Full Citation

  • Title France Says Potsdam Policy Violates a Previous Agreement
  • Author Higgins, Marguerite
  • Publication Title New York Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Collection New York Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Date Thursday,  Oct. 18, 1945
  • Issue Number 19502
  • Page Number 2
  • Place of Publication Paris, France
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The New York Times Company
France Says Potsdam Policy Violates a Previous Agreement Foreign Office, Disturbed Over Berlin Reports That the French Must Agree With ‘Big 3’ Or Get Out, Cite Accord of June 5 By Marguerite Higgins The French Foreign Office is deeply disturbed over recent re¬ ports from Berlin which, it feels, have failed to make clear the reasons for France’s attitude to¬ ward the Potsdam proposals for treating Germany as an economic whole. The French stand la that the Potsdam proposals for establishing in Berlin a central administration to unify treatment in four occupa¬ tional zones should be postponed until the Allies have considered France’s proposals for the separa¬ tion from Germany of the Ruhr and Rhineland. Reports from Berlin state that the other three Allies, who cannot act without France’s consent, are Impatient with France's "intran¬ sigent attitude.” Some political experts in Berlin, particularly the Americans, feel, according to the reports, that France, must either back down and agree to the setting up of central government in Berlin on the terms laid down by the "Big Three” or withdraw from Germany as an occupying power. ‘First Things First’ Thé French say that their at¬ titude is by no means intransigent. They are merely asking that Ger¬ many's western boundaries be de¬ cided before the type of govern¬ ment for Germany is finally settled. It is, they say, a question of put¬ ting first things first. Any attempt of the other three Allies to threaten France into agree¬ ment on central government is not only unprincipled, the Foreign Of¬ fice maintains, but a violation of previous agreements. The previous agreement the French have in mind is that of last June 5. A close look at this accord, the French declare, shows that France has every justification for her stand. On June 5, a charter was signed in Berlin, between representatives of France, the Soviet Union. Brit¬ ain and the United States, under which the four powers took “su¬ preme authority as regards Ger¬ many”. . . The Berlin declaration also stipulated that the four gov¬ ernments would “determine the frontiers of Germany and would decide the status of Germany and all its parts.” France Not' Consulted * In spite of this agreement, the “Big Three” met in July at Pots¬ dam and without consulting France came to an agreement on the East¬ ern Frontier. At the same time it issued the statement that the d t d F c t t “Big Three” wished to treat Ger¬ many as an economic whole. In view of the June 5 agreement and the fact 'that they were not pres¬ ent at Potsdam, the French feel Justified in saying that they are not bound by the "Big Three” decisions. They point out that the Allies already had lopped off a large piece of Germany in the East and given it to the Poles and Russians. Thus it will automatically be excluded from control by any central gov¬ ernment. The French , feel it is only just that Germany’s western boundaries also be decided before a central administration is set up. If Berlin should start controlling the Rhineland and the Ruhr, the Allies might slide into accepting their inclusion in the Reich as a fait accompli. Chances of separat¬ ing these areas and internationaliz¬ ing the Ruhr, as France desires, thus would grow dimmer and dim¬ mer, the French argue. Basically, then, these are the reasons why the French have in¬ structed their representative on the Allied Control Council—the four- power group governing Germany— not to discuss the setting up of central administrative committees until the Rhineland question is settled Won’t Bar Centralization Once the Rhineland question is decided, it was made clear, France is willing to discuss the question of more centralization for Germany. France' has been attempting for the last year to persuade the other Allies to discuss the international ization of the Ruhr and the ques¬ tion of the Rhineland. Delaying consideration of this proposal, the Allies themselves have created the difficulties arising now in Berlin on the question of- governing Ger¬ many, according to the French yiew. Georges Bidault. French Foreign Minister, made clear France’s view at the recent Council of Foreign Ministers in London. In a memo¬ randum, he said France believed it unwise to hurry centralization of Germany. The Germans them¬ selves, he argued, might want in the long run local autonomy. But he also indicated in his memoran¬ dum that France would not put up a battle against a central adminis¬ tration providing it was made clear that the Rhine and Westphalian regions be exempted from its juris¬ diction. Important members of the French Foreign Office feel that a special conference empowered to decide on the Rhine and Westphalian ques¬ tions ought to be called at once.