The Ambassador in France ( Bruce ) to the Secretary of State
4505. ReDeptel 4101, October 28.1 I saw Mr. Schuman this afternoon and outlined to him the viewpoint of the Department. He was thoroughly sympathetic with the desire of the Department to integrate Germany into the European community as rapidly as possible and asserted his personal conviction that every practicable step should be taken to do so. He said, however, that it would be absolutely impracticable politically in France for his Government to agree to Germany’s membership in the Council of Europe without the prior or simultaneous admission of the Saar to such membership. In this connection, the Department will recall that Mr. Bidault, although not then a member of the Government, publicly supported this position as the spokesman for the French parliamentary delegation at Strasbourg. It will also be recalled by the Department that a previous despatch by us had reported Mr. Schuman’s statement to me that the Government then headed by Mr. Queuille would not be able, even if it wished to do so, to assent to the admission of Germany unless the Saar had theretofore or at the same time, also become a member.
Mr. Schuman said today that the admission of the Saar at this time would not prevent a reconsideration of its membership status after the peace treaty since on the assumption that there would then be a change in its political status, it would cease to be a member and further that the Saar’s position today is no more provisional in a legal sense than is that of the West German Government and that both of them must be made definitive in an eventual peace treaty.
Furthermore, on the time schedule, Schuman envisaged the following steps:
- Discussion by the Committee of Ministers at their meeting next week;
- Discussion by the French Parliament;
- Approval of the admission of Germany and the Saar by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe (provided that the Committee of Ministers and the member governments amend the statute of the Council in accordance with the Assembly’s recommendation that it have joint jurisdiction regarding the admission of new members).
In connection with discussion of this question by the French Parliament, it will be remembered that Schuman personally pledged that the National Assembly would be given an opportunity to debate the admission of Germany to membership in the Council of Europe.[Page 492]
My view is that it will not be possible to change the French Government’s position on this question and it is quite possible that they already have obtained the support of other members of the Committee of Ministers (we believe this to be true in the case of British). Nor do I believe that the present Government could yield on this point even if it were so inclined, without inviting an adverse vote of Parliament. In the circumstances, we would appear to be faced with these alternatives: namely, either to have the whole question of German admission postponed indefinitely or to persuade the Germans to go along with the simultaneous admission of the Saar. My own feeling is that we should choose the latter.
Sent Department 4505; repeated London 766, Frankfort 111.
- Same as telegram 2373, supra.↩