740.0011 Moscow/345

Summary of the Proceedings of the Third Session of the Tripartite Conference, October 21, 1943, 4 p.m.27

After a short meeting of the conference of restricted delegates on military matters, the full conference reconvened at 4:30 p.m.

Mr. Molotov: Permit me to pass to Point 2 on the Soviet agenda. [Page 591] The Soviet Delegation received from Mr. Hull the revised draft of the Four-Nation Declaration28 and a draft of the oral statement which Mr. Hull intends to make in explanation of the changes.29

The Secretary: Have these changes been translated?

Mr. Molotov: Yes, but we have not had time to study them. Nevertheless we are prepared to discuss these papers at this session.

The Secretary then gave the following general description of the views of the United States Government concerning international cooperation and particularly the extension of the existing wartime cooperation into the post-war period with particular reference to the Four-Nation Declaration. In addition to the prepared statement which was made part of the record, the Secretary made the following observations:

When the peace-loving countries of the world found themselves confronted with the threat of world aggression on the part of the Axis Powers they drew closer together in self-preservation and began to help each other by military means. That is what we mean by cooperation in pursuit of our common aim to defeat the enemy. We are now at a stage when the cooperation of all the United Nations based primarily on self-interest must be considered in the light of the period which will follow our final victory. It is clear that there are overwhelming common interests which are closely secondary to the primary task of winning the war. Speaking for my Government, I may say that at the present time our primary purpose is to bend every ounce of energy to defeat our common enemy and due primarily to the Russian resistance we have beaten back the enemy and have passed on to the offensive on all fronts. However, we feel that without in any way impeding the primary task of winning the war we should begin to divert our efforts to the gradual preparation even while the war is in progress for the early construction of a program of international collaboration. If reason and experience of past years, some of which has been disastrous, are to play their part, we must draw now on that reason and experience to develop, preserve and carry forward the great traditions on which the common welfare of our peoples so largely depend. We have many interests in common, among those a mutual interest in the preservation of peace and the establishment of international security which we regard as the only means of assuring the welfare, political, economic and social, of every people in the world. The welfare of our people depends not only upon the measures taken internally by each Government, but also the establishment of a world power under law which will at all times preserve peace and guarantee to the peoples of the world the possibility of continuing their progress. [Page 592] We feel that the basic principles of this international policy are those set forth in the Atlantic Charter30 and the subsequent declaration of the United Nations31 and that only [all?] worthwhile nations will be interested in the preservation and extension of these principles.

In all the allied countries there is a growing desire to obtain leadership and guidance from the great nations of the world and to receive from them some sign as to the future course of international affairs. In particular there is a desire to ascertain whether the great nations of the world will revert to isolation and its suicidal consequences or whether in the interest of self-preservation they will adopt the path of cooperation which will lead to progress and the utilization of the valuable opportunities for the promotion of human welfare which are now present. It should be emphasized that the democratic countries in general required a considerable period of time to formulate their policies in the international field. Public opinion moves slowly in these countries and the people desire to see clearly the direction in which their Governments are moving. For this reason we regard it as important that the peace-loving Governments of the world take even during the war such necessary preparatory steps as will hasten the development of this process and will set forth the principles which point the way to international collaboration.

I shall not burden you with a further discussion of these general principles which are so well known to the Governments represented here and will now pass on to the consideration of the document which we now have before us which should not be regarded as perfect, but merely as a basis for discussion. I may add that these documents were drawn up in the spirit of the United Nations, having in mind not only the general world situation but also the particular circumstances in which each of our allies finds itself. I believe Mr. Eden has some observations to make, but first I would like to know if Mr. Molotov desires to comment on this document.

Mr. Molotov inquired whether Mr. Eden had any comment.

The Secretary added that since he always wished to speak with clarity and frankness he wished to inform the Conference that this document had been sent to the British, Soviet and Chinese Governments for their consideration and comment.

Mr. Eden stated that he could say, on behalf of his Government, that they were sincerely desirous of establishing the closest possible cooperation between the three Governments on which the entire future of the nations of the world depends. If it is possible for these three Governments represented here to understand each other the settlement [Page 593] of all questions will be rendered comparatively easy, but if this general understanding cannot be obtained then we have failed in our work here. The British Government regards the proposal of the United States—the Four-Nation Declaration—as a step forward in that direction and therefore recommends it.

Mr. Molotov stated that the Soviet Government was very favorably disposed towards the principles set forth in this declaration and therefore welcomes it. He added that the countries represented here had a common interest, as stated by the Secretary, in carrying on their work in a spirit of mutual understanding. With reference to Mr. Eden’s observations, Mr. Molotov said that he personally saw no grounds for believing that it would be impossible to find a common basis of understanding during the course of the work of the Conference. He said that the Soviet Government and people were vitally interested in measures to prevent future aggression and to ensure peace and he was confident that this opportunity would unite the members of the Conference in their work. He suggested that the Conference proceed to the concrete questions contained in the draft declaration. He 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 September32 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 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 confirmation [Page 594] 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.32a 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, 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. Eden 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.

