762A.022/1–2450: Telegram

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


352. For the Secretary.

I saw Schuman this afternoon.1 Had long talk with him on Saar question and left him aide-mémoire embodying principal points set forth Deptel 274.2 He discussed situation in general terms but said he wanted to study aide-mémoire carefully before committing himself specifically which he would do during course of week and while McCloy is still in Washington. He regards the date for conference with Saar authorities on February 7 as not subject to postponement but the negotiations themselves will require a long time to complete and could be deliberately lengthened out. He rejects possibility, however, of postponing full solution until question of German admittance to Council of Europe has been acted upon. Owing to British elections arid visit of Auriol3 to England on March 7 next meeting of Committee of Ministers will probably not take place before March 15. In this connection he was most emphatic that present disturbances over Saar had not and would not alter his desire and determination nor that of his Government to have Germany become an associate member of the Council. He felt its admission to the Council was a matter of great importance to Europe and a necessity to good Franco-German relations.
He was not willing to make any commitment at this time regarding tripartite discussion with US and Britain and said that he envisaged off hand considerable difficulty with his Government in having the other members of the Cabinet agree to such consultation even if he decided favorably on it. He considered the suggestion interesting and would reflect upon it and give us an answer concerning it. He said in this connection that he had taken in private conversations with Adenauer the position that the Saar mining leases lay solely within the jurisdiction of the French and Saar Governments.
As far as the term of lease is concerned, he said that the 50-year figure was one suggested by various technical experts; that it had [Page 934] never received his approval nor had it been submitted to his Cabinet or to the Saar Government. He was not willing however to state that no lease would be entered into which would extend beyond the date of signing of a peace treaty. His reason for not being more specific in this regard was that he and the members of his Cabinet would have to give this matter serious consideration before he could express any definite views on it. Nevertheless he stated categorically that he had no intention of entering into any agreement with the Saar which did not specifically provide that such an agreement was in every respect subject to the provisions of an eventual peace treaty. In his two-hour private conversation with Adenauer (and his talks with other German political figures) he had made the immediately preceding point entirely clear and after he had done so Adenauer had appeared greatly relieved. He expressed disappointment over the attitude of German Government officials who he feels have deliberately misrepresented the situation in spite of his full and candid discussion of it during his visit there, and have incited a nationalist propaganda for political purposes. He believes that when the text is published of a Franco-Saar agreement embodying the saving clauses about its provisions being subject to final determination by a peace treaty the present excitement will be largely stilled.
He asked me to tell you that he was appreciative of your personal interest and concern in the subject and he expressed his thanks for your statesmanlike attitude regarding it.4

Sent Department 352, repeated London 113, Frankfort 57.

  1. In telegram 321, January 23, from Paris, not printed, Bruce had reported that he had asked for an appointment with Schuman to discuss the Saar (762A.002/1–2350). Harriman, McCloy, and Bruce had discussed the question on January 20 when McCloy passed through Paris on his way to Washington for consultations on Germany. They concluded there was no rise of Gaullist sentiment, nor did Adenauer’s explanations have any validity, and felt that the “timing of their negotiations has been most unfortunate.” Bruce recommended that the United States try to persuade the French to drag their feet and postpone the discussions with the Saar officials, and suggested a personal message from the Secretary to Schuman along these lines. (Telegram 302, January 21, from Paris, not printed, 762A.022/1–2150.)
  2. The text of the aide-mémoire was transmitted in despatch 79, January 25, from Paris, not printed (762A.022/1–2550).
  3. Vincent Auriol, President of the French Republic.
  4. In telegram 363, January 25, from Paris, not printed, Bruce reported his feeling that a generally negative reply to his aide-mémoire should be expected, and he suggested that it might “be to everyone’s advantage to have negotiations concluded rapidly and get the question out of the way as quickly as possible rather than having them drag on, thereby keeping the matter in the public eye” (762A.022/1–2550).