850.33/5–2350: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Secretary of State


268. AGSec from Slater.1 Reference Deptel 3619,2 repeated London 2460; Paris 2330 and Bonn 262, Frankfort 290, Paris 80, London 88, Berlin 115, this date. Following is summary report of special HICOM [Page 706] Council meeting held with Monnet on Schuman plan on 23 May 1950 at Bonn-Petersberg, with McCloy (US) chairman, Berard3 (France) acting for Poncet,4 and MacReady5 (UK) acting for Robertson:6

At opening of meeting in welcome to Monnet I referred to wide public interest aroused by Schuman proposal and indicated HICOM anxious to do everything to aid in achieving significant results on basis these proposals.
Monnet’s statement to Council which was made in frank manner and with considerable evidence of feeling for importance this new step had three parts: first, background and motivation of Schuman proposal; second, steps for bringing proposal into effect; third, transitional measures acceptance and implementation of which by participating nations would be essential to establishment of European coal, iron and steel authority.
With regard to first, Monnet said French Government had been preoccupied with fact that up to present European cooperation had been confined to activities of consultative bodies with no real concrete common action resulting, a fact which would lead to grave disappointment to European public opinion. Further he felt US public opinion did not understand that while European nations exhibited good intentions, no real action resulted. Creation of over-all political federation for Europe he felt was impractical and indeed undesirable since individual differences of nations rendered full surrender of sovereignty impossible and sacrifice strength resulting from present diversity. However, authority could be created that would command respect if it were confined to particular field in which need to pursue common purpose and common good was apparent. Schuman’s proposal was put forward as concrete step toward creation of such an international community of interest in field of coal, iron and steel industries. He emphasized importance to Franco-German relations of achieving this sense of common good. Coal and steel industries had been chosen for this step because of association in public mind of France and other European countries of Ruhr industries with war potential. So far as sense of security in France and rest of Europe was concerned French Government had felt that these industries should be subject of common European authority.
In second part of remarks Monnet sketched procedure leading to constitution of European coal, iron and steel authority as follows: representatives of sovereign governments, acting under instructions of [Page 707] those governments, would sit down together to discuss Schuman proposals and to draft treaty to serve as charter of proposed authority. On completion of negotiations this treaty would be submitted to parliaments of participating countries for ratification. Monnet emphasized repeatedly that these negotiations should not become involved in technical problems of integrating these industries but should aim at creation of general framework within which, after creation of authority, technicians and experts could work out technical problems. He further pointed out that authority when established would be a trustee of participating governments acting with specific mandate from and under specific direction of governments. If recognized need for device to ensure authority did not overstep bounds laid down in treaty and, in passing, mentioned possibility of appeal by member government to an international tribunal of type of Hague Tribunal, He said enforcement of authority’s decisions would necessarily be in hands of participating sovereign governments, but with development of sense of common good he envisaged no great difficulty on this score. He concluded second part by re-emphasizing Schuman statement at London that setting up of high authority would in no way pre-judge question of ownership of enterprises involved and that in exercise of function joint high authority would take into account IAR powers and other obligations imposed on Germany so long as they exist.
In third part of statement Monnet recapitulated functions of high authority as being to modernize production and improve quality of product, to supply coal and steel on equal terms to French and German markets as well as those of other member countries, to develop joint exports, and to improve and equalize condition of life and work in the industries concerned. He explained that improvement of production would imply disappearance of uneconomical producer, and aim opposite to that of cartels which protected uneconomical producer. He also emphasized that equalization of conditions of life and work in various national industries meant in mind of French Government raising of standards and not leveling.
In view of different conditions of production prevailing in member countries, achievement of these economic objectives by authority depended upon member governments’ unqualified acceptance and implementation of following transitional measures:
  • (a) Application of production and investment plan;
  • (b) Institution of mechanism for equalizing prices;
  • (c) To [The?] creation of reconversion fund to facilitate rationalization of production;
  • (d) Immediate removal of customs duties and [garble] from trade in coal and steel between participating countries. He explained purpose of reconversion fund as being to aid producers unable economically [Page 708] to meet new conditions to trade either to modernize their plants or reconvert to other purposes, and stressed it was not a “compensation” fund.
On conclusion Monnet’s statement MacReady raised question whether in view of fact West German coal and steel industry was still under HICOM control, HICOM observer should not be present at any negotiations on Schuman proposal participated in by Federal Republic. Both Monnet and Berard stated that since HICOM would have opportunity to approve treaty ultimately negotiated and since French Government representatives could keep HICOM adequately informed of developments, it was unwise to create impression of any pressure on Federal Republic in negotiations by appointment of HICOM observer. I supported this argument pointing out significance of occasion justified extraordinary methods. It was finally agreed not to have HICOM observer.
I referred to Adenauer’s rumored intention to appoint industrialist as Federal Republic negotiator and asked Monnet’s view this point. He said he felt that industrialists must not be involved in these negotiations and indicated preference for representatives of disinterested and non-partisan character. Council requested Monnet to emphasize this point to Chancellor at afternoon meeting this date.
MacReady raised certain other difficulties: He asked whether raising of standard of living of workers in coal, iron and steel industries would not tend to have repercussions in other sections of working population; whether a European coal, iron and steel authority would not constitute tariff block to countries outside it; whether if scheme were put into effect governments in free enterprise economies would not have to take powers over industry in order to ensure attainment of objective of international authority. Monnet while admitting force of these observations felt that they were points upon which study and discussion would produce solutions.
At meeting’s conclusion it was agreed Monnet should see Chancellor and invite Federal Republic participation in negotiations; that Chancellor should then ask HICOM agreement to participate with understanding that favorable reply would be given to request; and finally that, upon completion of negotiations, treaty would be submitted to HICOM for approval.
In private discussion with Monnet prior to meeting I obtained impression that though Monnet has not yet advanced very far in his thinking on implementation of plan and realizes that some technical points of difficulty will be fundamental, he is seeking to avoid delay in furthering the main design through preoccupation with what he [Page 709] terms technical details. I am to see Monnet 24 May after his meeting with Chancellor.7

Sent Department 268, repeated info Berlin 117, Paris 83, Frankfort 297, London 91. Pouched Land Commissioners Bavaria, Bremen, Wuerttemberg Baden, Hesse. [Slater.]

  1. Joseph E. Slater, U.S. Secretary on the Allied (HICOG) General Secretariat, Frankfort on the Main.
  2. May 22, not printed. This telegram requested detailed information on Schuman Plan talks scheduled in Bonn-Petersberg the following day. (850.33/5–2250)
  3. Armand Bérard, French Deputy High Commissioner for Germany.
  4. André François-Poncet, French High Commissioner for Germany.
  5. Lt. Gen. Sir Gordon Nevil Macready, U.K. Economic Adviser to the British High Commissioner for Germany.
  6. Gen. Sir Brian Hubert Robertson, British High Commissioner for Germany.
  7. In telegram 271 from Bonn, May 24, not printed, McCloy informed the Department that according to the French Liaison Office, Adenauer and Monnet had reached full agreement on Schuman Plan negotiations. Negotiations were scheduled to begin in Paris within a week or 10 days to reach an overall political agreement establishing and defining powers of the proposed international authority. Schuman planned to head the French Delegation with Monnet as deputy. After the political agreement was reached, delegations of technicians would meet to negotiate the technical details of implementing the agreement. (850.33/5–2450)