396.1 LO/4–2950: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State


Secto 53. From Jessup. Second US-French bilateral Saturday a. m. In leading off on agenda item 2, Bohlen stated (following B–171) objectives of 2 countries largely coincided, that there were few major bilateral problems and that such differences of opinion or lack of correlation of aims as existed occurred mainly in third areas. As for US attitude toward Franco-American relations it would be said US considered a strong and vigorous France essential to a free Europe and Cooperation of French essential for success common policies of Western World. Listing few general points (specifically excluding Germany and Indochina, to be discussed next week) Bohlen stated US policy had been reflected so far as metropolitan France was concerned in constant US effort toward economic recovery, and in the international field France’s position on SG of NAT spoke for itself. In view recent official statements made in North Africa particularly Algeria misrepresenting US policy toward that area, Bohlen felt it appropriate to reaffirm US interest in harmonious economic, social, and political development this area under French aegis adding there was no wish for special US privileges or for US substitution for French position or influence there. Turning to specific issues, while inviting French delegation to raise any they wished, Bohlen mentioned only 2, urging rapid conclusion. FCN treaty in order to clearly establish principles underlying US investments in France and need for continuous and where possible advance consultation on German problems in order avoid repetition situations such as recent public clatter over Saar necessitating issuance special public statements which no more than reiterated long established policies.2 In conclusion stated 2 countries were free from major [Page 897] controversial issues. Massigli replying indicated general agreement and said we could congratulate ourselves that French feelings towards US were both friendly and grateful and that 2 countries saw eye to eye on most issues. Referring briefly to North Africa he pointed to special problems there:

Large white population principally responsible for developing area which engendered special problems of races living side by side.
Different degree of political and social development of 3 areas.
Repercussions in other North African areas of reforms or other measures taken in one as result its degree of development.
Strategic importance of area.

This created special atmosphere where unauthorized or irresponsible statements American press or private citizens sometimes called forth ill-considered replies from local French officials. Important thing was that solution required caution on behalf French which was mistakenly considered as temporizing or backsliding.

As for Germany, Massigli pointed to great improvement US-French understanding over last 4 years and particularly since Schuman became Foreign Minister.

Alphand then reviewed elements great French economic comeback which would have been impossible without US aid: High production, disappearance black market, strength of franc resulting in distinct recession CP influence and partial realization ERP objectives. As for future, US could be assured of continued French cooperation in EPU, in trade field, and gradual working toward disappearance quantitative restrictions. Referred also to stillborn Finebel scheme which hoped to revive. While French could not agree to wide economic integration with Germans unless UK joined in, there was greater hope for progress along these lines in future.

Alphand then listed grave French concern for future:

Rearmament program threatened to wipe out economic and financial successes of recent years unless there could be developed a coordinated financial and defense program under NAT through the new machinery we were discussing. While France most grateful for MAP, successful rearmament program must be based upon the most weapons produced as rationally and cheaply as possible.
Indo-China continued to be great drain both financially and militarily, and France’s efforts there conflicted with her obligations under EGA bilateral and North Atlantic and Brussels Pacts. Without outside help the future of Indo-China was black.
Post 1952. The dollar gap was most threatening and present statistical projections indicated that in spite best French efforts it might not be bridged. France was eagerly awaiting announcement conclusions Gordon Gray Committee.

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Alphand acknowledged there were some difficulties re FCN Treaty but stated French willing take up subject when and where we wished presumably Paris.

On agenda item 4b 3 Jessup asked Massigli whether under this heading he wished give further views on Bidault and Schuman plans but Massigli indicated this matter still under consideration by French Cabinet and he could not discuss it this week. Perkins stated US views on European integration so well known we wished merely note few highlights: Germany must look west—Atlantic Powers cannot afford possibility her looking east; healthy and prosperous Europe essential to existence Western World; Council of Europe and OEEC should continue; US realized that while integration was desirable and necessary it could not be accomplished overnight and was not for tomorrow. Perkins added UK most relieved learn this latter realization on our part.

In reply to Alphand’s question as to whether UK attitude toward integration had been favorably modified Perkins gave personal view that British were coming up other side of valley into which they had descended in last 2 years but had made no net advance on their point of departures.

Alphand then asked as “academic question” what US attitude would be toward formulation long range European plan for progressive reduction tariffs among participating countries without corresponding reductions tariff wall toward rest of world, saying that if US really wanted integrated Europe we must be willing accept some such scheme even though it conflicted in some respects with established US policies. Perkins and Stinebower replied that while question was too complex to give even academic answer, ITO charter provided for regional preferential tariff schemes provided they were directed toward eventual complete customs union, and while intermediary steps Alphand scheme looked as if they might arouse hostility in certain American quarters, if an objective consistent with ITO charter were clearly stated at outset, such frictions as might develop as result intermediate stages would be better accepted.

It was agreed that if possible problem of East West Trade should not be presented to Foreign Ministers this meeting.

No discussion item 4c,4 listed on agenda, was undertaken this point since subject had been satisfactorily covered under other headings.

Sent Department repeated Paris 692.

  1. Not printed; FM D B–17, “The Role of France in the World, Especially in Europe,” dated April 5, suggested that Secretary Acheson:

    • “(a) obtain French concurrence with our fundamental common objectives (FM D B–20)
    • “(b) express the hope that we will be kept informed of French intentions regarding Germany
    • “(c) reassure M. Schuman that we have no intention of trying to usurp French prerogatives in Africa
    • “(d) express the hope that France will publicize its policies and intentions in Indochina and North Africa.” (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 149: May FM Meeting B Series)

    A subsequent draft of this paper, FM D B–17a, dated April 12, not printed, makes the same suggestions (CFM Files, ibid.). Regarding FM D B–20, see FM D B–20c, and footnote 1 thereto, p. 842.

  2. Documentation on United States policy concerning the status of the Saar, is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  3. Political and economic integration of Europe.
  4. Long-term development of economic relationships with the United States.