740.00119 EW/3–1649: Telegram

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

us urgent

993. There follows my next telegram text of draft paper PRI and Humphrey list which we will present to British and French this afternoon.1 Basic outlines position this paper were discussed this morning with Bevin and Schuman. It is our hope that agreement on a specific paper may be reached today and presented to the governments immediately for consideration and, if possible, approval during Thursday. I will send you agreed paper, which may differ from this one, tonight. If you can give your approval, I will then endeavor to get Bevin’s and Schuman’s. Schuman has gone back to Paris and unless we can go to him for agreement Friday, the matter will have to go over [Page 568] until Monday because of French electioneering Saturday and Sunday. That is why I hope to hear from you Thursday.

I believe that the basis for agreement outlined in my next numbered telegram is substantially what we will be able to obtain later today. However, it appears likely that the French will hesitate to agree to unlimited production of synthetic ammonia and chlorine, and will want to restrict to present capacity. British and French, I have good reason to believe, will agree to 36 million unit per annum limitation of ball and roller bearings. I can agree to their positions on these items on the basis of my instructions. I feel we are going to have some real successes on the Humphrey list and the PRI, elimination of many industries from the limited category. I do not believe that we can do any better in the remaining matters, and hope you will feel justified in leaning their way on these, in view of the successes.

Specifically, on the Humphrey list, Bevin indicated he might be able to come down to ten, but I will try to insist that he come down to seven and that Krefeld be retained.

On synthetic rubber, the British are insistent butadiene facilities and 50 percent of styrene capacity be removed. This means all of Leverkusen and substantial parts of Huels and Ludwigshafen. I understand butadiene capacity is not readily and efficiently convertible to production of other chemicals for which there is a market and need and could always be easily reconverted to rubber. I don’t know how great German needs for styrene are, but perhaps the British are right in asserting that the capacity is excessive. In any case, I feel that we must decide whether the elimination of essential parts synthetic rubber capacity, which is in line with our basic belief that a few strategic industries should be absolutely prohibited, is an unwise exchange for an agreement which includes the elimination of any restriction on a number of industries.

I don’t know if our proposal on electronic tubes will be accepted. It is more likely that the French and British will insist on their proposal transmitted to you Embtel 982 March 15.2 Would that be acceptable in some form?

Our machine tool proposal may also not go quite far enough.3

Doubt whether we will be able to change the existing agreement on aluminum.4

On shipbuilding, Bevin had Admiralty First Lord at meeting. British feel very deeply this problem, and I cannot see how we can [Page 569] avoid agreeing to some limitations size, and speed for various types of ships. Would not we be faced with great pressure at home to do so later, if we did not now? I think we may be able to get British to relax position on 6,000 GRT and 12 knots some in expert negotiation.

I think that the proposal on duration is the best we can hope to get. Bevin wanted five years. I have not presented alternative (b), because the British attitude has persuaded me that we would not be likely to obtain a majority vote of the Military Governors in this matter.5

The British and French do not want any publication of the fact of our agreement or its substance until after the 28th of this month, in order to avoid an unfavorable impact on the French elections. I indicated we might have to tell the Committees of Congress before the 28th, to avoid a heated and unfavorable debate in either the Senate or House.

The Foreign Office will issue an announcement that we have met, discussed these problems, and that discussions are continuing through regular channels. No background information will be given to the press.

Sent Department 993; repeated Paris (for Caffery) 179; Berlin (for Riddleberger and Clay) 154.

  1. Infra.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 2 to telegram 971, supra.
  3. The United States position prohibited the manufacture of machine tools specifically designed for the production of war material. (740.00119 EW/3–1149)
  4. The agreement on aluminum provided for production of 75,000 tons and the removal from Germany of any capacity in excess of this figure.
  5. For a summary of the positions on the question of duration, see telegram 823, March 11, p. 560. The reference to alternative (b) is to that alternative in telegram 823.