European Peace Settlements

May 1, 1946

Report Outline
Procedure of Peace Settlement in Europe
Problems Involved in the Treaty with Italy
Treaties with States in Soviet Sphere

Procedure of Peace Settlement in Europe

The Council of Foreign Ministers, now meeting at Paris, has as its principal task the drafting of peace treaties with Italy, the Danubian countries, and Finland. After the conference opened, British objections to consideration at this time of French demands for separation of the Ruhr Valley and the Rhineland from Germany were withdrawn, and the foreign ministers agreed to take up that question after completing the peace treaty drafts. Foreign Minister Molotov of Russia, however, still opposed Secretary of State Byrnes' proposal that the conference attempt to work out an agreement to normalize relations with Austria and reduce the Allied forces of occupation in that country.

Establishment by the Allied Control Council of central German administrative agencies in such fields as finance, transport, communications, and foreign trade has been held up by French refusal to agree to such action before a decision is taken on the western borders of Germany. France seeks, not to annex the Ruhr or the Rhineland, but to place the Ruhr under the administration of an international commission composed of France, the United States, Britain, and Russia, and to divide the Rhineland into four zones to be administered respectively by France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain. The British government is reported to oppose detaching the Ruhr from Germany but to be ready to agree to some plan for Allied control of the Ruhr industries.

Secretary Byrnes in a letter to Foreign Minister Bidault, Feb. 1, 1946, took the position that the “enormously complicated” problem of Germany's western frontier should be deferred until the time came to begin studying a peace treaty with Germany. At Paris on Apr. 29, however, Byrnes provided an American answer to French demands for security against future German aggression by his surprise proposal for a 25-year four-power alliance to keep Germany disarmed and demilitarized. Burns requested that his proposal be put on the agenda. But drafting the Italian and eastern European treaties requires settlement of numerous controversial questions and may be a protracted process. It is therefore probable that the even more difficult problems raised by the American and French proposals on Germany will be given no more than preliminary consideration during the present meeting in Paris.

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May 01, 1946  European Peace Settlements
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