740.5/8–250: Telegram

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

top secret

623. Embtel 525, July 28, London 154, Heidelberg 8.1 Following is translated text Foreign Office note dated today re LOC. Its provisions have been approved by Pleven and Petsche.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presents its compliments to the Embassy of the US and has the honor to refer to the recent exchanges of views on the subject of financing the expenses that are required on French territory for the establishment of a line of communications going from La Pallice to the German frontier, for the requirements of the American troops in Europe.

The cost of that part of the work that is required on French territory (expenses in dollars and francs) would be at a maximum of 10 billion francs. (Note: This refers to first year only. Written confirmation follows.)

The French Government requests that this expenditure be shared by the various powers that are signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty; and it will definitely assume that part of the cost which will be allotted to it as a result of such a division.
However, the labors of the committees or organisms charged with allotting these shares may involve delays which are incompatible with the need for rapid establishment of this line of communications.

The French Government agrees that the immediate expenses be financed by advances made by the American and French Governments. It is prepared to make such advances in francs up to 20% of their total amount and within the limit of the prospective total of 10 billions.

Budget considerations of a technical nature make it impossible, however, for the French Government to participate effectively in the [Page 1382] advances which would be necessary, prior to January 1, 1951. The French Government suggests that in the meantime the advances be made by the American Government, with the understanding that the French Government will make reimbursement after January 1, 1951.

The technical arrangements would be made by experts designated by the two Governments.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be grateful to the Embassy of the US if it could make known the attitude of the Government of the US with respect to this proposal, and takes this occasion to renew the assurances of its highest esteem.”

Our comments will follow.

Sent Department 623, repeated info London 180 for Spofford2 and Bonesteel, Heidelberg for Handy.3

  1. Not printed.
  2. Charles M. Spofford, U.S. Deputy Representative, North Atlantic Council.
  3. Gen. Thomas T. Handy, Commander in Chief of the U.S. European Command.