740.0011 Moscow/10–1843

Summary of the Proceedings of the Third Meeting of the Tripartite Conference of Foreign Ministers, Moscow, October 21, 1943, 4 p.m.


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Mr. Molotov8 … added that the first question which occurred to the Soviet Delegation which had arisen immediately after the receipt of the original draft from the United States Government in September was whether it would be possible to consider a draft Four-Nation Declaration which included China in the absence of any representative of that country.

The Secretary stated that as he had previously said the United States Government was anxious to ascertain the attitude of the various [Page 824] Governments associated with it in this war, whether in whole or in part, toward the principles which were set forth in this document. In regard to procedure the Secretary said that he was willing to accept anything that was agreeable to the others in regard to the mechanics of consideration of the draft and that in regard to China he felt that the inclusion of China was of the greatest importance, in order to preserve the spirit of the unity of the United Nations. He went on to say that China could sign later and also other nations if they desired, as in the case of the United Nations Declaration.

Mr. Molotov asked if there would be any objection to changes being made in the draft proposal without the presence of the Chinese at the Conference.

The Secretary replied that in his view this was a matter for the assembled delegates to handle and that he believed that the document as agreed upon here could be submitted to the Chinese Government before the close of the Conference. He added that according to information which he had received from the Chinese Ambassador the Chinese Government approved the Four-Nation Declaration and merely desired to be informed of any changes which might be introduced in the text at this Conference. He went on to say that if and when the document is finished here the Chinese Government could be informed immediately and asked to participate.

Mr. Molotov said that from the point of view of the Soviet Government the difficulty lay in the fact that no final decision could be made on the document if China was to be a party in the absence of a Chinese representative, whereas if the document was considered as a Three-Power Declaration it would be possible to agree and sign it during the Conference.

The Secretary repeated that in his opinion it would seem logical to perfect the document at the Conference as a four nation one, sign it, and pass it on later to the Chinese Government for its approval or disapproval.

Mr. Molotov said that in considering all of the advantages of which he was fully aware of having the Four Nations sign the document, the one great disadvantage from the Soviet point of view was that if China was to be associated originally in the Declaration it could not be finally decided upon at this Conference.

The Secretary said that in the view of the United States Government this proposal was completely in line with the previous declarations of the United Nations which were designed to bring into association all the nations associated in whole or in part with one aspect or another of the war against the Axis and that if we should now abandon the spirit and nature and letter of the United Nations movement it would produce division of opinion and only lead to confusion, [Page 825] since on all these broad questions every country associated with us in the war, whether in whole or in part, were equally interested in the general principles involved.

Mr. Eden9 said that it seemed to him that there were two points to consider: (1) the particular problem of China, which might be handled by perfecting and agreeing on the Declaration here and then immediately submitting it to the Chinese Government, and if the Chinese approved it might be possible to obtain the signatures of the four Nations before the end of the Conference, and (2) whether or not Mr. Hull intended that other nations would immediately adhere to this Declaration since he personally had already envisaged it as an instrument of the Four Nations.

The Secretary replied that he believed that many nations would make application to join but that he was not advocating such policy.

Mr. Eden said that he had particularly in mind Section 6 with regard to the technical military commission since he felt it would be undesirable at this stage to associate any other nations in such a commission.

Mr. Molotov said that he agreed with Mr. Eden’s views on this point. He then proposed that the Conference consider this draft as one of three and not four Powers, but if it should prove possible to obtain the consent of the Chinese Government before the end of the Conference it could then be transformed into a Four-Nation Declaration. He said that he advanced this proposal in order to make the text proposed by the Secretary, the contents of which were viewed so favorably by all present, independent of the consent of any fourth nation not represented at the Conference.

The Secretary pointed out the importance of considering the psychological situation of all the nations participating in one form or another, together with us, in the war, and that he felt that if one of the great nations which was making an important contribution to the war should be excluded, the psychological effect would be most harmful for the unity of the United Nations.

Mr. Molotov said that he thoroughly agreed with the Secretary on the importance of the psychological aspect of the question, and, for that reason, he therefore felt that a failure to obtain an agreement among the three Powers on this draft would have a very adverse effect on the other members of the United Nations, and that since the Conference was dealing with the concrete problems presented by the Draft Declaration any undue delay would in effect prejudice from the psychological point of view the purpose that everyone had in mind. He suggested therefore that the Conference proceed in the spirit of the United Nations to the consideration of the concrete proposals.

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The Secretary said that his observation had been in the nature of an inquiry.

Mr. Molotov replied that he had welcomed the Secretary’s observations, but he would like to repeat that in his view this document should not be regarded as necessarily a declaration of the four nations.

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  1. V. M. Molotov, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.