Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: On Saturday night I had dinner with Mr. Ralph C. S. Stevenson, the recently appointed British Minister to Uruguay. He was, prior to his appointment, Principal Private Secretary of the Foreign Office. He wanted to discuss post war planning; and on my part I wanted to take the atmosphere of the Foreign Office in connection with their own post war plans.

I asked how their thinking was running as to the reorganization of Eastern Europe. Specifically, I asked whether they had entered into any real commitments with the Russians, in view of the very extensive commitments which the Russians had asked of the British during the abortive negotiations of 1939.67

Stevenson fished around a bit and then said that he thought we knew that the Russians entered into negotiations with the Poles and the Yugoslavs and the Czechs in London.

I said that they had furnished us with the proposed arrangements and the Russian requests. I asked whether, speaking realistically, the proposed arrangement of a reconstituted Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, under some kind of federated system but in close relations with Russia did not really mean—to the Russians, at least—that they were to dominate that entire area.

Stevenson said that, speaking frankly, the British Government had given a half promise to that effect. At all events, they had permitted the Russians to believe that the British would be favorable.

I observed that this would necessarily bring the Russian system considerably east [west?] of Vienna.

Stevenson said that they considered that there was no longer any real problem of a world revolution; that they were merely dealing with the old imperialist Russia. He implied, and possibly said directly, that he thought conditions at the close of the war would be such that the British half promise in regard to this area might not be brought to fruition; that conditions would be such as to make it virtually impossible to carry out the kind of thing that the Russians had in mind and from which the British had at least not dissented.

A. A. Berle, Jr.