740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–749: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

465. From Holmes. Kirkpatrick informed Reber and me this morning re conversation he had had with Schuman in Paris on February 4 with respect to Germany. He said that trip had been made at Bevin’s instruction as latter was seriously concerned by French obstructionist attitude in occupation statute discussion as well as other matters relating to Germany and believed that further delays in settling west German question would have extremely grave consequences for western powers. Bevin thought that occupation statute and constitution should be settled before end this month.

Kirkpatrick indicated that Schuman was not offended by bluntness Bevin message gist of which is given above, and had admitted, as Foreign Office has all along suspected, that he has not been kept fully informed re German developments by his subordinates in Quai d’Orsay. He assured Kirkpatrick that hereafter he would give his personal attention to these matters and consider them from standpoint of “broad statesmanship” and not be influenced by temporary advantages that might accrue to France on individual important but not fundamental questions. In reply observation that British and French would have recourse to Brussels powers consultative council in event they disagreed with US, Schuman said that he would be reluctant to take such step as Benelux not involved in matter. Kirkpatrick thereupon remarked that if question affected French security, they nevertheless had right to do so under Brussels Pact.

Re control agreement, Schuman concurred in Bevin’s view that in principle majority vote should prevail, mentioning however that certain important matters such as those affecting security of occupying [Page 30] forces should require unanimous vote. According to Kirkpatrick, Schuman also agreed that by virtue of its financial contribution, US should possess weighted vote in questions re foreign trade and foreign exchange. In this connection, Kirkpatrick said he told Schuman that British have not encountered any material difficulty under Bizonal fusion agreement despite predominant US voice.

Kirkpatrick said that after his talk with Schuman he had had long conversation with Chauvel in which he again stressed Bevin’s concern at French delaying tactic. Latter, he indicated, agreed in desirability of taking more objective attitute toward German question as a whole. Chauvel had, however, expressed some criticism on [of?] US contention that by reason of its financial contribution to Germany, it should have controlling voice in German policy matters. Flaw in this argument according to Chauvel was that if policy should go wrong, French would be first to suffer and, hence, size of aid should not be same criterion for determination policy.

Kirkpatrick said that he proposed to give substance of his conversation to Massigli before tomorrow’s plenary session and while we were in his office he telephoned to see if Massigli could call at Foreign Office this afternoon. Latter replied that he would be unable to do so for although he had received instructions re principles of fusion agreement, he was seeking further “clarification” from Paris.

Kirkpatrick concluded conversation with us by reiterating earlier statement (Embtel 384 February 1 repeated Berlin 711) that British were prepared to back up with respect to majority vote principle and to accept weighted vote in tripartite fusion agreement provided it did not go beyond points covered existing bizonal agreements.

In view Schuman’s remarks to Kirkpatrick, Reber’s talk with Couve de Murville (Paris 494 to Department, February 4 repeated London 96 Berlin 312) and Paris Embassy’s conversation De Leusse (Paris 497 to Department, February 6 repeated London 98 Berlin 323) and conversation Reber also had with De Leusse, French position principles trizonal fusion will presumably be along following lines (Deptel 406 February 34):

US to exercise weighted vote in matters relating to foreign trade and foreign exchange.
Unanimous decision by governments required in certain essential matters such as security. The range of this is not yet clear but we expect elucidation tomorrow.
Majority principle to prevail in all other matters of [on?] condition that longer time limit might be permitted for consideration appeals to governments.

Sent Department 465, repeated Paris 82, Berlin 90.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Ante, p. 27.
  3. Supra.
  4. Not printed; in it the Department of State asked Holmes for information on the French reaction to the memorandum on trizonal fusion (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–349).