762.022/3–3053: Telegram

No. 634
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France1


5039. Paris pass Bruce. Importance attributed by press to Saar discussion in recently concluded talks with Mayer calls for summary of position which President and Secretary consistently reiterated on several occasions when this subject came up.2

US expressed full and complete sympathy with importance which French Government and people place on Saar for political, economic and financial reasons.
At same time, however, we made it clear that we could not accept French thesis that Saar settlement was an “indispensable precondition” for ratification. We said regardless of importance of this specific matter to France it nevertheless remained detail and that we could not reconcile ourselves to having any detail however important per se stand in way of EDC ratification which not only is historical development of first magnitude but is of direct interest to us and to all NATO countries as an essential requirement to attain security in the present through German contribution. We also made it clear that we could not accept French juridical position on basis Saar settlement is required by Franco-German exchange of letters when CSC was signed and by US position taken by Secretary Acheson on January 18, 1950 and confirmed in Aide-Mémoire delivered by Embassy Paris on January 24, 1950.3 Without going [Page 1445]into details we rested our position on “compulsions of present” which do not permit us to subordinate security of West to legal interpretations of past positions.
We made it clear that we would apply same pressure on Chancellor Adenauer and on German Government to effect they should not let details stand in path EDC progress. At same time we also made it clear that we would so speak impartially and as friends of both parties.

Strictly for your information. We tend to believe that in fact it is unrealistic to think in terms of French EDC ratification without some Franco-German Saar settlement or agreement however general. As to contents of settlement or agreement we favor any formulation agreeable to French, German and Saarlanders. As to tactics we intend making no commitments so that if necessary we can intervene effectively on one side or other.

  1. Drafted by Knight and cleared by Bonbright, Riddleberger, MacArthur, and Merchant. Repeated to Bonn, London, Rome, Brussels, The Hague, and Luxembourg.
  2. Mayer visited Washington, Mar. 26–28.
  3. Regarding the statement by Acheson and the aide-mémoire under reference here, see the editorial note and telegram 352, Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iv, pp. 929 and 933. For text of the letters, dated Apr. 18 and 21, exchanged at the time of the signing of the Coal and Steel Community Agreement in 1951, see Documents on the Saar, vol. I, p. 303.