Between February and June 1948 talks were held in London between France, the United Kingdom and the United States to discuss the future of Germany. Representatives of the three Benelux countries were invited to join the talks to present their views and to discuss matters which affected them. One of the results of the talks was the conclusion of an Agreement on 26 May 1948 between the three powers, after consultation with the Benelux Governments, to establish a form of international control of the Ruhr area of Western Germany.
It was agreed that the resources of the Ruhr should not in future be used for the purpose of aggression, but in the interests of peace and that access to the coal, coke and steel of the Ruhr should be guaranteed without discrimination to the countries of Europe "co-operating in the common good".
It was also agreed that an International Authority for the Ruhr (IAR) composed of representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany should be established. Decisions would be taken by majority vote: the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany each having three votes; the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg one each. The votes allocated to Germany would be cast as a unit by the joint representative of the occupation authorities, until the occupying powers determined that the German government by accession, or by other means, had assumed responsibility placed on Germany by the Agreement. The IAR had the right:
- (i) to receive regular reports on the production, distribution and consumption of Ruhr coal, coke and steel
- (ii) to demand additional reports on these subjects whenever necessary
- (iii) to verify information at its disposal by on the spot enquiries, by subpoena and the examination of witnesses
- (iv) to call for information about supplies of coal, coke and steel other than the Ruhr
Six-power talks were then held in London during November and December 1948 on the establishment of the Authority. A draft Agreement (Ruhr Statute) was published at the end of December and signed at the Foreign Office on 28 April 1949.
The first meeting of the Authority was held at Lancaster House in London on 20 May 1949. Subsequent meetings were held in Dusseldorf, the seat of the Authority's secretariat.
After the signature of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, the signatory Governments of the Ruhr Statute initialled a Protocol on 18 October 1951, containing a Draft Agreement on the progressive termination of the functions of the Authority. As it was foreseen that the Community would be established on 10 February 1953, it was decided on 30 September 1952 to begin to liquidate the Authority's secretariat and to complete the liquidation work by the time that the Community would be established. Accordingly, the final meeting of the Council of the IAR was held on 10 February 1953.