840.00/8–349: Telegram

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


3212. In conversation with Embassy officer chief Saar Division Foreign Office stated question admission Saar as associate member Council Europe under Article 5 of statute first brought up by Schuman at Five Power meeting June 18 when it was agreed question would be studied by governments and followed up through regular diplomatic channels. Following this meeting matter was brought to attention of respective Foreign Offices by French missions in several capitals. In July 23 conversation Schuman briefly discussed question Saar membership with Bevin who indicated he was not sure such move opportune in view possible German reaction, but stated that he had reached no decision and matter was still being studied.

Foreign Office source stated that regrettable uproar was subsequently caused by publication London Sunday Times article implying British Government opposed French proposal regarding Saar on ground this first step toward eventual French annexation. This had necessitated two mises au point, one by British Foreign Office disavowing [Page 481] Times articles and one by French Foreign Office stressing that French policy in regard Saar still based on its Moscow CFM memorandum of April 10, 1947.1 Foreign Office source remarked that principles of this memorandum had been accepted by both British and Americans and referred specifically to statements by former Secretary Marshall in CFM meetings of April 10 and November 26, 1947, accepting principles of customs and monetary attachment of Saar to France and its political detachment from Germany.2

Source stressed that French policy had not changed and that French had no desire annex Saar but on contrary contemplated eventual relationship between France and Saar comparable to that between Belgium and Luxembourg. He added that Foreign Office currently engaged in drafting series of conventions which it hoped could he concluded with Saar by end of year and which would replace present rather broad and general supervision of Saar affairs by specific agreements on limited number of subjects. Saar obligations France would thereafter be only those contained in these conventions and in Saar constitution. Under new system High Commissioner who in organizational stage had found it necessary to intervene in Saar affairs to degree possibly undesirable on permanent basis, would become merely normal French diplomatic representative. In response to inquiry whether French contemplated permitting Saar government to undertake its own foreign representation as was case with Luxembourg, informant stated he thought French Government would be willing at later date to allow Saar to undertake such representation.

When Embassy officer suggested that present moment did in fact seem inopportune for bringing up Saar question in view of German reaction, French official inclined minimize this reaction characterizing it as merely natural electoral period phenomenon. He stated Germans fully aware of Allied agreement on political detachment of Saar from Germany and had tacitly recognized this at time Bonn Constitutional Assembly by making no move to include Saar within provisions of West German constitution.3 Informant stated that if Germans were not clear on this point French Government felt that fact of Allied agreements of 1947 should be made clear to Germans without further delay rather than allow question become clouded by propaganda.

When Embassy Officer remarked that it was difficult to understand why French should take view that admission of Saar should precede [Page 482] that of West Germany, informant stated that French position was rather that admission of West Germany should not precede that of Saar and that French might be agreeable to simultaneous admission of West Germany and Saar. In conclusion Foreign Office official stated French position remained as originally stated on June 18, i.e., that Saar fulfilled requirements of Article 5 of statute and action should be taken on admission of Saar as associate member soon as possible. He stated that while question had been discussed with Five-Power Foreign Offices by respective French missions none of governments had so far given any definite answer and Schuman therefore would undoubtedly bring up question again at Strasbourg. He did not know what line Minister would take in ensuing discussion but stated that while French position was firm on questions of principle involved, it was at the same time open-minded with regard to questions of procedure and that if other powers should appear to consider it advisable that matter be postponed until some time subsequent to German elections,4 it was conceivable that Schuman might agree to such temporary postponement of matter.

Very similar views on this subject were expressed by chief of Central European Division who, though he took somewhat more truculent attitude with regard to opportuneness of French proposal and necessity for admission of Saar prior to West Germany, nevertheless stressed that French had not slightest desire to annex Saar and also stated that Foreign Office experts had for some time been engaged in difficult and complicated task of drafting conventions which would establish Franco-Saar economic relations on basis of specific agreements and give Saar authorities much greater autonomy than at present.

Sent Department 3212; repeated London 557, Berlin 298; pouched Rome, Brussels, The Hague, Luxembourg.

  1. For the text of CFM (47) (M)114, not printed, see Declarations de M. Georges Bidault, Président de la Délégation Française an Conseil des Ministères des Affaires Étrangères, Session de Moscou, Mars–Avril 1947, Paris, 1947, pp. 42–43.
  2. For the text of the April 10, 1947 statement by Secretary Marshall, see Germany 1947–1949, p. 148. Regarding his statement of November 26 at the fifth session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. ii, pp. 734735.
  3. For documentation relating to the deliberations of the Bonn Parliamentary Council and the drafting of the West German constitution, see pp. 187 ff.
  4. Under reference here are the first elections to the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany on August 14. Concerning the results of these elections, see Germany 1947–1949, pp. 317–319.