396.1 LO/5–950: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State

top secret   niact

2187. Eyes only from the Secretary for the Under Secretary.1 No distribution. From conversation since my arrival,2 I believe it possible [Page 692] that tomorrow, or soon afterward, French Government may propose important approaches toward Germany in economic field. Our information is limited. We have not been consulted or involved in the proposals, if made, in any way. In fact the matter may be in embryonic stage in French minds. As of tonight, it is in secret stage, and you must so regard this message, prior to Cabinet consideration and it may not materialize at all.3

This wire is to alert you for these reasons: the proposal, if made, may have very considerable possibilities. It may be very controversial. At this stage the United States would express great interest that judgment. I would not bother President until the news breaks or we advise you that it will. Then President should be warned to await further information before comment.

Executive Branch should be advised to withhold comment. Chairmen of Foreign Committees should be similarly advised.

  1. James E. Webb.
  2. Secretary of State Acheson arrived in Paris on May 8 en route to the Foreign Ministers meetings and NATO meetings in London. For documentation on these meetings, see pp. 828 ff.
  3. Later the same day, Acheson informed Webb in telegram Actel 1, 4 p. m., not printed, that he had just learned that the French Cabinet had approved the proposal that morning and that Robert Schuman, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, was planning to make an announcement during the afternoon. Acheson suggested that Webb follow the course outlined in his telegram 2187 as soon as possible (396.1 LO/5–950).