800.0146/155½: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Charge in the Soviet Union (Hamilton)

894. Reference Embassy’s 1364, September 15, 11 a.m. Please convey to Molotov the appreciation of this Government for the frank expression of the views of the Soviet Government regarding the proposed declaration on liberated areas and leave with him a memorandum embodying the following observations of this Government on the points raised in his note of September 14 outlined in the Embassy’s telegram under reference.

In so far as this Government is aware the conversations and arrangements with the Governments-in-exile referred to in the last paragraph of the draft declaration, have been confined entirely to matters relating to military operations which might be undertaken in their respective countries and to the needs for supply, relief, et cetera with which the Allied armies would be confronted when military operations reach those areas. These discussions for the most part have taken place in what is known as the Leith-Ross Committee33 in London in which a representative of the Soviet Government has participated. The general attitude of the Governments-in-exile referred to in the telegram has been made known to this Government through reports of the American Ambassador accredited to those Governments and it was assumed that the Soviet Government had received similar reports from its Ambassador in London accredited in like capacity. The draft declaration in question was drawn up at the Quebec conference34 and was immediately submitted to the Soviet Government for its consideration.
This Government finds itself in agreement with the views of the Soviet Government concerning the administration of enemy territories in that the main responsibility in such administration must rest on the Allied Command of the armed forces conquering those territories. It shares the view of the Soviet Government that it is desirable to have the participation at the earliest possible moment of local democratic civilian authorities who are sympathetic to the Allied cause, but considers that as long as the war against Germany continues the decision as to time and the degree of such participation must be left to the Allied Command in those areas.
As set forth in Article 2 of the proposed declaration, pending the final defeat of the enemy, the Allied Command must continue to [Page 530] exercise supreme military authority in those liberated areas which will continue to be a base of military operations. During this period of continuing military operations, however, it appears to this Government that the participation to the extent practicable of the governments and constituted authorities of the various countries would appear to form the best method of facilitating such military operations and also of furthering the desire of our three Governments to create and maintain conditions of public order which would assure with as little delay as possible the participation of local and national authorities organized on democratic principles in the administration of the liberated countries.

We would be glad to be informed whether the Soviet Government would have any objection to the issuance of the draft statement, leaving for further consideration and discussion by the three Governments the whole question of the practical administration of liberated areas.

  1. The Inter-Allied Committee on Post-War Requirements, of which Sir Frederick Leith-Ross, Chief Economic Adviser to the British Government, had been Chairman since 1942. See Department of State, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, 1989–1945 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), pp. 86–87, and Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, pp. 89 ff.
  2. The First Quebec Conference, between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, with their advisers, was held August 17–24, 1943. The records of this Conference are scheduled for publication in a subsequent volume of Foreign Relations.