762A.5/5–951: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce), to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

6803. De La Grandville, French Secretary of European Army Conference, in course of discussion with Embassy officer indicated French disapproving proposed organization of German defense administration. He also showed in confidence copy of telegram which Foreign Office recently sent to François-Poncet quoting substance of memorandum from Moch. Memorandum vigorously dissented from recommendation (apparently from Poncet) re-establishment of a single German ministry or administration (to be called other than Ministry of Defense) in Bonn to coordinate German Defense functions.

Following is substance of message to Poncet:

French Defense Minister disapproves proposal to allow Germany to form organizations similar to Defense Ministry. Moch wants German defense functions to be split up among various civilian ministries without creation of any new ministry or organization. It is premature for NATO or European nations to take over control of German Defense under a plan which provides for gradual transfer of control powers. Modification or ending of controls on German defense should be an end and not a beginning. Moch also opposed specifically creation of post of inspector general. In his view this would of necessity place centralized control in hands of a German general and would be prelude to re-establishment of German general staff. He considers present a particularly unfavorable moment to contemplate any of foregoing steps.

Foreign Office official commented on message to effect Foreign Office disagrees with Modi’s view and hopes these matters will appear in new light after forthcoming elections.2 He called attention to “continuity” of Foreign Office thinking these subjects which he described as “consistently occupying middle position between views of Moch and Americans”.

Foregoing confirms views other French position prior to elections now slated for June.

  1. Repeated to Bonn, London, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg.
  2. For documentation on the French national elections, June 17, see volume iv .