740.0011 Moscow/10–1843

Memorandum of Meeting at Spaso House8 Moscow, 12 Noon, October 19, 1943

Present: Mr. Hull
Mr. Eden
Sir Archibald Clark Kerr

Mr. Eden accompanied by the British Ambassador to the USSE called on the Secretary of State at noon.

Mr. Hull suggested to Mr. Eden that, although it had been agreed with Mr. Molotov that there should be no public statements regarding the Conference until its conclusion without common consent, the American press and public would be speculating, possibly unfavorably, regarding the progress of the Conference unless there were at least some general information given out. It was pointed out that last night the Soviet censor cut out of the American press stories reference to the fact that the Secretary and his party arrived in good health.

Mr. Eden agreed that, as long as there was no mention made of the progress of the Conference nor any comment on political matters released, it would be desirable to allow the press to report when meetings took place or when Mr. Molotov called on either Mr. Hull or himself and to give whatever human interest material might be available.

It was agreed that both Mr. Hull and Mr. Eden would mention this to Mr. Molotov when they met.

It was agreed also that Mr. Hull’s press representative would keep in touch with the British Embassy press representative and the press bureau of the Foreign Office to develop as much material along the above lines as was possible and see that the censorship released it.

Mr. Hull suggested to Mr. Eden that it would be well to give the Soviet Government every indication possible that both the United States and British delegations were ready to discuss any matters separately with the Soviets. Mr. Hull specifically suggested that it would be well if he mentioned this to Mr. Molotov this afternoon, and indicated that the members of his party were free to make themselves available to their opposite numbers of the Soviet group on an informal basis whenever it might be desired.

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Mr. Eden agreed with the above and said that when he was here in December of 1942 [1941]9 Mr. Maisky10 had come around to the Embassy in the evenings after the formal meetings and discussed the results of the conference informally with the idea of finding solutions, Mr. Eden thought it would be well if Mr. Strang had informal discussions with Mr. Vyshinsky whom he knew from previous meetings and suggested that Mr. Dunn might wish to have parallel talks.

Mr. Hull explained that it might be well for others of the staff to have similar relationships if Mr. Molotov agreed. At all events he considered it important to make the suggestion in order to avoid a feeling of suspicion on the part of the Soviet Government that the British and United States groups, living as they are together at the National Hotel, were conferring without giving the Soviet Government the benefit of their discussions.

It was agreed that every attempt should be made to encourage informal talks.

Mr. Clark-Kerr brought up the matter of the desire of the Soviet Government to have military discussions, particularly with reference to the Second Front.

It was agreed to wait and see what Mr. Molotov proposed this afternoon. It would be proper for him to make the suggestion as to the first matter to be discussed. If he did insist on the military matters being discussed first, Mr. Hull indicated that he would make a general statement with regard to the United States determination to prosecute the war to its conclusion and to give full assistance to her allies, and that, if it was desired to go into more detail, a similar meeting could be arranged either immediately or at a later date, as the details were of such a secret nature that they could not be discussed in a large meeting. Should this meeting extend over a longer duration than Mr. Hull was prepared to give to it, he indicated he might wish himself to retire.

It was agreed that we should give the Soviet Government full information on our plans, the reasons for the decisions and the results attained, and receive any suggestions that they wish to make. It should be made clear, on the other hand, that there could be no military negotiations carried on at this meeting.

Mr. Eden brought up the question of the Mediterranean Commission and explained to the Secretary the Soviet Government’s expanded ideas about its operations. Mr. Eden expressed the view that Algiers was not the proper place for a Commission with expanded responsibilities, and suggested that London might be a more suitable place. [Page 572] He would welcome a Commission being set up in London dealing with all these matters, leaving in Algiers a sub-committee to consider the Mediterranean. Mr. Eden also made it clear that his Government was unwilling to give plenary power to the Commission as demanded by the Soviet Government.

Mr. Eden explained certain difficulties in regard to the North Russian convoys11 which he was going to take up individually with Mr. Molotov.

He raised also the question of the recognition by the Soviet Government of the Polish Government and expressed the hope that Mr. Hull would join him in bringing as much pressure as possible on the Soviet Government to do so.

  1. Spaso House, once the residence of a wealthy Russian merchant and subsequently used by officials of the early Soviet revolutionary period, had been rented from the Soviet Government to house the American Embassy following the establishment of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1933. Secretary Hull stayed at Spaso House during the Moscow Conference.
  2. For correspondence concerning the visit of Anthony Eden in Moscow, December 16–22, 1941, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, pp. 192205.
  3. Ivan Mikhailovićh Maisky, Soviet Ambassador in the United Kingdom.
  4. For correspondence concerning consideration of the question of sending convoys by the northern route to the Soviet Union, see vol. iii, pp. 624703, passim.