740.0011 EW/8–2143

Department of State Minutes2

1. Political and Civilian Aspects of Military Operations in Planning Future Military Operations on the Continent

Mr. Eden brought up the question of organizing an exchange of views and a coming to agreement between the two governments with respect to the manner of dealing with political considerations in connection with military operations to be undertaken in Allied countries on the continent of Europe now occupied by the Axis. He said that in the first place it would seem advisable to dissipate the impression which had arisen that the Allied military government system now in effect in Sicily would be carried over and put into effect in the liberated countries. He said that while the Allied military government in Sicily, and possibly in Italy and Germany, was perfectly appropriate for use in enemy countries, there was a general objection to the thought of imposing only military government on the populations of the liberated countries where we had constituted governments which had been recognized and which felt they should bear their share of maintenance of order in the civilian administration as soon as possible and in such areas as were not actually under military operations.

The Secretary agreed with this view and said that he himself had given this matter considerable thought, arriving at these same conclusions.

Mr. Eden produced a memorandum3 which had been drafted in the Foreign Office on this subject and which he said had been conveyed to the AT(E) Committee (Administration of Enemy Territories, Europe), and which he understood had been transmitted to the American authorities.

The Secretary stated that he had no knowledge of this memorandum and, as far as he knew, it had never been received in the State Department.

It came out further that the United States was only represented on the AT(E) by a military observer assigned for that purpose from [Page 924] General Devers’ staff, and that the Department had no participation in its work and functions.4

There was considerable discussion then upon the best and most efficient method of thrashing out questions having to do with the civilian aspects of military operations on the Continent, resolving itself into a question of whether the best method was to have agreement between the two governments reached in the Combined Chiefs of Staff or whether some special arrangement should be made for discussions of these matters to take place in London, possibly in connection with the COSSAC organization in London.

Mr. Eden stated that in view of the fact that the British Government was so near to the Continent and that the problems of dealing with the refugee governments and the civilian populations in their countries was of such direct and close interest to the British Government, he could not conceive of dealing with these matters by the roundabout method of cabling back and forth to Washington about matters relating to countries such as France, where they had such intimate political considerations.

He pointed out how well the North African situation had worked out through Macmillan and Murphy, whereupon it was pointed out, in reply, that the President had taken a definite position he did not favor any political representative going into Husky , which was a clear indication of the way he was thinking at the present time.

It was decided that this was a matter which would have to be discussed with the Combined Chiefs of Staff, for eventual decision by the President and Prime Minister.

There was general agreement, however, as to the necessity of setting up some definite machinery for discussing and reaching agreement on these political and civilian aspects of future military operations on the Continent.

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2. Four Power Declaration

The subject of an approach to Russia, with a view to general conversations on subjects of mutual interest to the Soviet, British and U.S. Governments, then came up.

The Secretary told Mr. Eden of the plan which had been discussed by him with the President for a Four Power Declaration to be entered into by Great Britain, U.S., the Soviet Government and China, and showed Mr. Eden a draft5 which he had prepared for that purpose.

Mr. Eden, after reading the draft, immediately said he liked it and asked for a copy which the Secretary gave him.

Mr. Eden said, without hesitation, that he thought this proposal offered a good basis for an approach to the Soviet Government and, without giving it studied consideration, he thought it would be a good idea for the United States to transmit a copy to the Soviet Government, saying at the same time that a copy had been given to the British Government for its consideration. He said the method of presenting it to the Soviet Government could very well be given further thought while both the U.S. and British officials were still here at Quebec.

It was agreed that this matter would be brought up at the next meeting of the President, the Prime Minister, Mr. Eden and the Secretary.6

3. Conversations at Washington on Monetary Stabilization and Related Subjects, and Commercial Policy in Connection With Article VII of the U.S.–U.K. Lend–Lease Agreement7

The Secretary then brought up the memorandum8 handed to him by Lord Halifax, suggesting that high-ranking British officials come to Washington to discuss these subjects.

Mr. Eden said he knew very little about this subject.

The Secretary said he particularly did not want to have these conversations formalized, that he preferred to have the financial subjects treated as a continuation of conversations which were already in course with the U.S. Treasury and that the other subjects he wished kept in the form of exchanges of views for the purpose of drawing up an [Page 926] agenda of topics to be discussed rather than the [with a] view to coming to any agreements on the matters themselves.

The Secretary continued that he did not think it was perhaps the best idea to give the impression that the United States and Great Britain were coming to previous agreement on these matters before other governments were brought in and acquainted with the progress of the discussions.

Mr. Eden said that he would see that the matter of the representatives coming to Washington was handled in a way satisfactory to the Secretary.

4. Dependent Peoples

The Secretary then raised the subject of dependent peoples for the third time in the Quebec discussions.

Mr. Eden said to be perfectly frank he had to say that he did not very much like the American draft on this subject.9 He said it was the word “independent” which troubled him. He had to think of the British Empire system, which was built on the basis of Dominion and Colonial status. He said that, according to the British thought Dominion status provided for self-government and as a matter of fact through the popular institutions now in force in the Dominions it was always possible for the Dominions, if they so desired, to take the further step of declaring their own independence, although none of them had done so nor had shown any desire to do so up to the present time.

He pointed out that under the British Empire system you had varying degrees of self-government in the units, mentioning the Dominion status, the status of Ireland, which was somewhat different but still within the Empire, and, running from those degrees of self-government down through the Colonial establishments which had in some cases, like Malta, complete self-government, to other more backward areas which, he confessed, were never likely to have their own government. He said that Australia and New Zealand—Dominions themselves—had Colonial possessions which they would be unwilling to remove from their supervisory jurisdiction.

