United States Delegation Minutes of the Fifth Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, and France Held at Washington, September 13, 1951, 3 p.m.

Tripartite Min–5
Mr. Acheson (U.S.)
Mr. Morrison (U.K.)
M. Schuman (Fr.)
Also Present
U.S. U.K. France
Mr. McCloy Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick M. Francois-Poncet
Mr. Jessup Sir Pierson Dixon M. Bonnet
Mr. Perkins Sir Oliver Franks M. Alphand
Mr. Allen M. Seydoux

[Here follows a table of contents.]

1. Mr. Acheson wished to make clear his understanding of the previous day that the Bonn Report was not to be circulated but that an oral report only should be made.

2. Mr. Acheson also noted that a meeting of the three ministers with the Benelux ministers would take place on Sunday with regard to Germany.

Problems Raised by the High Commissioner

allied undertaking to station troops in germany

3. Mr. McCloy said that Chanceller Adenauer had presented the Commissioners with a draft security arrangement which included a security guarantee and made provision for the allies to station troops in Germany.1 Such troops along with NATO forces should make an attack on Germany a heavy military risk. In addition, it was stipulated that sufficient forces should be stationed in Germany until the European Defense Force could take over. Until now the stationing of allied troops had been a right rather than an obligation. The High Commissioners could not answer this question without further instructions so that preliminary views from the Ministers would be most helpful to the High Commissioners.

4. Mr. Morrison said that he was not without sympathy for the Chancellor’s request. He had talked with Schumacher and Adenauer, and the former had said if war came Germany must be defended and treated as an area of conflict in which the greatest damage would be inflicted. It was the U.K. view that the Soviets must be kept as far [Page 1280] East as possible and it was therefore in the interests of the West to maintain the defense of Germany. Germany, moreover, might provide a good training ground for allied troops. If, however, Adenauer was requesting the allies to effectively resist a Soviet attack, it would be hard to give an affirmative answer. It was impossible to give any firm answer at all without consultation at home, but the first step was to determine the nature of the Chancellor’s request and whether it would be possible to live up to such commitments if granted.

5. Mr. Schuman said that the High Commissioners must note the ministers’ views before making negotiations with Adenauer. His personal reaction was that the renewal of the 1950 declaration on the defense of Germany and Berlin was the maximum position to which the allies could go.2 This declaration was not a contract, but if it were to become one, it would be in the form of a mutual defense pact and subject to legislation. Under NAT in the event of war each country acts in accordance with its own judgement. Under the Chancellor’s suggestion the allies would be committed in the event of war regardless of their judgement. If the allies were to accept such an undertaking, moreover, they would be committed to take their troops out of Germany upon a German decision. The High Commissioners should say to Chancellor Adenauer that the Federal Republic had enough guarantees through the declaration on Germany and Berlin since it was necessary that the allies keep troops in Germany as long as they were in Berlin.

6. Mr. Acheson said that the U.S., like the British and French, could not make a firm decision. The matter was now under consideration by the President. It was probably impossible to commit troops by treaty on such a vague standard and for such an indefinite period. The High Commissioners might say after reaffirming the declaration that the three were committed to the policy of a democratic Germany, and that under NATO the West was proceeding with security arrangements. He agreed with Mr. Morrison in his sympathy for the German position. Means could be found, however, to give the Chancellor political support without creating treaty commitments. Close agreement of the three ministers might be enough for the High Commissioners at this time.

war criminals

7. Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick said that the Commissioners would be attacked by Adenauer unless the present status regarding war criminals was changed. He felt that this problem was probably more political than juridical.

8. Mr. Schuman said that this was of primary interest to France. He recognized the fact that a number of war criminal cases in France [Page 1281] had not yet been judged by French courts. He would recommend a speedy liquidation of these pending cases. With regard to sentences imposed in the past, review of cases judged in Germany might well be represented by a German in an advisory capacity on the Pardon Commission. In France, however, it would be unconstitutional for a foreigner to sit on such cases.

