740.00119 Council/2–2248: Telegram

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


675. Delsec 1566. Last two items agenda tripartite German talks discussed in further Anglo-American meeting yesterday.1 Under item political and economic evolution of Germany considered (a) future constitutional structure of Germany and (b) terms of possible trigonal fusion. Re (a) British contended that British document put before CFM2 contained appropriate solution constitutional question und that new bizonal set-up consistent with principles this document at least respecting degree decentralization. Compromise with French views considered in light French objections against revision bizonal structure, but generally agreed compromise difficult as long as French rejected in essence federalism and espoused simply loose confederation of Laender. Consensus reached that French should be asked to explain their views and to demonstrate how their conception of constitutional structure would secure the economic unity of western Germany and permit an effective German contribution to ERP.

In discussing timing of establishment of provisional German Government either on bizonal or trizonal level British pressed strongly for convening constituent assembly this fall because important to keep initiative, vis-à-vis Soviets and to end division of authority between MG and Germans enabling latter to escape responsibility. US reserved its position this point.

Re (b) no extensive discussion on substance took place, but British indicated that under this heading they thought it appropriate to examine such questions as (1) French contribution consonant with French resources and comparable with UK contribution, (2) import-export policy, including agreement on procurement most economical sources of supply, use of export proceeds for purchase category B goods, first-charge principle (no concealed reparation), temporary use old German trademarks and trademark and patent protection, (3) trizonal level of industry (French removal program too large in relation to level retained in bizonal), and (4) acceptance of terms of reference and mode of work of existing bipartite MG control organs.

[Page 81]

Concerning territorial arrangements British expressed view Belgian claims generally well-founded but extensive Netherlands and Luxembourg claims to territory and extra-territorial economic concessions much more open to doubt. In discussion agreement reached that Benelux claims should be heard but no action likely to set up body or bodies to examine claims in view of unfortunate repercussions such action on German people and on USSR. Respecting Saar, US concurred with UK that no agreement to regularize present situation by international statute should be made, but obtained consent of UK to close questioning of French regarding their plans for Saar.

Meeting also agreed that Benelux should preferably be represented at discussions by one representative and that Benelux should participate fully in discussion all items except reparation and ERP. Expected that after informal clearance with French over weekend, first session of conference will reach prompt agreement on formal invitation to Benelux.

Sent to Department as 675, and repeated to AmEmbassy Paris as 61, and to USPolAd Berlin as 23.

  1. This was the third of the three informal American-British meetings held prior to the opening of the formal American-British-French conference on German problems.
  2. Tinder reference here is “Supplementary Principles to Govern the Treatment of Germany”, a British paper circulated first as document CFM (47) (M) 89, March 31, 1947 at the Fourth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers at Moscow and circulated again at the Fifth Session of the Council at London as document CFM (47) (L) 7, November 27, 1947. The text of the paper is printed in Carlyle, Documents on International Affairs, pp. 453–462.