850.33/5–2350: Telegram

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


2446. Believe it is most important that during period of detailed development Franco-German coal and steel integration proposal US attitude be clearly defined and adhered to by all US representatives abroad who may however indirectly be involved in this matter. Only in this way could possible complications arising from conflicting viewpoints which might weaken our influence or involve US prematurely in undesirable commitments be avoided.

[Page 705]

If the Department is contemplating any such general instructions, I believe that following considerations are pertinent:

The US should continue to manifest its support of the French initiative and the general idea without direct involvement in this preliminary stage which would limit in any sense our freedom of final judgment in regard to any plan which may emerge in whole or in detail.
The US Government therefore should have no official association or even observers with the working committees engaged in the elaboration of this plan at this stage. The full knowledge of such negotiations can be obtained by US without this type representation and in fact we believe that the French will be anxious to keep us currently informed.

Should we participate in preliminary negotiations we will almost certainly explicitly or implicitly have our point of view distorted for bargaining purposes between the parties. In French domestic political circles our advice will be misinterpreted and we will be accused of intervention and domination by elements in France hostile to the plan and conversely of having given approval to this or that aspect thereof by elements favorable to it. Even appearance of American direction will jeopardize acceptance of proposal in France.

We strongly believe that in this matter it is up to the European officials directly concerned to do the preliminary drafting without seeking at every step to obtain indication of US attitude on every point. In addition to making it clear that the initiative and responsibility for developing a concrete plan rests with the Europeans, such an attitude on our part would leave our Government free to make unrestricted final judgment.

Harriman has read this message and concurs.

Sent Department 2446, repeated info London 688, Frankfort 349.