Allied interests some voice in the management of the Ruhr, and at the same time would not adversely affect their security needs.
I feel that we are on the hook and should, if we can do so, devise some means of getting off it. While I think we should avoid action [Page 516] which might constitute a public repudiation of decision of Military Governors, I believe a device might be found which would lead US out of this impasse and enable the governments concerned to reconsider the matter and implicitly to modify the decision of the Military Governors. In this connection one must, of course, take into account statements already made in British Parliament with respect to the issue.
Jackson will be able to elaborate further on views expressed above.