News Division Files: Secretary’s Press Conferences

Memorandum by Michael J. McDermott, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State, of the Secretary of State’s Press and Radio News Conference, November 24, 19481


No. 46

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Germany (the Ruhr)

The Secretary said that he had a statement to make on the Ruhr and would read the draft of it. (See Press Release No. 9452) (Off the [Page 529] record) Secretary Marshall said that he would add that one had a very difficult press to deal with in France because it was representing different interests and in the hurly burly of aspirations for government control or otherwise it had quite different motives at times from the larger ones now being discussed. He continued that this was not unusual in a political campaign but was rather exaggerated in France, at least toward him. He said that he was not only accused in the press time after time of forcing Dr. Schuman to take this or that line of unpopular action but he said that they finally spread a story that he had actually interrupted Dr. Schuman’s shaving. The Secretary remarked that he thought they had gone a great distance in the months about his force but this remark was rather a triumph. Secretary Marshall said that he had never seen Dr. Schuman except at his request either at the Embassy or the Quai D’Orsay. He said that he had found Dr. Schuman a very splendid person to negotiate with but if one read the paper it was a different scenario. (End off record.)

The original draft of the statement made by the Secretary apparently was prepared toy Counselor Charles E. Bohlen while he and the Secretary were still in Paris. The final version issued to the press incorporated additions and revisions suggested by General Clay and Ambassador Murphy in telegram 2789, November 22, from Berlin, not printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/11–2248) and by Ambassador Caffery in telegram 6010, November 23, from Paris, not printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/11–2348).

A correspondent inquired if in his memorandum [statement?], the Secretary had said that a Security Commission in the Ruhr had already been set up. Secretary Marshall answered that it had been, or at least that it was in the process of being set up. Asked if when he told Dr. Schuman that he would be willing to consider further measures for security and definite specific measures were discussed, the Secretary answered in the negative. He said (off the record) that he might add that it was suggested, for Dr. Schuman’s information, that he might propose having the governors report to the London Conference right away just exactly what they had set up so that it could be considered for further examination. (End off record.)

When a correspondent inquired if there were any discussion of a renewal of Mr. Byrnes’ offer of a forty-year pact,3 the Secretary answered in the negative. Asked if that offer were still open, he said that it was, that it could be carried out in the terms in which it was given, not as amended by the Soviet Government. A correspondent inquired if that were dependent upon the incorporation of Russia into it, and the Secretary said it was.

A correspondent asked what the status of the Ruhr discussions was. He inquired if the Secretary’s statement was the last word on the subject or if there were still the hope that discussions between the United States, France and Britain would emerge. Secretary Marshall remarked that the correspondent should read the statement he had made, that he thought he made it clear. Asked if this constituted rejection of the French protest, the Secretary stated that the procedure [Page 530] agreed on in Paris was that we were going ahead with it, that it was the details and motives that had been discussed. A correspondent asked if that were arrived at by the United States, Britain and France, and the Secretary answered it was arrived at in the London conference.

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M. J. McDermott
  1. The Secretary of State had returned to Washington from Paris on November 24.
  2. For the text of the statement read by the Secretary of State, see Germany 1947–1949, p. 330 or Department of State Bulletin, December 5, 1948, p. 703.
  3. The reference here is to draft U.S. treaty on the disarmament and demilitarization of Germany, which was circulated by Secretary of State James F. Byrnes at the Second (Paris) Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers on April 30, 1946; for the text, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol, ii, p. 190.