740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–1048: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Caffery ) to the Secretary of State


162. Chauvel, who has consistently demonstrated his friendliness to the US, asked to see me this morning. He said that in the absence of Bidault and Acting [Foreign] Minister André Marie, both in the country, he felt constrained to express his government’s alarm and concern over the recently much publicized Clay-Robertson proposals for “a German economic administration”. He referred to tripartite conversations in London on December 17th envisaging further tripartite conversations on German affairs.1 He alleged that the French had been eager since that time to undertake those conversations, but had been “invariably put off”. He emphasized French fear that the Russians will now set up some sort of a government at Berlin. He gave me [Page 21] lengthy telegram on the subject sent to Bonnet at Washington with instructions to communicate it to the Secretary.2 A similar telegram was sent to Massigli who saw Bevin late yesterday afternoon. Bevin told him that he was as surprised as Massigli over the news from Frankfurt; that he had been told a telegram had arrived at the Foreign Office early in the afternoon, but he had not had an opportunity to read it. “This statement”, said Massigli, “was so astonishing that I took measures to check it, and I ascertained from other members of the Cabinet that, at a Cabinet meeting the day before in reply to questions from other member of the Cabinet, Bevin made a similar statement.”

Chauvel asked me urgently what I knew about all this. I replied only what I had read in the newspapers. I should appreciate any guidance from the Department in that connection.3

  1. For the records of the conversations under reference here, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. ii, pp. 811813.
  2. Regarding Ambassador Bonnet’s note of January 11 to Secretary of State Marshall, see footnote 2 to Marshall’s note of January 17 to Bonnet, p. 34.
  3. In telegram 226, January 14, from Paris, not printed, Ambassador Caffery reported on a talk he had just had with Foreign Minister Bidault who just returned from a Riviera vacation. Bidault had confirmed what Chauvel had told Caffery but in much more vigorous terms. Bidault also said:

    “I beseech you to endeavor to persuade your people to make it a little easier for me. What happened at Frankfurt is being exploited in such fashion here as to make my position well nigh untenable; and you know that I have cut my bridges behind me.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–1448)