762.022/6–1152: Telegram

No. 617
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

top secret

6559. Secy and Eden agreed in Eur on US–UK bilateral talks on Saar.2 Brit Emb says their understanding is that these will take place in Wash as Dept had hoped. We wld like to hold these soonest, since we are disturbed by potential difficulties implicit in current Fr activities re Saar. Revision Fr-Saar conventions (Strasbourg 174, rptd Bonn 34, Paris 107, London 333) is likely to bring about strong Ger reaction. If this shld result in Gers making ratification of contractuals and EDC treaty conditional on Saar settlement, which is possibility that cannot be excluded, we will be faced with crisis of major proportions. Furthermore Fr proposal that Saar be given observer status in ILO (Deptel 7236 to Paris, rptd Bonn 3561, London 6438, Strasbourg 664) indicates revival Fr efforts to get internatl recognition for Saar by having it admitted as separate entity to internatl orgs. This is not only likely to run into Ger resistance but is contrary to stated US policy on Saar (Dept A–1755 to Paris May 1, 19515). Meanwhile we cannot expect Gers to [Page 1416]remain inactive re Saar. FedRep may revive complaints re democratic liberties in Saar and, in absence of settlement, we must not be surprised if Gers attempt utilize approaching campaign for elections to one-third of Saar Landtag to advance Ger claims re Saar. We believe best way avoid having cope with Saar in crisis atmosphere is for US and UK advance joint proposals to Fr and Gers as basis for negot on Saar settlement.

Fol are our views on Brit paper (Paris 7406, rptd London 20786), on which we wld appreciate your, Bonn’s and Paris’ comments soonest:

