711.4027/10–348: Telegram

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

secret   urgent

5179. Regarding Embassy’s 4859 of September 16.1 Foreign Office has replied by note stating they have instructed French Embassy Washington to furnish Department their detailed observations and reasons why they feel delivery Junkers must be completed.2 Note repeats earlier arguments regarding insignificance from security point of view, and adds that these planes were made in 1947 and sale completed December 1, 1947 and hence not affected by ECA act of April 3, 1948 (full text being forwarded by despatch).

For Department’s information this was first formal reply to Embassy’s note on matter, but Alphand wrote personal letter to Embassy’s representative two days before implying French intended complete deliveries.3 Embassy regarded Alphand’s letter as clear indication of rejection of our position and, acting on instructions in Deptel 3439 of September 3,1 wrote Foreign Office a second note underlining the importance we attached to question and calling attention to provisions Bulgarian peace treaty. In reply, Foreign Office states Article 17 does [Page 470] not apply, contending it must be read with Article 16 which shows intent to be prevention of Germany from taking steps outside German territory toward rearmament. Informally Alphand insists Junkers must be delivered although states willingness avoid any future aviation commitments to satellites.

Ambassador Bonnet just returned to Washington and we believe he fully instructed before departure for purpose of calling personally on Norton.4 As reported we have sidestepped Foreign Office request for statement of our general aviation policy and extent to which it was being pushed in other nations (Embtel 4629 of September 55) and if they have learned of policy from other sources (Embtel 5069 of September 28)5 representations by French Embassy Washington might include fishing expedition as one of motives. Therefore, if Department should decide, as result importance French attached to question, to inform French Embassy regarding overall satellite policy would urge we be informed Niact so we might simultaneously inform Foreign Office so as to avoid question of our good faith when time comes to negotiate French acceptance.6

Sent Department 5179, repeated Sofia as 46, Bern as 65.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The French Foreign Ministry note under reference, dated October 1, 1948, not printed, was in reply to the Embassy’s note of September 28, p. 466. A copy of the French note was transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 1246, October 11, from Paris, not printed (874.796102/10–1148).
  3. Regarding Alphand’s letter of September 24 to Civil Air Attaché Railey, see footnote 4, p. 466.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Garrison Norton, Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation and Communications.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Telegram 4116, October 21, to Paris, not printed, instructed Ambassador Caffery as follows:

    “Emb authorized advise Alphand informally US, while it does not agree JU–52’s have no military value, nevertheless willing withdraw objections delivery ref aircraft Bulgaria, in view French position cancellation contract already concluded would create serious difficulties, and that US understands French willing prohibit sale further aeronautical equipment USSR and Satellites. Pending results imminent discussions Brit most effective means implementing equipment and facilities aspect NSC 15/1 as well as timing such steps implementation, basis your further talks Alphand should continue be ECA policy and not NSC 15/1.” (874.796102/10–1948)