The Secretary said that the thought behind his dealing with this problem had been to give encouragement to the peoples in dependent areas, not with any view to their being given, tomorrow or next week, [Page 927] complete independence as a separate entity, but to offer them, at some time when they might have proved that they were capable of independence, the possibility of so conducting their political development that they might hope for this achievement at some future time. He said that often, when you were stating a principle, it was useful to give an example which clearly represented the end in view. He cited in this respect the attitude of the United States toward the Philippines, that independence had always been held out to them as a possibility if and when they were able to carry out the responsibilities that go with such status.

Mr. Eden’s position was absolutely unchanged at the end of the discussion of this subject and it was perfectly clear that it was the word “independence” which he found could never have a satisfactory meaning which would cover what various governments might have in mind by this term.

5. Germany and Central Europe

The Secretary asked Mr. Eden how his thoughts were running on the question of dealing with Germany after the war, that is, whether it was to be left as an entity or an attempt was to be made to dismember it.

Mr. Eden replied that while there were some in the British Government who felt that dismemberment of Germany should be imposed on that country, he himself, and he felt that the Cabinet in general were not in favor of imposing a dismemberment on Germany largely because of the impracticability of carrying it out.

He said that he entirely agreed that it would be well, if possible, to bring about a separation of the different parts of Germany if it could be done by a voluntary act of different sections of the country, but that any decision to impose such separate divisions would result in tremendous difficulties for the Allies in its maintenance.

The Secretary said that as we went forward in discussions of this matter those who were studying the question in the State Department appeared to be arriving at this same view as to the difficulties of imposing or maintaining a separation of the different sections of Germany.10

It was brought out that American thought in this connection was fearful lest an imposed dismemberment of Germany might merely create a German national slogan for union; that Germany economically [Page 928] must exist for the support of the people of Germany and for this such national systems as canals, railroads, post and telegraph must exist as units; but it was not impossible to consider an economic break-up of Germany whereby in her own interests the decentralization of the State would unconsciously develop. Such a means might be found in providing a Mediterranean port for Southern Germany so that those regions might look south for their access to water rather than be dependent on Northern Germany. Indeed, an area including Fiume and Trieste might be the proper solution.

Cadogan, as well as Eden, gave considerable approval of this, which was an indication that it was very much along the line of some of their post-war planning to bring about, by natural forces, a separation of the German people, and specifically use those ports as southern German access to water.

Mr. Eden went on to say that he, for one, had never been in favor of detaching Bavaria from Germany and setting it up as a separate State with Austria. His view was that it would be more advisable to restore, as a matter of fact, in general lines, the separate States of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and form them as a Danubian group. He said that these were matters on which it would be most helpful if there were exchanges of views between the British and U.S. Governments as the thinking developed.

  1. The source text bears no indication of the authorship of these minutes. Excerpts typed later in Washington, however, ascribe the authorship jointly to Hull and Dunn (740.0011 EW/8–2143, 841.24/8–2143). The source text has been stamped “Secret” and “Secret—Security”, but it is probable that these classifications were applied in the Department of State long after the Conference. The excerpts mentioned above all bear the typed notation, “Strictly Confidential”.
  2. Ante, p. 513.
  3. Cf. the following passage from Hull’s telegram No. 5927 to the American Embassy at London, September 25, 1943, as repeated to the American Legation at Cairo in Greek Series No. 33, September 28: “In an Aide-Mémoire handed to the Department on August 4, 1943, by the British Embassy reference was made to the American ‘representative on the Allied Territories (Balkans) Committee in Cairo.’ It appeared that the British Foreign Office was not aware that the only American connected with this Committee was in fact an ‘observer’ from General Brereton’s staff whose functions were strictly restricted to military supply questions. I discussed this and related questions with Mr. Eden at Quebec and we agreed generally as to the necessity of establishing some definite machinery for discussing and reaching agreement on political and economic aspects of future military operations on the continent.” (870.01 A.M.G./1b) For text of the aide-mémoire of August 4, 1943, referred to above, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 137141.
  4. Ante, p. 692.
  5. No record has been found of further discussion of this subject at Quebec, but Hull, p. 1239, states that before the end of the Quebec Conference Churchill had given his concurrence to the United States draft and it had been agreed that Hull should send it to the Soviet Government. Concerning the subsequent communication of a variant text of this draft to the Soviet Government in September 1943, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 522, fn. 25, and 528.
  6. Signed February 23, 1942. For text, see Department of State, Executive Agreement Series No. 241; 56 Stat. (2) 1433.
  7. The reference is to an aide-mémoire which Halifax had left with Hull on August 4, 1943. For the text of this paper and for the reply of the Department of State, dated August 17, 1943, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 11061107.
  8. The draft referred to, dated March 9, 1943, had been handed to Eden in Washington on March 29, 1943. At some point during the Quebec Conference Roosevelt also gave a copy to Churchill, and Eden showed Hull a copy of a British aide-mémoire on the subject which he had given to the American Ambassador at London (Winant) on May 26, 1943. See Woodward, p. 440, fn. 2. For the text of the United States draft of March 9, see ante, p. 717.
  9. For the memorandum on this subject which had been presented to Hull in preparation for the Quebec Conference, see ante, p. 761.