850.33/7–3150: Telegram

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


550. According to French officials Schuman and Bevin are expected to take advantage of The Hague meeting of Brussels pact Foreign Ministers to have informal talks on progress Schuman proposal. Our informant not clear as to purpose but expect that Bevin may again raise question of dropping sovereignty issue and of proceeding with Plowden proposal. According British sources Plowden proposal now goes very far in pooling coal and steel by treaty between nations. Question of surrendering sovereignty and continental federation would be left to some appropriate political forum. In order be certain that Schuman and Bevin would have common basis for discussion and also make clear that French were not going to drop principle of delegating [Page 743] sovereignty, the following note was given by Clappier1 to British delegates here:

“In order bring about the pooling of coal and steel, French proposal of May 9 provided a common high authority with a supranational character. The conversations which have been going on in Paris for a month now make it possible to get some idea of the institutional framework within which the French proposal of May 9 will take its definitive form.

It seems to be definitely agreed that the new institution will include 4 distinct bodies: a High Authority, a Court of Justice, a Council of Ministers, and a Common Assembly.

The High Authority will be invested by the treaty with a certain number of powers, specifically delimited, which it will exercise in a sovereign manner under the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice. The Authority will be composed of completely independent personalities, who will specifically maintain no connection with the states.
The Court of Justice will probably be a single arbitral court. It will provide the only means of appeal against the decisions of the High Authority. A general formula must be inserted in the treaty to permit the court to judge if the decisions of the High Authority are in conformity with a certain number of purposes and a certain number of equilibriums. The Court could only annul the decisions of the High Authority without in any case having the power to modify them. The latter would be the task of the High Authority itself.
The creation of a special Council of Ministers responds to a practical necessity. For the member states, in fusing their sovereignty with respect to coal and steel, do not fuse their sovereignty in other domains. Furthermore it is impossible to separate in an absolute manner the problems of coal and steel from other problems. It is thus indispensable to harmonize the action of the High Authority with that of the governments which are responsible for the general policies of the states. To this end mutual consultations are provided for on the one hand between the High Authority and the special Council of Ministers while on the other the Council of Ministers will probably be given the right to address recommendations to the High Authority in a certain number of precise cases, to the exclusion of any general formula. In all certain delegates have expressed the desire to place in the treaty certain attributions of the High Authority which would be extended to it only after a decision of the special Council of Ministers.
The Court of Justice would have jurisdiction not only over the appeals introduced by governments against the High Authority but also over appeals introduced by the High Authority against recommendations of the special Council of Ministers.
The creation of a Common Assembly before which the High Authority will be responsible, is in answer to the necessity of [Page 744] adapting the new institution to democratic and parliamentary principles. It is after all impossible to grant important powers to a High Authority composed of independent personalities without organizing their responsibilities. The Common Assembly should be formed of delegates from various national parliaments.”

According to Monnet, this framework is still very tentative and subject to change during conference discussions. In particular, question of nature of appeals to Court of Justice is still definitely an open one. We understand that delegates at conference are still skirting issue of how to weigh representation in Common Assembly. Fact this issue unsettled makes consideration of increasing powers of Common Assembly very difficult. We also understand that French and Germans in separate conversations are still discussing informally the changes in institutional arrangements that would be required if other countries do not join.

Monnet has requested his staff to prepare survey of status of political and economic aspects of plan as background for Schuman’s presentation at Strasbourg.2 He hopes to have this ready this week and has asked that recent questions you have forwarded to us be postponed until this document is prepared. I have agreed. With reference to your Deptel 439 to Paris July 253 it would appear that Schuman’s speech at Strasbourg discussions would be most appropriate time for Secretary’s proposed statement showing continued support of objectives of conference of 6. We will cable you subsequently on this matter.

Sent Department 550, repeated information London 162, Rome 62, Frankfort 81, Brussels 46, The Hague 41, Luxembourg 27.

  1. Bernard Clappier, Schuman’s “Cabinet Director.”
  2. Reference here is to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, meeting at its permanent headquarters in Strasbourg.
  3. In telegram 439, not printed, Bruce was asked to propose a proper timing for a public statement by the Secretary of State on continuing U.S. support of the general principles of the Schuman Plan and satisfaction over progress of the negotiations (850.33/7–2550).