chapter  IV
42 Pages

France and the Control of German Resources

The immediate proposed increase in steel production in the Monnet Plan was not, it is true, very much greater than the level of steel output attained in 1 929, the peak year of the inter-war period . The more distant target, however, was for an output of 1 5 million tonnes of steel, far beyond the 1 929 level . Although the quantities of coal and coke needed to achieve this were not so

In reality in the first six months of 1 946 the situation was that half French coal imports came from the United States and less than a seventh from the Ruhr. Yet coal deliveries from the Bizone to France were not again to reach their level of the first half of 1 946 until 1 948 . How seriously they fell , and how very far short of the wildly optimistic hopes of Monnet and Gouin , is apparent from the figures in table 2 1 . To a small extent this was alleviated by a marked increase in coal production in the French zone of Germany and a rather less pronounced increase in the Saarland . Although these increases placed French diplomats in a strong position to argue in common with the Americans that the British were not doing an efficient job in getting coal out of the Ruhr pits and into European factories, they could not make much difference to France's economic situation . As table 22 shows the British zone was throughout the whole period responsible for more than 80 per cent of German coal output, and in 1 947 output there was still only 64 per cent of its 1 936 level . It was this which at once made nonsense of a plan which in any case was based on the economic irrationality of restricting German industrial output to so low a level as to erect insuperable barriers to the economic recovery of the other European economies . As the analysis of the payments crisis in summer 1 947 in chapter 1 showed, for France an important element in the failure to continue to close the gap between exports and imports was the increase in imports of American coal in 1 947 over 1 946. They amounted in 1 947 to 12 million tonnes, whereas in 1 946 they had been only 5 . 2 million tonnes .