The principal topic of discussion was the Italian peace treaty but no firm agreement was reached before the first session was adjourned. However, an agreement was reached on Italy later on, but there was no progress on Germany and the meeting adjourned after Britain, France the US and the Soviet Union had presented very different proposals:
-French Foreign Minister, Georges Bidault, advocated the separation of the Rhineland from the rest of Germany and the internationalisation of the Ruhr.
-Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, announced he was in favour of a united Germany and the setting up of central German administrations, [which had been vetoed by the French in the Allied Control Council, on the grounds they were not prepared to agree to a central administration for the whole of Germany, before the future of the Rhineland and Ruhr had been settled.]
-US Secretary of State, James Byrnes, proposed a draft treaty which was intended to guarantee the de-militarisation of Germany for 25 years. Molotov rejected this on the basis that they had not yet ensured that Germany was disarmed in the present, let alone in the future. He claimed that some units of the German army, which had surrendered in the British Zone, had not been fully disarmed and demobilised. [This was partly true. Although they had been disarmed, the units, known as ‘Dienstgruppen’, carried out support tasks for the British army, such as transport.]
-British Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin was concerned about the costs of the occupation. He announced that unless the others were prepared to cooperate economically to ensure that German exports covered the costs of imports [mainly food], the British government would be compelled to ‘organise the British Zone of occupation in Germany in such a way that no further liability shall fall on the British taxpayer.’
Next day, Byrnes offered to cooperate economically with any of the other zones willing to do so. After the conference, the British accepted the invitation. This was to lead to the formation of the so-called Bizone and the economic fusion of the US and British zones in January 1947.