840.50 Recovery/2–549: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State


496. Pass ECA as Toeca 650 for David Bruce and McDaniel.

At Foreign Office meeting re east-west trade February 4, attended by Embassy, Bruce mission and OSR representatives, Alphand presented list of arms now prohibited, for export to Eastern Europe as well as agreed Anglo-French 1 A list which French and British intend urge other participating countries to accept and implement.
Armaments now subject control all destinations under Ministry National Defense arrêté of 4 September 1939. Alphand stated no armaments are in fact being exported to Eastern Europe but new special directive being issued prohibiting any such shipments. He reaffirmed previous statement (Embtel 247, January 19, Toeca 5951) that with exception civil aircraft under 300 hp French arms list conforms generally to US munitions list but is being revised to include recently developed weapons. (On civil aircraft point we restated and maintained US position.) He handed us copy this list extracted from arrêté referred above.
Alphand also handed us copy of Anglo-French agreed list stating that British Foreign Office also same day handing list to US representatives London. Joint list, which is their version US 1 A list, contains 125 items, including some not contained in US list, to be withheld from export to Russia or satellites. Prior to putting this list into effect, however, Alphand stated French and British will attempt obtain adherence by other participating countries both as to export and reexport. Final decision as to extent adoption this list will depend on degree such adherence obtained. Alphand expressed French view that it would be useless from security standpoint and commercially disadvantageous to deny exports of items not prohibited by other countries. He urged that US representatives in other countries join French and British in urging acceptance this list. We pointed out our missions could be counted on to press not merely for adherence to Anglo-French list but for maximum adherence US 1 A list.
We informed Alphand that lists would be sent Washington for comment and that he would be advised later of US views. He reaffirmed [Page 78] position that decisions involving French national security are French prerogatives and not connected with US aid: that while he would be pleased to have any comments we could offer, the French Government “do not consider this a matter for negotiation”.
We said that perhaps we might be able persuade French of importance from standpoint their own security of including other items on list and that reciprocally we would welcome their suggestions for additions to US list.
US opposition to shipment cartridge plant to Yugoslavia was reaffirmed; Alphand thanked us for our views but said French would independently arrive at own decision in this matter. He added for our information that no commitment yet taken.
Discussions with French and others are rapidly approaching point where US position with respect Anglo-French list should be taken. Instead of discussion our list item by item to reach agreed parallel lists (the procedure anticipated Torep 8162 and with which French heretofore indicated agreement), French approach now is that they have received our 1 A list for information and have in turn presented us the agreed joint Anglo-French 1 A list for our information. This “arms-length” dealing obviously highly unsatisfactory and we foresee that other participating countries will probably utilize existence two 1 A lists, with differences due to complex of economic and strategic factors, to delay adherence either list. Further danger is that discussion of joint Anglo-French 1 A list with other participating countries may well lead, even if adherence should be finally obtained from all, to a list which is merely least common denominator and omits many items considered by us to be of important security significance. Urgent instructions appreciated.
Will comment by wire re both lists; copies by airmail to Department and ECA.3
Embassy, OSR, and Bruce mission in full agreement this message.

Sent Department as 496, repeated London as 97.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Telegram 3352, Torep 816, August 27, 1948, to Paris, set forth the basic instructions regarding the implementation of United States policy on East-West trade. The telegram is printed in Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. iv, p. 564.
  3. The two lists under reference here were transmitted to the Department of State as enclosures to despatch 138, February 7, from Paris, none printed (840.50 Recovery/2–749). In his telegram 539, February 7, from Paris, not printed, Ambassador Caffery observed that the Anglo-French 1A list included about 75 out of the 161 items on the US list and added about 35 items to the US list. Caffery also noted that there was a considerable divergence between the Anglo-French list and the US list both as to numbers of items and terminology (840.50 Recovery/2–749).