740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–1449: Telegram

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

top secret
us urgent

563. Holmes met with Kirkpatrick this morning to discuss proposed procedure re Western mark introduction (Deptel 512, February 131). After consulting Bevin, Kirkpatrick states following British views:

British cannot agree that Koenig should be told at meeting MG’s February 16 that US and UK will proceed with introduction Western mark March 10 irrespective of French views. British oppose this course because: (1) it is too precipitate; (2) evidence it would provide of split among Western powers; (3) practical difficulties of currency change-over in only two sectors; and (4) adverse effect it would have on Anglo-French relations.

However, British rejecting French proposal special currency for Berlin and are instructing Robertson to take strong stand at MG’s meeting February 16 for introduction Western mark March 10.

British also making representations to French Embassy here today and sending instructions to British Ambassador Paris along following lines: They feel that there is no prospect of satisfactory solution currency problem from Committee of neutrals; that the situation in Berlin requires immediate remedy; and that only practicable solution is introduction Western mark. British feel French fear that Western mark would constitute political tie West sectors to Western zones not well grounded. In any case, the French must make up mind about future status Berlin and if Western sectors not tied to Western zones in some manner they will be pushed to the East. British feel that [Page 673] currency adjustments should be based on facts of situation and not on tenuous political objective. Harvey2 being instructed coordinate approach to French Paris with Caffery.

Re Experts Committee report and action suggested in SC (Deptel 492, February 113), Dean, who was also present at meeting this morning, stated that he understood report would be more or less neutral document which reviewed history committee and informed President SC of committee’s inability resolve currency issue. However, to discerning eye it would be apparent that committee placed some of onus for failure on Western powers. In view of this fact, and of possibility of currency change-over on March 10, Dean of opinion that it would be better for us not to stimulate discussion SC re currency but to let sleeping dogs lie for the present. Dean hopeful that committee report will not be published and informed us that Canadians oppose publication and that latter believes Soviets may also oppose publication because it might commit Soviets to concessions made at Geneva.

Sent Department 563; repeated Paris 101; Berlin 105.

  1. Not printed; it reported that Clay expected opposition from the French when the introduction of the Western mark was discussed at the Military Governors meeting February 16. He suggested, and the Department concurred, that the U.S. and U.K. Military Governors tell the French Military Governor that they would proceed with the introduction of the Western mark regardless of French participation unless the Russians had agreed to a satisfactory solution of the Berlin question prior to March 10. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–949)
  2. Sir Oliver Charles Harvey, British Ambassador to France.
  3. Not printed: it reported that the United States contemplated developing its new offer (see telegram 299, p. 664) to the full in the Security Council as a fair solution to the Berlin problem. In pursuit of this aim exploratory talks in coordination with the British and French should be begun with the neutral members of the Security Council immediately after the submission of the Technical Committee’s report. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–949)