762A.022/2–350: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1


483. As noted Deptel 408 Jan 30 to Paris, to Fkft as 626, Lond as 437, we appreciate recent Fr attempts to be helpful on Saar problem and believe they represent important contribution towards resolving threat to Franco-German relations posed by recent difficulties over Saar. Pls express our gratitude to Schuman and inform him we feel situation wld be materially improved, particularly for Adenauer in dealing with prospective Bundestag debate over Saar, if he cld issue statement in Paris prior to negots with Saar Govt indicating that admission of Saar into Council of Europe wld be provisional pending final peace settlement. (Bonn’s tel 12, Feb 2 to Paris; to Fkft as 28, London as 112). We think it most important that helpful “climate” be created for Germany’s entry into Council of Europe and believe that such statement by Schuman cld be major factor in easing political [Page 937] situation in Ger. Another solution might be to authorize Adenauer to use Schuman’s earlier statement to this effect in Bundestag.

You shld also inform Schuman that we have only had time to make a preliminary examination of the draft agreements to be negotiated with Saar Govt which Ambassador Bonnet delivered to us. With exception of points noted below we do not desire to comment on them at this time although Schuman shld clearly understand that our position on post treaty arrangements must be reserved pending decisions at final peace settlement, decisions which we expect, of course, to reflect our existing commitments re political separation from Ger and econ & finan integration with France. Naturally we can not give our approval or support to specific provisions which are to be negotiated now between Fr & Saar and assume it to be understood that coming negotiations will produce agreed views of Fr & Saar but not necessarily views of others.

We note that specific mention is made in agreement on coal mines of fact that question of ownership can only be settled at time of peace settlement. We believe it essential that all agreements contain qualifying statement indicating that they are all subj to decisions made at time of final settlement.

We consider it wld also be helpful if first sentence of preamble to agreement on mines cld be altered to remove present rather blunt assertion of Saar’s right, which is likely to arouse further controversy. It wld appear to us to be sufficient merely to state position of two Govts with respect to claims.3

We continue to feel that in both the mine convention and the railroad convention, it wld be preferable to find formula which avoids fifty year term for reasons already explained to Fr Govt. Any purported extension of agreements beyond peace settlement shld be made subj to provisions that settlement. For ur info, it appears that Fr motive is to reach binding commitments now which will not have to be renegotiated if peace settlement is favorable to their thesis of Saar ownership. We cannot accept such solution, as every aspect of these agreements must be subj to overall decisions of settlement, and not merely question of ownership.4

  1. Repeated to Frankfort as 770 and to London as 539.
  2. Not printed.
  3. In telegram 21 from Bonn, February 2, Hays also indicated his alarm at the preamble, which he considered a “definite attempt by French to prejudge issue of mine ownership”. Holmes reported a similar feeling at the Foreign Office in telegram 597, February 2, from London, not printed. (762A.022/2–250 and 862A.19 Ruhr/2–250)
  4. Bruce discussed the United States desiderata with officials of the French Foreign Ministry on February 6 and reported that they were unsympathetic to the idea that all the agreements on the Saar should include a reference to the final determination at a peace settlement. (762A.022/2–650)