762.022/12–1354: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (Conant) to the Department of State 1


1713. I called on Chancellor this morning eleven O’clock. He had just received from Blankenhorn copy German translation Mendes-France’s proposed explanation Saar Treaty, scheduled for printing and distribution members National Assembly Tuesday morning.2 Chancellor glanced through it for first time in my presence and was incensed at number statements contained in document. On several points he declared Mendes-France’s statement contrary to agreements reached between them in Paris. He stated publication this document would make his position impossible in forthcoming debate first reading Wednesday and Thursday Bundestag. He would be obliged to make public denial of number of points in this declaration. Consequence of [Page 1493] public dispute between Mendes-France and Adenauer on interpretation their agreement in Paris would wreck possibility ratification in Paris and Bonn. I have telephoned Dillon to alert him to this danger. Immediate objective must be avoidance publication this document, but beyond this before French debate opens some degree reconciliation between Mendes-France’s explanation and Chanc’s position must be reached.

Chancellor did not intend in his statement Wednesday to stress Saar issue. On contrary, he intended to treat it as lightly as possible, he said to me that unfortunately Mendes-France seemed intent on focusing attention on Saar issue and forcing him to do same.

Chancellor cannot help entertaining suspicion that Mendes-France wishes have treaties fail because of German intransigence on Saar issue and this is reason for his desiring publish his explanation before Bundestag debate and many days before his own debate.

In particular, reference to U.S. and U.K. in this statement made Chancellor feel he must ask officially for statement from Washington. Therefore I am officially requesting from Department answer to question which he raises, namely is following statement which Mendes-France proposes to make correct or not:

“We have before us international pact which gives European status to Saar and there is no doubt that French Govt during negotiations for peace treaty (which will finally fix boundaries Germany and which, in so far as it affects Saar, will be submitted to Saar population for approval) will demand that this status be confirmed. During negotiations the French Govt will ask for support of British and American Govts in accordance with express assurances which French Govt received from these two govts as early as April 10, 1947, and which have meanwhile been reaffirmed.”

Please instruct urgently.

  1. Repeated to Paris and London.
  2. A summary of the salient features of the French Exposé des Motifs, which was to be printed and distributed along with copies of the draft law authorizing the President to sign the Saar Agreement, is in telegram 2509 from Paris, Dec. 13 (762.022/12–1354).