740.00119 EW/2–949: Telegram

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


508. For Saltzman from Douglas. Deptel 432 February 61 and Embtel 474 February 8.2

Late yesterday Holmes explained to Kirkpatrick for communication to Bevin our inability to agree discuss dismantling and prohibited and limited industries simultaneously. Kirkpatrick stated that decision to expedite settlement of German question and to consider above problems together was made in Cabinet, that he would report our position to Bevin at once.

At Kirkpatrick’s request Holmes called again this afternoon to receive message from Bevin requesting earnestly that even if we could not agree to simultaneous discussion we speed up determination of our basic policy concerning prohibited and limited industries in order to be in a position to give British and French some assurances respecting these matters at same time as settlement dismantling issue. Kirkpatrick went on to say that British are prepared to make substantial concessions [Page 553] regarding dismantling and that Cabinet would expect evidence such concessions justified. He said he wanted to be completely frank and that British would only raise questions concerning five plants among those remaining in disagreement. Any reassurances I may be instructed to give British concerning prohibited and limited industries will be advantageous in reaching agreement on dismantling.3

For example, could I say that we would make certain substantial concessions toward meeting the British and French position on those limited and prohibited industries about which there is present disagreement, on the clear understanding that at the expiration of three years, or earlier, if negotiations for a peace settlement are commenced, such prohibitions and limitations would be reconsidered.

This will, I am sure, evoke from the French and British the argument (1) that such a short term arrangement would not mean dismantlement and identification of plants for reparations which fall within the short-term arrangement, and that, therefore, it carries no permanent or more permanent guarantee in regard to such restrictions and prohibitions, and (2) that plants in Germany not in the immediate future dismantled, will as Germany becomes more independent and assertive, never be dismantled.

On the other hand, it is much easier to give away than to take away, to relax restrictions and prohibitions than to impose new ones. Three years hence we will know much more about the sort of Germany that is apt to emerge, the conditions and organization, if any, of Western Europe, the relationship of Germany to Western Europe, the progress of the Atlantic Pact, etc. This knowledge should provide an intelligent basis either for retaining restrictions now imposed or relaxing them.

The above is just offered as a suggestion, and I recognize there are objections to it, but there may be some variation of this line, which might be helpful, or some wholly different one.

Hope to be out of bed Friday and in the office Saturday.

Sent Department 508; repeated Paris 91.

  1. Ante, p. 550.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 1 to telegram 475, supra.
  3. In the margin of the source text Saltzman had written:

    • “1. No combination.
    • 2. No change in position.
    • 3. Discuss with Br. in Washington.”