9. Mr. Acheson said that there were two sets of problems—those cases in France and those in Germany—and he assumed that the present discussion only affected the latter. Both the questions of custody and clemency rights were involved. With regard to custody, it was possible to leave the prisoners in Germany under allied control, take them out of Germany under allied control, or turn the prisoners over to Germany. He felt that the latter solution would cause least trouble. Even though some prisoners might escape and some laxity would exist, the other alternatives would produce one kind of irritation or another. With regard to clemency, he agreed with Mr. Schuman that there would be an advantage in having a German representative on the Pardon Commissions.

10. Mr. Morrison did not believe that His Majesty’s Government would change their mind in view of the great trouble in the past with regard to judging these cases and the probable strong reaction of the British public opinion if criminals were turned over to the Germans. He suggested that the criminals be left in allied hands and that the situation be reviewed in three years.

11. Mr. Schuman said that the experiment had been made in the French Zone of turning over several prisoners to the Germans. These prisoners were surrounded by an atmosphere of veneration, and he concluded that such an experience would be generalized if all prisoners were turned over to the Germans.

12. Mr. Acheson said that if Mr. Morrison would review the cases before this matter came up for decision in Germany and if Mr. Schuman would press his Government to speed up trials, it would be a great help to the High Commissioners. The Germans could very well argue that in Japan the occupying power maintained the right of clemency but had turned prisoners over to the Japanese.

berlin 3

13. Mr. Francois-Poncet stated that the situation became more and more tense, and that Soviet provocations recurred continually. In retaliation the allies seemed to have fewer weapons at their disposal than the Soviets. If the Soviets went to extreme lengths, it would be very difficult to again establish an air lift. There was a trade agreements treaty in preparation, however, which the Soviets greatly [Page 1282] desire.4 It might be possible to refuse to sign this treaty unless Soviet provocations stopped. Even if provisions were made through this means for curtailing the present vexations the Soviets might invent new means of harassing West Berlin.

14. Mr. Schuman said that his own inclination was to avoid making the situation more difficult than it was. He recognized the difficulties borne by the West and Britain during the period of the air lift and hoped that a renewal of that operation could be avoided. Through the use of the treaty mentioned by Mr. Francois-Poncet it might be possible to make the Soviets understand that their best interests lay in stopping provocative actions. The Soviets must be made aware that it was up to them to make the decision.

15. Mr. Morrison said that it must be remembered that Soviet policy was to get the West out of Berlin. The policy of the West was to remain. The USSR and East Germany were breaking agreements regarding the free accession to Berlin and new signs of half measures by the three governments would not solve the problem but would accentuate it. Taking a stiff line would not make the Soviets more difficult. The West Germans and people in Berlin were of course looking for short solutions with which to meet their day-to-day troubles and consequently might employ a soft attitude hoping for a let-up by the Soviets. Reprisals were perhaps the best means of solving the problems. The Soviets might be informed that a tax on barges would be instituted unless matters were straightened out.

16. Mr. Acheson agreed with Mr. Morrison that a stiff line should be taken but believed that the forthcoming trade agreement was the main instrument in the hands of the West. The Soviets had been very firm in their desire for this. If the tax on barges would be a counter measure for any length of time it might be useful, but since East Berlin was about to complete a canal around the city this would not be enough. While it was necessary to be tough with the Soviets in Berlin it was also important to be liberal with the Germans there. This did not mean establishing a twelfth Land, but it would not be wise to treat those Germans badly who have stayed with the allies in the past.

17. Mr. Morrison suggested that the High Commissioners submit agreed recommendations to the Ministers within a week.

18. Mr. Schuman was in full agreement to rely again on the High Commissioners and emphasized that he was not in favor of a weak line. Reprisals, however, might be two-edged. For example, the West uses more barges on the river than the East Germans. He agreed that the trade agreement was the chief weapon at hand.

[Page 1283]

Declaration of the Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom and the United States

19. This declaration concerning European unity was examined by the Ministers and approved after minor changes. It was agreed that the declaration would be published at the same time as the final communiqué on the talks.5

Declaration on Control of the Ruhr 6

20. Mr. Schuman noted that this declaration should be published before the Bundestag debate in October and asked whether the difficulties the U.K. had found in it could be speedily settled.

21. Mr. Morrison said that matters with regard to Luxembourg were on the verge of settlement and that the problem would be solved within a few days.

