Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CP 419: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn1


Polto 181. At tripartite Ministers meeting afternoon 16th,2 Mendes-France pressed hard on Saar issue. He insisted upon receiving text US–UK statement of support for October agreement that evening or morning of 17th. Secretary told Mendes that while we would work on it, doubtful whether would be ready before end of next week. Eden and Secretary agreed could say they were in principle prepared give assurances if requested and agreement executed.

Following tentative text such letter of intent drafted for simultaneous presentation Mendes and Chancellor:

“I am happy to inform you that if the agreement of October 23, 1954 between the Republic of France and the Federal Republic of Germany with respect to the Saar comes into force and if thereafter the United States Government is requested by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and of France in accordance with the terms of Article 8 of the agreement to give assurances of support pending the conclusion of a peace treaty, the United States Government is prepared in principle in accord with the Government of the United Kingdom to give an appropriate indication of its support.”

Bonn should be prepared show text message to Adenauer when notified Paris showing text to Mendes. Signed letter will be pouched Bonn for later forwarding.3

Mendes also pressed for reaffirmation old pledges support at peace conference. Secretary supported by Eden, resisted firmly. Told Mendes [Page 1514] that while he would give it more thought, in event French formally made request, response would be in general context his remarks.

In event we are pressed further re our peace treaty position, we may make statement along following lines:

“Questions have arisen concerning the position the United States Government will take regarding the status of the Saar at a future peace conference with Germany.

“The United States Government has long had a deep and abiding interest in a just and permanent settlement of the Saar question. Therefore, it believes that it can reasonably be assumed that when the question of the Saar is raised at a peace conference, the United States will be disposed to support a solution which rests upon the willing acceptance of the people of the Saar and of the governments concerned. In this way, the United States Government would hope that the Saar question could be permanently removed as a possible obstacle to continuing European amity and confidence.”

Eden has sent this text to FonOff for comments. Would appreciate views Bonn re effect such statement would have Germany.4

  1. Repeated to the Department of State as telegram Secto 19 and to London as telegram Polto 302.
  2. For a record of this meeting, see the memorandum of conversation by Merchant, Dec. 16, p. 1505.
  3. In telegram Polto 182 to Bonn, Dec. 18, repeated as Secto 20 to the Department of State, HICOG was authorized to show Adenauer the text of this letter of intent in concert with the British (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 419). HICOG informed the U.S. Delegation in Paris that Adenauer was shown the text as instructed and had expressed satisfaction (telegram 417 to Paris from Bonn, Dec. 18, repeated to the Department of State as telegram 1794, Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 419). The U.S. Delegation in Paris informed the Department of State in telegram Secto 25, Dec. 19, repeated to Bonn, that Mendès-France was also shown the text of the letter of intent on Dec. 18 and had agreed with its text except for a few minor word changes (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 423).
  4. In telegram 1795 from Bonn, Dec. 19, Conant advised the U.S. Delegation in Paris that his staff could see no objection to the text of the draft statement on the Saar as far as the Germans were concerned (762.022/12–1954).