Memorandum of Conversation, by the Associate Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Wallner)
|Jean Monnet, Commissioner of French Reconstruction Plan
|Pierre Siraud, Counselor for Economic Affairs, French Embassy, Washington
|D. J. Reagan, Counselor for Economic Affairs, American Embassy, Paris
|W. Wallner, WE
Siraud brought in Jean Monnet to talk about wheat allocations for France. It will be recalled that Monnet is here on an official mission for the French Government and that before he left Paris he suggested, in the course of a call on Ambassador Caffery, that great economic, monetary and political benefits would ensue if this Government could assure the French Government of sufficient grain supplies to maintain [Page 632] the present ration until the new French crop is in. (See Paris telegram #1438, March 18).1
By prearrangement with Highby of the Division of International Resources, Wallner handed to Siraud the Department’s note of today’s date concerning wheat supplies. (Copy attached)1 Wallner explained that considerable thought had been given in appropriate quarters in Washington to Monnet’s suggestion to Ambassador Caffery and that the present note was as far as we felt we could go at this time. In the next few days, he added, the final report on wheat availabilities in this country should reach the Department of Agriculture. If this report meets expectations it was hoped that the Secretary of Agriculture might feel able to announce a higher export goal. On the basis of this goal, if announced, it would be possible to make a careful review of French requirements and make an allocation of wheat to France which in the opinion of this Government should permit the continuance of the present ration until the harvesting of the French crop. Wallner carefully reiterated the terms of the note, emphasizing the importance of sources other than the U.S. as factors in the final determination of the French allocation. He added that while we were not yet in a position to meet Monnet’s suggestion, we recognized its merit and were working in that direction.
After further discussion which indicated that Monnet thoroughly understood the American position, he raised the following point:
He said that he had received a letter from Jouhaux, the leader of Force Ouvrière, the non-Communist French trade union organization, in which Jouhaux had pointed out the difficulties he was having in keeping his people in line in view of the campaign of the rival Communist-dominated CGT to raise industrial wages in France by 20 percent. Mr. Jouhaux stated in his letter that a powerful factor for restraint would be a Government announcement that the French bread ration would be raised to 250 grams on May 1st. Monnet said that he had not been requested or authorized by his Government to take this question up with us but that he saw no harm in discussing it while we were talking about wheat. Wallner and Reagan said that Jouhaux’s suggestion was as attractive as it was impracticable. They added that American officials had got white hairs trying to maintain the 200 gram ration and that even it was not completely assured: it was out of the question to contemplate raising the ration at this time and most probably until the French crop was harvested.