740.00119 EW/2–2548: Telegram
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State
727. For Wisner from Douglas. At a meeting this afternoon with Sir William Strang and General Robertson, representing the British, and Clay, Murphy and myself representing US, we discussed Cabinet proposals in regard to:
- Temporary suspension of dismantling certain specific, categories of plants in Germany; and
- Indefinite suspension of delivery of reparations to Soviet.
As to (A) above, the British thought that they might be able to agree with us, if they knew the categories of plants which were subject to review by US special group. Without making commitment they indicated this might be possible, for them to agree to in view of probability that dismantling of plants in doubtful categories in British Zone has not been commenced, and therefore accommodation to our view would mean but a temporary adjustment of their procedure. It is urgently necessary, however, that We here be given as promptly as possible the categories of plants on which we suggest suspension of dismantling pending review.
As to (B) above, Strang repeated the previous reluctance of Bevin to agree to an indefinite suspension of deliveries to Soviet; first, on grounds that it would be a breach of Potsdam; secondly, on the grounds that Bevin looked upon the reparations provisions of Potsdam as a separate arrangement to be carried out irrespective of Soviet [Page 90] default under other provisions of Potsdam; and thirdly, because Bevin was reluctant to stretch further the already attenuated relations between HMG and the Soviet.
I explained to Strang that in our view Bevin’s reasons were of very doubtful validity, if, in fact, they were valid at all. He indicated that he would express our position to Bevin. I shall do so also, and am not without hope that Bevin will change his position. In this connection, while discussing the Czechoslovakian situation1 with Bevin this afternoon, he said that he had never known the House of Commons to be so violently anti-Soviet.