740.00119 EW/2–1648

Memorandum by Frank G. Wisner, Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of State for Occupied Areas 1

secret

Copies of the papers taken by the Secretary to the Cabinet meeting of today are attached. These papers consist of a revised list of recommendations2 to the President and the Cabinet, proposed terms of reference for a working group to re-examine the dismantling lists,3 [Page 730] and a new memorandum entitled “Determination of the Administration’s Position with Respect to the German Reparation Program”.4

Prior to the Secretary’s departure for the Cabinet meeting,5 he was extensively briefed by Messrs. Lovett, Douglas and the undersigned–Messrs. Douglas and Lovett having read the recommendations and terms of reference but not the supporting memorandum. In the process of studying the question the Secretary made a number of changes in the recommendations. He did not have time to read the supporting memorandum.

The Secretary also took with him a very brief statement (which he may or may not see fit to use) a copy of which is attached.6

Mr. Douglas stated to the Secretary that he is gravely concerned about the Congressional feeling on the subject of dismantling and reparations and the effect which this feeling may have upon the entire ERP program if we should take action at this time which would further arouse the Congress. He recommended that we adopt the following policy regarding dismantling and that we endeavor to obtain British and French agreement to do likewise:

Stop all dismantling except with respect to plants which are already in the process of dismantling, pending a full review of the entire list in the light of the ERP. This should be done in such manner as to reassure the British, French and other Western nations that our action does not amount to a total abandonment of the reparations program.

In general Mr. Douglas feels that it would be preferable to continue the present status as regards deliveries for the next few weeks, and he expressed the belief that he would be able to convince the British and French of the wisdom of not pressing for further dismantling and reparation deliveries for the present, in the light of ERP considerations.

Frank G. Wisner
  1. This memorandum was addressed to the Counselor of the Department, Charles E. Bohlen, to the office of Assistant Secretary of State Thorp, and to the Office of European Affairs.
  2. For the text of the recommendations under reference here, see p. 727.
  3. The draft memorandum referred to here is not printed; for the version subsequently revised and approved by the Secretary of State on February 17, see p. 733.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Regarding the Cabinet meeting of February 16, see the memorandum of conversation by Wisner, infra.
  6. For the text of the statement under reference here, as revised by the Secretary of State, see p. 728.