The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Inverchapel)1
The Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency the Ambassador of Great Britain and has the honor to refer to the [Page 736] recent conversations in London concerning the German reparation and dismantling program.
At that time Ambassador Douglas drew the attention of his British and French colleagues to the criticisms of the German dismantling program which have been put forward in the United States Congress for several months, and to the possibility that legislation intended to severely restrict, or even entirely eliminate, dismantling might be included within general legislation for the implementation of the European Recovery Program. He pointed out that, during the period since the preparation of the lists of plants to be dismantled, the needs for particular items required for European recovery had become known in greater detail; and that the possibility therefore existed that a limited number of the plants presently listed for transfer might make a more prompt and effective contribution to that recovery if kept in Germany and put into operation there in the immediate future. The possibility of doing so would, of course, depend on the availability in Germany of adequate supplies of coal, transport, raw materials, housing, whether the plants in question are or could within a relatively short period of time be put in workable condition, and other factors and circumstances affecting German industrial production.
The Department of State understands that the British and French representatives in London agreed in principle to cooperate in a reexamination from this standpoint of the dismantling lists for the three Western Zones of Occupation in Germany. A Cabinet Sub-Committee has been appointed to undertake responsibility for this re-examination on the part of the United States Government, and has already devoted preliminary consideration to the problem.
The Sub-Committee has reached the tentative conclusion that the study could be most expeditiously carried out if the aid of the three Zone Commanders could be immediately enlisted. The Sub-Committee has felt that a fruitful approach might be to prepare a list of products in short supply which are of critical importance to European economic recovery, and to request the Zone Commanders to furnish the names of plants now scheduled for dismantling which are technically equipped for the production of such items. The Sub-Committee has prepared a preliminary list of such items, a copy of which is attached. From the list of plants submitted by the Zone Commanders, the Cabinet Sub-Committee would select those plants the dismantling of which in its opinion should be postponed pending further study, and this list would be transmitted to the Zone Commanders.
It is appreciated that a rather large number of plants presently listed for dismantling might be found by the Zone Commanders to be technically equipped for the production of the items noted on the attached list. The Department of State wishes to emphasize, however, it is expected that suspension of dismantling of a smaller number of plants [Page 737] would be requested and that such suspension is solely for the purpose of permitting further study. The number of plants, if any, which might, finally be recommended for permanent retention in Germany would in all probability be rather small.
The Department of State would appreciate, therefore, receiving the requested information at the earliest feasible date. In submitting the list of plants, pertinent data as to the particular category and end-products of each plant should be included. In view of considerations already made clear by the Department of State, the British Government will appreciate the desirability of bringing this matter to as early a conclusion as possible.
- An identical note, mutatis mutandis, was addressed to the French Ambassador on March 12.↩