Instructions to the High Commissioners

22. Mr. Acheson noted that the High Commissioners would have difficulties in negotiating the contractual arrangements with the Germans and asked whether it would be agreeable to allow them some freedom within the instructions given them.

23. Mr. Morrison agreed and Mr. Schuman said that the High Commissioners had seen the flexibility in the minds of the Ministers, but also the limits. He believed it would be useful to the High Commissioners if they agreed to keep their instructions secret from the Germans.

Revision of the Italian Peace Treaty 7

24. Mr. Acheson noted the procedure submitted by the British and recorded U.S. agreement provided that it would be understood that while there would be a sincere effort to attain settlement of the Trieste issue and cooperation of other signatories of the treaty, the attainment of those objectives would not be a condition to the fulfillment of the rest of the procedure as outlined by the British.

25. Mr. Schuman said that he had several reservations to make with regard to this procedure. If the Italians made their request to the Western governments before the tripartite declaration is public it might weaken the value of the declaration. The Italians, moreover, might request more than could be granted. Otherwise he believed this procedure to be a good one. Mr. Schuman added that while it was [Page 1284] necessary to liquidate the Trieste issue he believed it was unfortunate to tie Trieste to the declaration even in terms of chronology. Pie suggested that the Ministers might speak to Prime Minister de Gasperi in Ottawa with regard to Trieste, thus obtaining an indication of the Italian position on this whole matter.

26. Mr. Morrison said that the three governments should have an understanding with the Italians to the effect that the request should be in conformity with paragraph 4 of the Draft Tripartite Declaration on the Italian Peace Treaty.8 He agreed that if the Italians requested more than was envisaged in this paragraph it would be embarrassing to the three governments and therefore the Ministers should meet with de Gasperi in Ottawa as Mr. Schuman had suggested.

27. Mr. Morrison approved the U.S. condition with regard to the procedure but noted that if the Italians, through clumsy handling of the problem, exaggerated the part played by the West there might be trouble with Yugoslavia. The Italians might also delay the settlement of the Trieste issue, which might also cause trouble with Yugoslavia.

28. Mr. Acheson pointed out that according to the U.K. procedure the first step after consultation with the Italians would be to publish the tripartite declaration which would set forth the limits of the request. This would obviate Mr. Schuman’s fear of troubles on this score. There should also be an understanding with the Italians before and after the declaration is published in which the three governments would make clear the limits of the request. Some time would elapse after the publication of the declaration before the receipt of the Italian note. During this time it would be possible to attempt to secure the cooperation of the other signatories. During the same period the three governments could privately take up with the Italians the Trieste issue and utilize the six weeks or two months following the receipt of the note to work this matter out.

29. Mr. Schuman agreed with the procedures but cautioned against pressuring either the Italians or the Yugoslavs since this might have an unfavorable reaction.

30. Mr. Morrison said that any pressure should be discreetly applied. He suggested the deletion of the first clause of the first sentence in the draft tripartite declaration.

31. Mr. Acheson believed it would be helpful if the U.K. and French Embassies and officials of the State Department informed the Italian Embassy of the general nature of this procedure so that Mr. de Gasperi would be informed that the three Ministers would hold a discussion with him on this subject in Ottawa. The declaration could [Page 1285] be described in a general way and the procedure of the Italian note could be explained. Mr. Perkins would get in touch with the Italian Embassy and officials of the three governments would prepare the declaration so that it would be possible to show Mr. de Gasperi at Ottawa.

32. Mr. Morrison and Mr. Schuman agreed to this procedure.

Austria 9

33. Mr. Acheson said the question here was whether the West governments would accept the Soviet version of the disagreed articles of the Austrian Peace Treaty10 or whether the abbreviated form of the treaty submitted earlier that week to the British and French should be used.11 The U.S. favored the latter approach. The U.S. was proposing that a meeting of the Deputies be called in which the West would offer the abbreviated treaty for study. The U.S. also proposed that if the USSR asked whether the three governments were abandoning the old text that the position should be kept open.

34. Mr. Schuman had not read the treaty but agreed to have the Western Deputies meet to decide upon using the abbreviated form with the Soviets.

