Department of State Minutes 1
The Meeting followed an agenda previously prepared by the British.2
1. Polish Statement
The first subject discussed was the text3 of the statement to be issued by the two Governments with respect to the atrocities against Polish citizens in the Lublin area where the population was outstandingly Polish. The discussion hinged on a text prepared by the British and which was generally agreed to as appropriate for issuance on the subject at this time even though it was not expected to have any real effect on the situation.
2. Liberated Areas
There was discussion of the text4 of a statement which had been prepared by the United States with a view to clearing up misrepresentation and apprehension as to putting military government into effect in the friendly and Allied countries which will be liberated by the military operations undertaken on the Continent against Germany.
With very minor amendments5 the draft text was adopted with the decision that it would first be conveyed to the Soviet Government6 and China and the refugee governments7 directly concerned, with eventual view to publication.
The Prime Minister suggested that the timing of publication would be on or about September 15, which corresponded roughly with the [Page 932]date fixed for the opening of Parliament. This was generally agreed to.8
3. Convoys to Russia
This discussion turned on the text of a communication to the Soviet Government9 with respect to the temporary suspension of convoys to Russia in view of other military operations, the convoys to be resumed at the end of September or early in October.
4. Statement on Palestine Situation
The question of a statement with respect to the Palestine situation during the period of the war10 was discussed and views were exchanged as to the advisability of making any statement at this time and, if so, as to its form.
Both the President and Prime Minister agreed that this question should be held in abeyance and should be discussed further between the two Governments from month to month as the war situation developed, and any decision on the matter was left to the light of these further exchanges of views on the matter.
5. Fraternization Between U.S. and British Soldiers in the British Isles
It was agreed between the President and Prime Minister that all possible steps should be taken to promote fraternization between the U.S. and British forces in the British Isles and, with a view to accomplishing this end, Mr. Eden should speak to General Marshall, to General Devers and to Norman Davis as to methods for its accomplishment.
6. The King of Greece
This discussion turned on the subject of the message from the King of Greece recently received by the President11 and the Prime Minister,12 in which the King of Greece asked advice from the President and Prime Minister as to the action the King should take, in view of the request of certain Greek elements that His Majesty should not [Page 933]return to Greece until after a plebiscite on the subject of the Monarchy had been held.
At the request of the Prime Minister, Mr. Eden read a report on the present political situation of Greece prepared by the British Foreign Office.13
At the further request of the Prime Minister, Sir Alexander Cadogan read a communication on the subject from General Smuts, who advocated, as a matter of fair play, that the King of Greece not be precluded from entering his own country and resuming his former positon, subject, perhaps, to later decision by the people of Greece as to the future form of the Greek régime.14
There was some discussion then on the general subject of the attitude of the British and U.S. Governments toward the constituted governments of the refugee countries. It was decided, in general, that the two Governments should continue to support the governments and régimes as now recognized by them generally through the period up to the defeat of the enemy.
Mr. Hull pointed out that this attitude was in line with the attitude adopted in the statement with respect to administration of liberated areas, decided upon under Subject 2 of the agenda above.
With specific reference to the situation of the Greek King it was agreed between the President and Prime Minister that the British Foreign Office should reply to the King’s telegram, supporting his contention that he was prepared to return to Greece as soon as possible and submit the question of the Royal House to plebiscite.15
The President said the United States Government would not take any different position.16
The Prime Minister further stated, on his own initiative, that the British Government would instruct the British agents who were working [Page 934]with the guerrilla elements in Greece to refrain from encouraging those elements to put forward political claims as to the future form of government of Greece at this time.
7. The French Committee of National Liberation
After some discussion The Prime Minister stated that all the liberal elements in the world, including the governments in exile and the Soviet Government, were demanding an immediate decision granting full recognition to the French Committee of National Liberation.
The President took the view that we had to think of the future of France itself, which he felt would be in no way advanced by turning over the whole control of the French people to the present group comprising the French Committee.
After a further rather lengthy discussion, the suggestion of the President was accepted that the President himself draft the form of statement which he thought should be made.
As it was getting late and it was not possible to make further advance on this subject until the two views were further reconciled it was decided to await the President’s draft to which he said he would apply himself that evening.17
- The source text bears no indication of the authorship of these minutes. A slightly amended text typed later in Washington, however, ascribes the authorship jointly to Hull and Dunn (740.0011 EW/8–2243). The words “Strictly Confidential” are a manuscript notation on the source text. This has also been stamped “Secret” and “Secret—Security”, but it is probable that these classifications were applied in the Department of State long after the Conference.↩
- Supra. ↩
- No text originating at Quebec has been found. For the text agreed to at Quebec as telegraphed to the American Embassy at Moscow on August 27, 1943, see post, p. 1120. The declaration approved at Quebec was made in response to a request by the Polish Government in exile at London, ante, p. 506.↩
- Post, p. 1046.↩
- See post, p. 1047, fn. 2.↩
- See Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 517–518.↩
- Concerning further discussion at this meeting of policy toward the governments in exile and the right of the peoples of the liberated countries to choose their own governments, see Hull, p. 1240.↩
- Concerning the decision to postpone issuance of this statement and the later decision not to issue it at all, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 517, fn. 14, and p. 524, fn. 27. A new British draft on the subject was subsequently referred to the European Advisory Commission. See ibid., pp. 651–652, 738–739, 754.↩
- No draft of such a communication has been found, nor has any indication been found that a communication on this subject was sent to the Soviet Government during the First Quebec Conference. For Churchill’s message to Stalin on this subject dated October 1, 1943, see Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 263–266; Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. i, pp. 166–169.↩
- Cf. ante, p. 919.↩
- Ante, p. 915. fn. 8.↩
- See Churchill, Closing the Ring, p. 536.↩
- See post, p. 1044.↩
- See Churchill, Closing the Ring, p. 537.↩
- For the text of the British reply, which had been communicated in draft to Dunn on August 21, 1943, see post, p. 1046. For Roosevelt’s reply, sent from Washington on September 6, 1943, see post, p. 1046, fn. 5.↩
Cf. the following memorandum for the files, dated August 30, 1943, by Wallace Murray:
“I asked Mr. Atherton today about the apparent agreement of the President, in the discussions at Quebec on August 22, 1943 at which he had been present, to the decision taken by the British and the King of Greece that the King should return to Greece with the invading Allied Armies. I said that our consistent view had been that the return of the King with the liberating forces would introduce a dangerously controversial political element at the very moment when military considerations should be paramount, and that we had therefore been surprised on seeing the record.
“Mr. Atherton said that the minutes of the meeting at the Citadel on August 22, 1943 at 5:30 p.m. were misleadingly worded. It was his clear understanding that the President’s statement that ‘the United States Government would not take any different position’ had referred to the general attitude of the United States and British Governments toward ‘the constituted governments of the refugee countries’ and not to the specific question of the return of King George II to Greece.” (740.0011 European War 1939/30942½)
For a draft of a statement by the United States Government, with an indication of changes made by Roosevelt, apparently during the evening of August 22, 1943, see post, p. 1106. For the final text of this statement, which incorporated those changes, see post, p. 1169.
Harriman’s informal notes on the Quebec Conference contain the following information concerning a meeting with Hull at the Chateau Frontenac on August 22, 1943:
“Secretary Hull described, among other things, the French situation. I protested with all the vigor at my command the idea that Britain and America should take separate action.
“Had a long talk with James Dunn and Atherton on the same and similar subjects.” (Harriman Papers)↩