396.1–LO/5–1050: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Foreign Ministers Meeting to the Acting Secretary of State


Secto 216. UK–US ministerial meetings continued Wednesday morning with items 6(b), (c); 7 (a); 8(a).1 Discussion item 8 reported in separate telegram.2

Opening discussion Bevin referred to papers MIN/UKUS/P/23 on US–UK economic relations; MIN/UKUS/P/54 on continued consultation; MIN/UKUS/P/85 on UK relation to West Europe which he felt embodied generally most of points with which concerned. Secretary indicated general agreement principal points in P/8 and noted that underlying whole question was concept that closer relationship of US and Canada with Europe would make it easier for British to play necessary role in Europe but that form of this relationship had not been spelled out. Four lines of development were possible: (1) closer association among European countries, (2) further expansion NAT activity in nonmilitary fields, (3) closer association between US Canada and Europe through OEEC, (4) new organization. Bevin [Page 1025] indicated opposition to establishment of new organization. Secretary said inclined agree no new machinery required; that he had no firm view at present time as to most appropriate form of relationship and that he felt general question would have to be discussed further in Tripartite meeting.

Referring to Bidault’s proposal for new Atlantic Council Secretary said he had gained impression from Schuman that French were not going to push that proposal and were now more interested in some form of association between OEEC and Canada and US.

Makins for UK indicated that premature to take final decision on question of longterm relationship between US and Europe but desirable to study how Article 2 of NAT should be implemented. In course of study, question of relationship with OEEC and Council of Europe would arise. OEEC and present US relationship to it would in any case continue until 1952 so that there was no urgency in establishment new procedures for providing for that relationship. In UK view it would probably be desirable some time in future for Germany to be associated with Pact in some way.

Secretary inquired whether British and French assumed that at this meeting it would be necessary to take a definitive decision on question of future relationship between US and Europe. Makins indicated UK view that it would be sufficient for Ministers to welcome US statement on longterm relationship with Europe and to indicate willingness to give all possible assistance in working out necessary arrangements. He reiterated UK view that it was not desirable establish organic relationship between OEEC and US and Canada at this stage.

Secretary indicated general agreement with this approach and referred to specific problems which he felt should be settled promptly, i. e., petroleum and EPU. Makins indicated British reply to US memo on petroleum6 would be given US shortly. Secretary emphasized undesirability prolonged negotiations this subject but there was no substantive discussion. With respect to EPU Secretary indicated he did not wish to discuss technical aspects but did wish emphasize importance of reaching agreement promptly, particularly in view fact that present payments arrangement would expire June 30, and indicated that agreed proposals from experts were required by May 15 if Council to act when it met June 2. Makins indicated reply from British experts now before ministers and could be expected before end of week. Harriman emphasized that EPU most crucial matter before OEEC and referred legislation now before Congress which [Page 1026] if passed in present form would earmark $600 million for a satisfactory EPU.

Although not formally agreeing to papers P/2 and P/8 they were noted by ministers as generally acceptable.

Turning to question of Germany Bevin indicated concern with French view that Germany should not join North Atlantic organization either now or any time in future. Agreeing, Secretary said he felt that although Germany could not be brought into Pact now it would be great mistake to reach a decision at this time that Germany should never be associated with North Atlantic community. He then referred to immediate problems of how Germany could make necessary contribution to strengthening of West and necessity for planning ahead so that as HICOM relinquishes controls other arrangements are sufficiently developed. He stressed importance of a planned relaxation of direct controls in Germany rather than a change under pressure. Bevin agreed.

Secretary suggested useful to exchange views on what we each meant by a relaxation of controls and requested McCloy to give US views. McCloy expressed view that UK placed greater emphasis than US on control over foreign affairs while US more concerned than UK with internal developments. In our view internal situation was the key to peace; we felt we had opportunity, for a limited period, of developing in Germany a democratic pattern of life. Much could still be done to shape future but better understanding required between US and UK on how this could best be done. Bevin said he assumed it had been agreed last week that German Government should have more freedom with respect internal affairs;7 that unless we turned over domestic affairs to Germans there was danger of their becoming too dependent on control authorities and thus avoiding necessary internal decisions. Secretary agreed that Germans should become increasingly responsible for domestic affairs but reemphasized McCloy’s statements about importance of ensuring development of democratic Germany rather than relying upon security controls, Robertson while agreeing with McCloy that security better assured if Germany were democratically inclined than it was through various devices of control, felt we should influence Germans in ways other than by vetoing German legislation which tended to shift responsibility from the Germans and involved High Commission in German [Page 1027] politics. Bevin indicated he considered Germany most important item on agenda and suggested that in tripartite talks adequate time be set aside for discussion of divergencies in approach to German questions. He suggested three powers agree on a “code of conduct” in order minimize differences among themselves. Referring to Adenauer’s decision yesterday re German membership Council of Europe8 and Germany’s increasing role in Europe, he emphasized necessity for united guidance from three powers.

Turning to item 7, East Europe, Secretary summarized understanding reached in preparatory talks, i. e., that no useful purpose would be served by negotiations with Soviet Union this stage but that if public opinion required such negotiations, question of agenda, etc., should be further discussed. No further consideration this item on bipartite basis considered necessary.

Sent Department Secto 216, repeated Paris 814.

  1. The meeting was held at the Foreign Office. Attending for the United States were Secretary Acheson, Douglas, Cooper, Jessup, Harriman, McCloy, Perkins, Bohlen, Byroade, Martin, and Hare. Attending for the British were Foreign Secretary Bevin, Younger, Strang, Kirkpatrick, Davies, Makins, Jebb, Wright, Hadow, Roderick E. Barclay, Bevin’s Private Secretary; Sir Brian Robertson, British High Commissioner for Germany; Sir Frederick Hoyer Millar, Minister at Washington; Sir Roger Robertson, and Lord Henderson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for German Affairs.
  2. In the original agenda, transmitted in telegram 1731, April 17, p. 835, Item 8 had been Japan. Apparently in subsequent discussions this was changed to the Near East.
  3. For the text of MIN/UKUS/P/2, see Secto 108, May 3, p. 957, and footnote 3 thereto.
  4. Dated May 6, p. 1072.
  5. For the text of MIN/UKUS/P/8, see UKUS/P/9, May 5, p. 967, and footnote 2 thereto.
  6. A copy of this memorandum on the sterling-dollar oil problem was presented to the British Embassy on March 29, 1950 (841.2553/3–2950).
  7. For documentation on the work of Subcommittee B on the German question, see pp. 913 ff.
  8. Documentation on West German membership in the Council of Europe is scheduled for publication in volume iv.