840.00/11–149: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

top secret

3938. For Douglas. British Embassy has just handed us the following extract from a telegram they have received from the Foreign Office.1

“I do not think that the Committee of Ministers can postpone consideration of this question. It will be some time before the Committee can meet again and postponement will have a bad effect in Germany. But this is not all. Unless the Committee of Ministers reaches some decision of principle now, the High Commissioners will be handicapped in their negotiations with Dr. Adenauer by the circumstance that they will not be in a position to say whether or not the admission of Germany is acceptable. Accordingly, the procedure I suggest is as follows. The Committee of Ministers should decide in principle that if Germany applies for associate membership, formally accepts the principles contained in the Statute, and agrees to have the same representation in the Assembly as the United Kingdom, France and Italy, she should be admitted. This provisional conclusion should be communicated not to Dr. Adenauer but to the three High Commissioners who are responsible for German foreign affairs. The High Commissioners would be at liberty to decide the timing and the manner of the communication to Dr. Adenauer. They could thus at their discretion bring this problem into the framework of their general negotiations with Dr. Adenauer. If, as a result of these negotiations, Germany applied for associate membership, her application would be brought before the next meeting of the Committee of Ministers.”

This message appears to have been dispatched before your conversation with Bevin on this subject.2 Although it does not say so, Hoyer

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Millar interpreted message to apply to admission of both West Germany and Saar to Council of Europe.

While we wish avoid any appearance of intervening in the affairs of the Council of Europe, we are not at this stage prepared to take a final position on Bevin’s proposal, although we are, of course, prepared to discuss subject at proposed high level meeting in Paris.

We hope very much that Bevin will be willing to handle the matter at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers along the lines (urtel 4377) which he has suggested.

  1. A copy of the extract, handed to Llewellyn Thompson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, by Hoyer Millar, together with a memorandum of their conversation, prepared by Thompson, not printed, is in file 840.00/11–149.
  2. Douglas had talked with Bevin presumably early in the afternoon of November. 1. The British Foreign Minister thought it might be possible for the Council Ministers to seek the advice of the occupying powers before deciding on admission, and saw no particular difficulty in devising some graceful way of postponing action. Telegram 4377, November 1, from London, not printed. (840.00/11–149)