740.00119 Council/2–2148: Telegram
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State
London, February 21, 1948—5 p. m.
672. Delsec 1562. Following is résumé Anglo-American discussions yesterday:
- Further discussion of Benelux question resulted in agreement that, subject to check with governments, French agreement would be sought to full participation by one representative of Benelux countries, assisted by advisors, in discussion of all items on agenda except those of operational character including reparation, ERP and trizonal fusion.
- US position on reparations deliveries as approved Cabinet1 was presented. UK expressed appreciation US problem and promised careful study. Robertson expressed preliminary view that any considerable delay in dismantling would require him to reconsider his assurance to his government that the program could be carried through without disorder in the British zone. Also disturbed by substitution concept since Germans have been assured that all plants not now listed would be retained in Germany and have made business plans accordingly. Strang expressed puzzlement about arguments which could be used to persuade Soviets to agree to the proposed revision in the reciprocal delivery provisions of Potsdam.
- On the security question it was agreed that US and UK views were amorphous and would be desirable to let France take initiative. UK representatives thought French would want three power D and D treaty and UK offhand saw no objections to agreeing to this. US felt, however, such a treaty in existing circumstances was unrealistic. UK also expected French to propose military occupation of Ruhr for quite long period. Made no comment indicative of UK views of this idea. General concern expressed about what Kirkpatrick termed “Maginot Line” defensive approach of French to problem of security. Piling up of paper restrictions and commitments no value without will to act. Kirkpatrick felt French would insist on security guarantees against Germany as prerequisite agreement on Western Union and not be influenced by prospect of Western Union to relax her fears of Germany. For various reasons, partly involving positions taken in other connections, appears both UK and French are hesitant to consider security commitments against aggression by any powers other than Germany.
- In discussing relationship of Western Germany to ERP US indicated very tentatively this government had in mind (a) full partnership of western zones in ERP, including participation in any continuing CEEC organization, particular efforts at economic cooperation within ERP area such as study of possibilities of customs union, in multilateral clearing arrangements etc., (b) creation, in absence of bizonal economic fusion, some machinery for consultation and coordination between bizonia and French zone which would, among other purposes, serve as means for reviewing ERP targets for western zones and rate of progress in achieving these targets and for determining measures of mutual assistance in carrying out this program; (c) promotion of German exports within framework of ERP under which heading we might wish to consider extension of most-favored-nation treatment to German exports, temporary continuation of German exports under old trademarks, and relaxation of restrictions on German business travel abroad; and (d) financing of participating countries trade deficit with Germany. British expressed general agreement this range of subjects, expressing interest particularly in (d). Possible use of offshore procurement fund for purchase German exports briefly explained to them. British also questioned whether bilateral aid agreement contemplated with bizonia as well as French zone, USDel indicating matter still undecided (any exposition of Department’s latest thinking this subject would be appreciated). US and UK agreed German authorities should be given increasing role in ERP programming and implementation in Germany.
- Preliminary discussion of evolution of political and economic organization of Germany revealed agreement on political desirability trizonal economic fusion but uncertainty as to whether achievement this goal should be pressed. British stressed importance of early convening of Constituent Assembly to establish provisional Western German government, expressing belief such step could be taken without possibility of MG shouldering onus for division of Germany, but US side expressed some skepticism. British, with US side generally concurring, pointed out necessity of giving French some assurances regarding final form of German government, since only in this way could French be dissuaded from believing any interim steps on bizonal or trizonal basis would prejudge future political structure of Germany.
Sent Department 672; repeated USPolAd Berlin 22, Paris 60.