740.00/5–950: Telegram

The Chargé in France ( Bonbright ) to the Acting Secretary of State


2198. Following is text in translation of French Government statement being issued by Schuman this afternoon 6 p. m., Paris time.1

“The peace of the world can only be preserved if creative efforts are made which are commensurate, in their scope, with the dangers which threaten peace.

The contribution which an organized and active Europe can make to civilization is indispensable for the maintenance of peaceful relations. France, by championing during more than 20 years the idea of a United Europe, has always regarded it as an essential objective to serve the purposes of peace. Because Europe was not united, we have had war.

A United Europe will not be achieved all at once, nor in a single framework: It will be formed by concrete measures which first of all create a solidarity in fact. The uniting of the European nations requires that the age-old opposition between France and Germany be culminated: The action to be taken must first of all concern France and Germany.

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To that end, the French Government proposes that immediate action be concentrated on one limited, but decisive point:

The French Government proposes that the entire French-German production of coal and steel be placed under a joint high authority, within an organization open to the participation of other European nations.

The pooling of coal and steel production will immediately assure the establishment of common bases for economic development, which is the first state for a European federation, and will change the destiny of these regions which have long been devoted to the production of arms to which they themselves were the first to fall constantly victim.

The community of production which will in this manner be created will clearly show that any war between France and Germany becomes not only unthinkable, but in actual fact impossible. The establishment of this powerful production unit, open to all countries that wish to participate in it, will give a real foundation to their economic development, by furnishing on equal terms to all countries thus united the fundamental elements of industrial production.

This production will be offered to the entire world, without distinction or exclusion, as a contribution to the raising of living standards and to the progress of world peace. Europe, with its resources thus increased, will be able to pursue one of its essential tasks: The development of the African continent.

This will quickly and easily bring about the fusion of interests which is indispensable to the establishment of an economic community and introduce a leaven of broader and deeper community of interest between countries which have long been divided by bloody conflicts.

By pooling basic production and by creating a new high authority whose decisions will be binding on France, Germany and the other countries who may subsequently join, this proposal will create the first concrete foundation for a European federation which is so indispensable for the preservation of peace.

In order to pursue the objectives so defined, the French Government is prepared to initiate negotiations on the following bases:

The functions entrusted to the joint high authority will be, as quickly as possible: to modernize production and improve its quality; to supply coal and steel on equal terms to the French and German markets as well as to those of the member countries; to develop joint exports to other countries; to improve and equalize conditions of life and work in these industries. In order to reach these objectives in the light of the disparate conditions of production prevailing in the member countries, certain transitional measures must be taken involving the application of a production and investment plan, the institution of a mechanism for equalizing prices, and the creation of a reconversion fund to facilitate the rationalization of production. The flow of coal and steel between member countries will be immediately exempted from all customs duties and may not be subject to freight differentials. In this way, conditions will be progressively created which will automatically insure the most effective rationalization of production on the basis of the highest level of productivity.

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Unlike an international cartel whose purpose is to divide up and exploit national markets through restrictive practices, and the maintenance of high profits, the projected organization will insure the fusion of markets and the expansion of production.

The principles and the essential undertakings defined above will be the subject of a treaty between the states to be submitted to Parliaments for ratification. The negotiations required to work out the details of implementation will be conducted with the assistance of jointly designated arbiter. The latter’s duty will be to see that the agreements conform with the principles and, in the event of final disagreement, to determine the solution to be adopted. The joint high Authority charged with the operation of the entire system will be composed of independent personalities chosen on a basis of equality by the governments; a president will be chosen by the governments by common agreement; his decisions will be enforceable in France, Germany and the other member countries. Appropriate measures will assure the necessary channels of appeal against the decisions of the high authority. A representative of the UN near the authority will be charged with making a public report to UN twice a year on the functioning of the new organization, particularly with respect to protecting its peaceful aims.

The setting up of the high authority in no way prejudges the question of ownership of the enterprises. In the exercise of its mission, the joint high authority will take into account the powers conferred on the international Ruhr authority and the obligations of every kind imposed on Germany as long as they are [in] existence.”

Sent Department 2198, repeated London 621 for the USDel, Frankfort 316.

  1. Le Monde, May 11, 1950.