762A.022/1–2050: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France


274. Deptel 406 to Frankfort of Jan 18, rptd Paris at 246, London as 234.1 Pls seek early opportunity to discuss Saar with FonOff. Position stated by Sec at press conference means unequivocally that US supports and will support at time of peace settlement Fr claim that Saar shld be politically detached from Ger and financially and economically integrated with France. Actions taken meanwhile in Saar are regarded [Page 932] as provisional in sense that only a peace settlement can make them definitive. Moreover, this over-all commitment does not provide carte-blanche as to detailed arrangements.

You shld indicate bur feeling that any proposal looking toward long-term regulation of Saar econ or polit life, such as current Fr proposal to lease mines from Saar Govt on 50-year basis, is in view of provisional nature of Saar arrangements subj to consultation with Brit and ourselves. Dept therefore awaits formal Fr approach on this matter. You might indicate preliminarily that Dept has serious question as to present ownership of Saar mines and doubts whether ownership can be shown to rest with Saar Govt. Dept is glad to note from press accounts that Schuman feels any arrangement which might be made is provisional and subj to review at the peace settlement. In light of this attitude Dept feels it wld be advisable not to conclude any arrangement in terms which wld purport to run longer than time of peace settlement.

You shld point out to FonOff that US Govt has been at pains in this matter to give full support to basic Fr position on the Saar. US attitude has been based not only on our prior commitments but also on feeling that firm united front must be displayed to Gers on basic issues. Nevertheless, recent devels re Saar are disquieting to Dept and do not augur well for improvement of Franco-Ger relations on which any sound integration of Ger into western Eur must rest. In view of what Dept regards as pressing urgency of drawing Ger closer into western Eur community, US feels major decisions regarding Saar shld be taken most carefully on tripartite basis.2 Since polit detachment of Saar from Ger is a fact and econ and financial integration with Fr seems very far advanced if not completed, Dept feels that it wld be much wiser on Fr side not to introduce new proposals which at present time can only be expected to excite nationalistic feelings in Ger, and thus retard improvement of Franco-Ger relations.

You may at your discretion tell FonOff that Dept is instructing HICOG to advise Gers to maintain a more flexible attitude on this question.

We note from London’s 282 of Jan 18 that Brit are making somewhat similar approach to Fr. London pls ascertain whether Brit FonOff will also approach Gers along lines of Deptel 460 to Frankfort of Jan 20, Rptd Paris as 273, London as 277.

If you consider it desirable you may present these views to Schuman himself.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted the text of Secretary Acheson’s statement on the Saar. (752A.00/1–1850)
  2. At this point in the source text the phrase “with view to minimizing irritant to Franco-Ger understanding” had been deleted before transmission.