CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 2173: London Meeting Press Releases

Communiqué Issued at the Recess of the London Conference on Germany1

The informal discussions of German problems which began in London on 23rd February between the representatives of the United States, United Kingdom and France, and as from February 26th with the representatives of the Benelux countries, went into recess today.

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At the request of the other delegations, the meetings were held under the chairmanship of the U.K. representative, Sir William Strang. The U.S. and French Delegations were led by Mr. Douglas and M. Massigli, the U.S. and French Ambassadors in London. At the first meeting it was agreed to invite the Benelux countries to take part, on an equal footing, in the discussions of all items on the agenda, except those dealing with administrative matters which are the direct responsibility of the Occupying Powers controlling the three occupied areas. The chief representatives of the Benelux Delegation were Jonkheer Michiels van Verduynen, the Netherlands Ambassador, Vicomte Obert de Thiesieus, the Belgian Ambassador, and M. Claessen, the Luxembourg Minister.

Important progress has been made and it has been decided that these discussions will be resumed during April for the purpose of reaching conclusions on the remaining questions, so that the Delegations may be in a position to submit to their Governments, at the end of the next session, their recommendations over the whole field. In the meantime various aspects of certain of these problems will be the subject of more detailed examination.

The continuous failure of the Council of Foreign Ministers to reach quadripartite agreement has created a situation in Germany which, if permitted to continue, would have increasingly unfortunate consequences for Western Europe. It was therefore necessary that urgent political and economic problems arising out of this situation in Germany should be solved. The participating Powers had in view the necessity of ensuring the economic reconstruction of Western Europe including Germany, and of establishing a basis for the participation of a democratic Germany in the community of free peoples. While delay in reaching these objectives can no longer be accepted, ultimate Four Power agreement is in no way precluded.

The various items on the agenda were the subject of a detailed study, with the exception of security questions, which were given preliminary examination and will be considered in detail upon resuming the discussions. Similarly discussion of territorial questions will be held over until the next session.

Discussions took place among the U.S., U.K., and French Delegations on certain limited aspects of the question of reparations from Germany relating to internal policy in the Zones for which they are responsible as Occupying Powers.

The relationship of Western Germany under the Occupying Powers to the European Recovery Programme was also discussed by the U.S., [Page 143]U.K. and French Delegations. It was agreed that for the political and economic well-being of the countries of Western Europe and of a democratic Germany there must be a close association of their economic life. Since it has not proved possible to achieve economic unity in Germany, and since the Eastern Zone has been prevented from playing its part in the European Recovery Programme, the three Western Powers have agreed that close cooperation should be established among themselves and among the Occupation authorities in Western Germany in all matters arising out of the European Recovery Programme in relation to Western Germany. Such cooperation is essential if Western Germany is to make its full and proper contribution to European recovery. It was also agreed to recommend to the three governments that the Combined Zone and the French Zone should be fully associated in the European Recovery Programme and adequately represented on any continuing organization. Proposals in this sense will be presented at the forthcoming meeting of the C.E.E.C.

Agreement in principle has been reached on recommendations for the association of the Benelux countries in policy regarding Germany.

Consideration was given by all Delegations to the establishment of an international control of the Ruhr on which Germany would be represented. The purpose of this international control would be to ensure that the economic resources of this area should not again be used for the purposes of aggression and that there should be adequate access to the coal, coke and steel of the Ruhr for the benefit of extensive parts of the European community including Germany. Agreed recommendations in this respect will be submitted to the governments concerned on the scope and form of this control.

A constructive discussion among all the delegations took place on the present situation and the possible evolution of the political and economic organization of Germany in the combined U.S./U.K. Zone and the French Zone. A wide measure of agreement was reached on a number of controversial points. In particular it was agreed that a federal form of government, adequately protecting the rights of the respective states but at the same time providing for adequate central authority, is best adapted for the eventual reestablishment of German unity, at present disrupted. Moreover, in order to facilitate the association of Western Germany with the European Recovery Programme the three delegations concerned further agreed that prompt action should be taken to coordinate as far as possible the economic policies of the three zones, in such matters as foreign and inter-zonal trade, customs, and freedom of movement for persons and goods.

  1. The text of this communiqué was approved by the Conference at its 12th Meeting, March 6; see telegram 906, Delsec 1620, March 6, from London, supra.