740.00119 EW/4–1048: Telegram

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


1487. For Saltzman and Todd from Edelstein.1 Supplementing London’s 1474.2 Anglo-French consultations with technical mission concluded today with full agreement by British, French to facilitate work of technical mission in their respective zones. British and French [Page 747] collaborated in submission to us of paper annotating our list of items in critical world short supply production facilities for which we propose to examine.3 British, French agreed to inspection with no reservations. In some categories such as steel products, British stated emphatically that retained fabricating capacity was sufficient absorb all possible basic steel output until 1952. French made similar reservations with regard to dyestuffs, etc. British especially emphasized necessity our inspection of retained capacity to ascertain limits of German reactivation. Both British, French undertook to support these arguments with factual data when we arrive in Germany especially their zones. Assurances were given them that we would give due consideration to these factors as well as others.

French sought to secure our agreement to (a) eliminating in London all but minimum list of plants we proposed to inspect and (b) to defining in detail the principles on the basis of which plants listed for dismantlement would be retained for the German economy. We declined to submit ourselves to such procedure and won final agreement to making such eliminations on the basis of facts submitted in the field.

We advised meeting that we proposed to submit interim reports to executive branch of United States Government with lists of plants eliminated from review so that United States Government would be free to take whatever action in regard to these plants it deemed advisable at governmental level. French sought consistently to secure political commitments and introduce political considerations but we successfully maintained we were fact-finding mission unempowered to make any final determinations, which would be made at governmental level upon due consideration of our reports and recommendations.

French consistently expressed aversion to any publicity but referred to Paris and British proposal for press release to be held in reserve in case story leaked.

Sessions concluded in spirit of goodwill and mutual exchanges of regard and willingness cooperate to fullest in expediting work. We emphasized our desire to complete study at earliest possible date to facilitate intergovernmental discussions on subjects which might include dismantling program. This assurance was especially satisfying to British, French.

We gave report on deletions already tentatively made from US Zone list and British list (approved lists 1 to 4) although emphasizing [Page 748] these were simply recommendations to executive branch of US Government which would make proper disposition of such recommendations. These lists likewise seemed reassuring to conferees.

Mission expects spend next two days in London working on data received from French and British and preparing agenda for conferences in Berlin preparatory to actual inspections. Expect depart London Monday with Baumis directly for Berlin. General Clay has promised to send plane for us.

Mission itself feels entirely satisfied with outcome of discussions and received much helpful information. Most encouraging, however, was unqualified assurances from French, British we would receive every assistance, cooperation in satisfying all possible angles of legitimate inquiry on our part.

Pass to Rawlings for Cabinet secretaries. [Edelstein.]

  1. Edelstein was serving as Executive Secretary of the Cabinet Technical Mission on Reparations.
  2. The telegram under reference, dated April 9, not printed, reported that tripartite American-British-French discussions had begun that morning regarding an agreed list of end products in critical world supply and such industrial plants in Western Germany, scheduled for reparation, capable of producing such products. The talks had opened in a spirit of amity and cooperation (740.00119 EW/4–948). These tripartite discussions, which were held at the British Foreign Office, were concluded on April 10. The draft minutes of these discussions and related papers are included in the files of the Department of State under 740.00119 EW/4–1348. The American Delegation at these discussions included members of the Technical Mission on Reparations together with Lawrence Wilkinson, Economic Adviser, OMGUS, and Don C. Bliss, Counselor of Economic Affairs of the American Embassy in London. The British Delegation was headed by Roger B. Stevensof the British Foreign Office, and the French Delegation was headed by M. de Frondeville of the French Foreign Ministry.
  3. A copy of the American list under reference here is included as an enclosure to note of March 12 from the Secretary of State to the British Ambassador, p. 735.