850.33/5–3150: Telegram

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

top secret   niact

2593. Eyes only Secretary. Re my immediately preceding cable following is rough translation French note May 30:

  • “1. The French Government has studied with the greatest care the British memorandum of May 27 in reply to its note of May 25, concerning European coal and steel production.
  • 2. In its message of the twenty-fifth, the British Government had emphasized the fundamental change that the French proposal would bring about in Franco-German relations: The primary condition and one of the essential aims of the project is in fact the elimination of the age old antagonism between France and Germany. As the British Government recognizes in its memorandum of May 27, the acceptance by other governments of participation in negotiations on the same basis as the Federal German Government in itself begins a new phase by enlarging the scope of the discussions, which are thus placed from the outset on a European basis. Nevertheless, in its note of May 27 the British Government declared that it holds, so far as its own participation is concerned, to the method suggested in its message of the twenty-fifth which referred only to direct conversations between France and Germany.
  • 3. The special position that the British Government is desirous of maintaining in these negotiations is justified in its memo by the supposed intention of the French Government to require as a prior condition to full participation in the proposed discussions, a commitment [Page 713] to pool coal and steel resources and to create an authority endowed with certain sovereign powers.
  • 4. As its representatives have had occasion to make known orally to British representatives, the French Government is desirous of repeating its assurances that such are not its intentions. As was already made clear in its note of May 9 the only commitment would he in a treaty signed by the states and ratified by the parliament.
  • 5. In reality, the goal the French Government has set itself is quite different. Realizing the practical difficulties that the conversations will have to overcome, it appears indispensable that they be constantly guided by common principles: It is only if the negotiations are clearly guided by an agreement of the participating governments on the fundamental objectives to be attained that they will be able rapidly to identify the methods of application and the complementary arrangements necessary for implementing the proposal of Mr. Schuman dated May 9. Such is the meaning that should be given to the world ‘commitment’ (engagement) in the second paragraph of the draft communiqué.
  • 6. The French Government desires once more to recall the basic motive of this proposal: it aims at creating on a limited but decisive point, a community of interests to take the place of present divisions; it provides for the establishment of a high authority of a new kind; it assigns to the latter the mission of effecting a general rise in the standard of living.
  • 7. The British Government is of course legitimately concerned with pursuing a policy of economic expansion, of full employment, and of raising the standard of the workers. The institution proposed, far from setting up an obstacle to such a policy, is destined, in the mind of the French Government to remove the dangers which might suddenly threaten the pursuance thereof. It proposes to substitute a coordinated raising of the conditions of the workers for a competition founded on the exploitation of labor; an expansion of markets for the restrictive practices of cartels; a rational distribution of production for dumping and discrimination. The policy of full employment attains its true objectives only if it assures to labor the most productive occupations—it could not in the end be pursued under the pressure of growing unemployment in other countries. The mission assigned to the high authority thus makes it impossible for its action to compromise the results obtained by this policy where it is already in operation, and implies that it favors an overall expansion that will make it possible to reconcile the rationalization of production and the maintenance of full employment.
  • 8. In order to accomplish its mission, the authority will act—within the limits of its mandate and subject to possible appeal by governments—by virtue of a charter which will have been worked out by the sovereign states and ratified by their parliaments. One of the objects of the negotiation will be to specify in a treaty the way in which the authority will function, the nature of its powers and the organization of an appeal procedure. But in order that its action may serve the development of a European community, it is indispensable that such an authority be independent both of governments and of private interests. This partial fusion of sovereignty is the contribution [Page 714] which the French proposal brings to the solution of European problems. Public opinion has hailed its importance and novelty.
  • 9. The French government believes that the preceding explanations will dissipate any misunderstanding on the significance of the bases of the proposed negotiations. It does not believe that there can be a difference of opinion between it and the British Government on the objectives envisaged. It hopes that the British Government will now feel able to participate on the same basis as the other governments in the proposed negotiations.”

Sent Department 2593, repeated information London 723 eyes only Douglas, Frankfort 374 eyes only McCloy, Brussels 125 eyes only Murphy, Rome 196 eyes only Dunn, The Hague 74 eyes only Chapin.