35. Mr. Morrison noted with regard to timing that if the Italian Trieste issue were out of the way before the Austrian treaty were raised by the Deputies there might be a better opportunity to settle the Austrian question since the Soviets were claiming a connection existed between the two matters.

36. Mr. Acheson pointed out that this would be highly desirable but it would be difficult to postpone the Deputies meeting on Austria beyond November. The Ministers should review the progress on this matter in October. The other two ministers agreed.

37. Mr. Acheson asked the other Ministers to instruct their High Commissioners in Vienna to meet and consider occupation costs. He pointed out the new and critical situation with regard to occupation costs and increased need for France and the U.K. to pay for their share of these costs.12

38. Mr. Morrison said that the new price-wage agreement had caused expenditures in Austria to be more than ever. While he had no objections to the High Commissioners meeting to consider this problem, the U.K. Commissioners would have to take the line that the [Page 1286] Austrians would have to pay more of the occupation costs to make up for the decrease in purchasing power of the schilling.

39. Mr. Schuman agreed to convey to the French High Commissioner the U.S. desire for such a meeting.

Spain 13

40. Mr. Morrison said that the U.K. had strong feelings with regard to U.S. relations with Franco Spain. While the U.K. appreciated being informed of the arrangements being made by the U.S. these arrangements were highly regretted not only by the U.K. but also by France and the Scandinavians. It was the U.K. hope that the U.S. would not move any further than was necessary from the U.S. point of view. Under no circumstances, however, should the question arise bringing Spain into NATO since such a question might even cause a break-up in the Organization. While appreciating the pressures of Congress and the U.S. public opinion, it was unfortunate that the U.S. had laid itself open to propaganda and world criticisms of its intentions.

41. Mr. Acheson said that he could assure Mr. Morrison that the U.S. was fully aware of French and U.K. public opinion and noted that there was no difference between military authorities of the three governments with regard to the military importance of Spain. The U.S. was only attempting to make arrangements for anchorage rights, landing rights, and over flight rights. No attempt was being made to bring Spain into NATO. It would be very hard to explain to the U.S. public that it was impossible to make military arrangements with Franco when much more is being attempted with Tito. If the recent trip of Admiral Sherman to the Mediterranean14 had been prevented some of the criticisms directed toward the State Department would be directed instead toward the U.K. and France. The U.K. and France could be assured that the U.S. was moving very cautiously in this field.

42. Mr. Schuman thanked Mr. Acheson for this statement which he believed would help appease French public opinion. What would cause most trouble in France would be a Spanish national army equipped by the U.S. on the Pyrenees. Such a situation would make it appear that the U.S. sought to base the defense of the West on the Pyrenees, which Mr. Schuman knew was contrary to intentions of all the three powers. Equipping of the Spanish army by the U.S., moreover, would compete with French requirements.

43. Mr. Acheson assured the Ministers that the U.S. would keep Britain and France informed on this matter.

  1. Transmitted in telegram 2026, August 31, p. 1520.
  2. Reference is presumably to the Draft Agreement on Berlin Security and the Communiqué” on Germany discussed by the three Western Foreign Ministers at their meeting in New York, September 12–19, Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iii, pp. 1283 and 1296.
  3. Far further documentation on Berlin, see pp. 1828 ff.
  4. For further documentation on the negotiations for an interzonal trade agreement, see pp. 1828 ff.
  5. For the texts of the Declaration on European Unity and the final communiqué, see p. 1306.
  6. For documentation on the negotiation of the Declaration on Control of the Ruhr, signed at Paris on October 19, see pp. 1701 ff.
  7. For further documentation on the revision of the Italian Peace Treaty, see volume iv: for the text of the documents on the treaty considered here by the Foreign Ministers, see p. 1295.
  8. Dated September 13, p. 1295.
  9. For further documentation on U.S. relations with Austria, see volume iv.
  10. Regarding the disagreed articles of the draft treaty on Austria, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iv, pp. 430 ff.
  11. For the text of the abbreviated draft treaty on Austria, see volume iv.
  12. For further documentation on the reduction of occupation costs in Austria, see ibid.
  13. For further documentation on U.S. relations with Spain, see volume iv.
  14. For a report on Admiral Sherman’s visit to Spain and the Mediterranean, see ibid.