Parties to Saar negots and agreement. Brit propose “arrangements shld be agreed between Fr and Ger Govts, with concurrence of US and HMG”. SchumanAdenauer Paris formula7 apparently contemplated Fr–Ger negot of settlement subj US–UK approval plus possibility sig of agreement by Benelux countries. We think US and UK shld be parties to negot since they wld be signatories to agreement which wld presumably constitute settlement. Furthermore, cause of western defense and integration cannot stand another breakdown on Saar question similar to last one when Schuman and Adenauer attempted work out solution by themselves, and we seriously doubt if any settlement can be reached without active US–UK participation.
Status of settlement agreement. Brit paper proposes that it shld be “without prejudice to final determination of Gers frontiers in any eventual peace settlement”. We agree that settlement must be formally provisional pending peace treaty.
Seat of Eur auths. Brit paper proposes “Saar shld become as far as possible seat of various projected Eur auths, especially those of Schuman Plan”. Adenauer and Schuman apparently agreed propose that Saarbruecken become seat Schuman Plan. We agree it wld facilitate acceptance settlement if at least Schuman Plan auth located in Saar.
Procedure. Saar settlement can be divided into three major aspects: polit settlement, econ settlement and obtaining Saar agreement thereto. We assume Brit paper contemplates taking up polit and econ settlement together and then getting Saar approval. As we understand SchumanAdenauer Paris formula, they contemplated reaching agreement on polit status Saar, then getting agreement of Saar through new Landtag, and finally reaching detailed econ settlement. We do understand that some gen understanding on econ status wld be necessary when polit status discussed but we can see many advantages postponing detailed econ settlement if at all possible. This wld also give newly elected Saar Landtag opportunity participate in decision questions in which Saar is primary interested party.
Polit Settlement. Brit paper proposes “Saar shld be placed in some way under trusteeship of Comite of Mins of Council of Europe”. Adenauer and Schuman apparently agreed to this arrangement [Page 1417]also. We understand however that Ger coalition leaders rejected this “Europeanization” of Saar. We start from assumption that any settlement on Saar at present must be based on polit separation of Saar from both Fr and FedRep. While sovereign Saar wld be much the simplest arrangement, this wld seem to us to be even less acceptable to Ger opinion than placing it under Eur org. Next best thing to sovereignty therefore is placing it under Council of Europe but giving it maximum control over its own affairs. Fr and Ger wld then have place to lodge complaints re any actions of other which infringed on its interests. Council might also be given control of Saar’s fon relations, as Schuman seems to have in mind (Paris 6061, rptd London 1661, Bonn 608, Strasbourg unn8).
Agreement of Saar population. Brit paper proposes “Agreement of Saar population to this proposed settlement shld be given by new freely elected Landtag. In these elections parties shld no longer be banned simply because they aim at return of Saar to Ger at some future date. All parties shld consist of estab residents of Saar and shld be financed only from contributions by such residents. Estab residents of Saar shld not be expelled from Saar terr. Fr and Gers wld not in any way seek to influence these elections or attitude of resultant govt. Election shld be supervised by Comm set up by Council of Europe which wld not contain Reps of Fr, Ger or Saar”. We wld agree to this. In view of possible Fr willingness license parties which wld campaign for return to Ger “at time when definitive peace treaty comes into operation” (Paris 7462, rptd Bonn 926, London, Strasbourg, unn9), we can hope for Fr acceptance Brit suggestion. We believe it might be useful stipulate that prior to elections agreement wld be only initialed by four powers and that after elections Saar cld propose amendments to agreement, which, if accepted by four powers, wld be made.
Econ Settlement. Brit paper proposes that Saar shld have full econ freedom except “that Fr shld have lease of fifty years in Saar coal fields and railways, which shld be administered as at present regulated under convs between Fr and Saar. Further, output of Saar mines and iron and steel industry shld be included in figures for Fr for purposes of Schuman Plan”. While we wld be prepared support such a settlement even though we expressed at the time strong reservations with regard to Fr–Saar convention on mines, we doubt Fr Govt cld accept it. We wld probably be prepared after Saar Landtag has approved polit settlement, to support whatever econ arrangements Saar believed in its best interests and that it cld get Fr and Gers to accept.
Final settlement. Brit paper proposes “This situation shld, however, be regarded as temporary, and a final settlement shld be sketched out on fol lines: (i) Within five years of ‘Europeanization’ of Saar, and in absence of Ger peace settlement, a plebiscite shld be held in Saar terr to decide whether Saar wished to remain in its [Page 1418]existing ‘Eur’ status, to return to Ger, to unite with Fr or to become completely independent. (ii) In any case Fr shld be granted a lease of mines and railways of Saar for 50 years with option of renewal at end of this period. (iii) This basis for final settlement wld be announced at time any provisional modus vivendi was reached, though it might be indicated that it was hoped that growing integration of Eur will make such a final settlement unnecessary”. We believe any settlement reached shld stand until peace treaty, subj to revision by agreement among signatory powers. We do not think a plebiscite is advisable or necessary, as long as Saar can elect own Landtag periodically. Prospect of plebiscite wld undermine Eur settlement. Fr wld not agree to such an arrangement and even Adenauer believes plebiscite in Saar undesirable. It is most important Gers do not learn of Brit suggestion re plebiscite.

Convey above as tentative US views to FonOff and suggest they send instrs Brit Emb here, so we can proceed with bilateral talks Washington in near future. We wld like reach maximum agreement with Brit on this matter prior Secy’s departure for Europe June 22.

McCloy has seen this tel and concurs.

  1. Drafted by Ausland and cleared in draft with Riddleberger, McCloy who was in Washington for consultations, and McBride. Repeated to Paris, Bonn, and Strasbourg.
  2. Eden and Acheson had briefly discussed the Saar on May 27 at Paris where the Foreign Ministers were for the signing of the EDC Treaty. The following day Roberts transmitted to Perkins a paper giving the British position. A copy of this paper, outlined in the following paragraphs, is in file 762.022/5–2752.
  3. Not printed. (740.00/6–152)
  4. Telegram 7236 reported that the French had requested observer status for the Saar at the 35th ILO Conference. (398.06 ILO/6–652)
  5. Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 2, p. 1970.
  6. Telegram 7406 also transmitted the text of the British paper. (762.022/5–2852)
  7. Regarding this formula, see telegram 5726, Document 614.
  8. Telegram 6061 transmitted excerpts from Schuman’s statement on the Saar before the Council of the Republic on Apr. 1. (762.022/4–252)
  9. Telegram 7462 stated that the press in Paris had reported the appearance of a new Social Democratic Party in the Saar whose program included a statement that the Saar was an integral part of Germany. (740.00/5–2952)