762.022/8–2952: Telegram

No. 626
The Chargé in France (Achilles) to the Department of State1


1308. August 29 meeting on Saar again brought exchange of views rather than actual negots. Conversations took place in cordial atmosphere and De Beaumarchais tells us Schuman was particularly impressed by Hallstein’s repeated affirmation that Germans genuinely interested in reaching solution. These affirmations were result of pointed questions by Schuman whether Von Brentano’s recent statement, that Germans don’t expect agreement now and can afford to wait, represented Chancellor’s opinion. Schuman at inception of mtg also called Hallstein’s attention to activities of Deutscher Saarbund and Hallstein promised to do what he can to stop its propaganda.

According to De Beaumarchais mtg was “exploratory” and confined to general outlines of settlement with Gers scheduled to [Page 1431]submit at next mtg their detailed paper on econ arrangements. Schuman commented in general terms on Ger memo of August 18 (Bonn 773 to Dept August 212) taking position that “non-discrimination” approach is impracticable because equal access of European nations to Saar would [involve?] insoluble customs probs. Hallstein is supposed to have agreed that making Eur econ “free zone” of Saar wld be impossible because it wld in effect create hole in present Eur customs boundaries. Schuman also expressed view that creation of freely convertible Saar currency impracticable for similar reasons. French take position that it is up to Gers to come up with viable econ solutions. They are supposed to do this next meeting, and fact that econ experts of both sides are to attend it may indicate that the mtg will see negots finally get down to brass tacks on econ arrangements.

(We questioned Beaumarchais whether this procedure implies that Fr are willing to envisage discontinuance of Franco-Saar econ union. He replied French experts are convinced Gers will be unable to come up with economically viable pattern for economic Europeanization. Schuman in general appears to have taken line that present Franco-Saar arrangements shld be left undisturbed until such larger econ union can be created. He would presumably be willing to modify his views, however, if Gers came up with practical alternative that does not completely wipe out French econ privileges in Saar.)

Both sides seemed to agree there is no more need to discuss outlines of polit arrangements since there is general agreement on them. Hallstein raised however question of postponement Saar elections. (There was no discussion of new parties, nor of postponement of Ger complaint to Council of Europe.) Schuman did not object in principle to postponement but cited constitutional arguments why postponement difficult. In particular he explained legal experts still undecided whether Saar parliament must be renewed October, when constituent assembly was created in 1947 or in December when constituent assembly became parliament. This line of argumentation seemed to imply that postponement is difficult but not impossible. Question was left open pending “new legal advice” which Schuman promised to secure. Schuman and Adenauer are to discuss Saar question further when they meet at Luxembourg Sept 8 and 9 at which time date of next mtg with Hallstein will be fixed. It is obvious that negots cannot possibly be completed by Sept 15. French in any event show no desire whatever to break them off and they consider that Gers will find it awkward to disturb continuing [Page 1432]negots with complaints in Council of Eur. De Beaumarchais indicated to us Schuman “not in the least disturbed” by prospect of Saar debate in Council because French and Saar could be expected to put up “very strong case.” In any event, he appeared to envisage continuance of negots for considerable time.3

  1. Repeated to London, Bonn, and Strasbourg.
  2. Telegram 773 transmitted the German memorandum on the economic aspects of the Saar question. (762.022/7–2152)
  3. On Sept. 2 Donnelly reported that Hallstein had been encouraged by the Aug. 29 meeting, but confirmed that no real negotiations had taken place. Hallstein also indicated that a special meeting between Adenauer and Schuman had been arranged to take place during the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Schuman Plan countries, scheduled for Luxembourg, Sept. 8 and 9. (Telegram 936 from Bonn, 762.022/9–252)