[Page 595]

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.

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.

Mr. Molotov proposed a short intermission, which was accepted.

[The conversation recorded by the Secretary of State, page 602, took place during the intermission, after which the meeting gave detailed consideration to the Tentative Draft proposed by the United States, page 600.]

Mr. Molotov suggested that the Conference continue until 7:30 and then turning to the consideration of the Draft Declaration, inquired if anyone had any amendments to make in regard to the preamble of the document.

[Page 596]

Mr. Eden made the suggestion, which was adopted, to change the words “Great Britain” to “United Kingdom”.

Mr. Molotov said, returning to the question of Chinese participation, that it was his understanding that the question was to be left open, if he had correctly understood the Secretary.

The Secretary suggested that if desired, discussion of this question could be resumed as the work proceeded and that it should be regarded as unfinished.

Mr. Eden said that he had one observation to make in regard to point 1 on the basis of a revised draft which the Secretary had kindly circulated to the British and Soviet Delegations this morning concerning the first two articles. As it stood in article 1 he proposed the elimination of the words “on the same basis”. He explained that he did not desire to see post-war cooperation restricted in any way. As there was no objection, this deletion in article 1 was accepted.

Mr. Eden suggested in point 2 that the word “liberated” be inserted before the words “territory of other States”, since, while the meaning was clear, it might look as though the four powers intended to occupy the territory of their allies.

Mr. Molotov proposed an amendment to point 2 which would make the suggestion of Mr. Eden unnecessary. He proposed that the article after the words “of that enemy” be eliminated entirely, as well as all references to occupation of enemy and other territory. He went on to explain that it was unnecessary to speak of the question of occupation as all such matters would be covered by the terms of surrender, or, if not, would relate to active military operations in the prosecution of the war which would not permit of an agreement in advance between the allies. He added that it seemed to him that this elimination removed the unclarity which previously existed in article 2 which he considered undesirable.

The Secretary inquired whether Mr. Molotov would be willing to accept an amendment to his amendment and omit the reference to “enemy territory” leaving in the reference to liberated territories.

Mr. Molotov replied that his original objection stood since even with the Secretary’s suggestion the wording might be construed in such a manner as to interfere with active military operations.

Mr. Eden observed that it was obviously not the intent of the draft to interfere in any way with active military operations and was very much along the lines of the terms of reference of the Mediterranean Commission.33

[Page 597]

Mr. Molotov replied; that in regard to the Political Military Commission, sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean Commission, he saw no possibility for disagreement, but in the present instance he considered article 2 as drafted very indefinite. For example, it might be construed to mean that in the areas liberated by the Anglo-American forces, such as Holland, Belgium and France, Soviet troops should participate, and, conversely, on the Eastern Front, Anglo-American forces should participate in such liberation.

Mr. Eden said that he could not, of course, undertake to interpret a United States document, but that he was certain that there was no intention to provide for joint occupation.

Mr. Molotov stated that in regard to the Mediterranean Commission, the question was one of policy, that here it was one of occupation.

Mr. Eden stated that what he had had in mind was certain misunderstandings which had arisen between the three Governments precisely in regard to questions of occupation of enemy territory and referred specifically to Soviet criticism of AMGOT.34 He said that in his view the purpose of the wording of article 2 was to avoid such misunderstanding and the creation of a situation similar to that relating to AMGOT.

Mr. Molotov replied that the wording was still not clear; in any event that there was no Soviet representative participating in the administration of AMGOT, and that the Soviet Government had not been fully informed on that subject.

Mr. Eden replied that it was precisely the purpose of this article to make sure that the Soviet Government would be fully informed on all matters relating to the occupation or liberation of friendly territories. He further suggested that this article be reserved for future consideration.

Mr. Molotov agreed to postpone consideration, although he stated he still preferred to see the concluding phrase of the article eliminated.

It was agreed by the Conference that article 2 be deferred and that the United States and British Delegations would try to evolve a new draft.

Mr. Eden proposed in regard to article 3 that the word “requirements” be replaced by “terms” and that the word “present” be eliminated. He stated that he desired to eliminate the word “present” since it might carry the implication of intention to make friends immediately with the present enemies.

The Secretary accepted the British suggestion, which was adopted.

Mr. Eden proposed that the wording of article 4 be changed to read “organization based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all [Page 598] nations for peace and security, in which all peace-loving nations, large and small, may play their part”.

Mr. Molotov said he agreed in general with Mr. Eden’s suggestion, but proposed a simpler amendment, namely, to insert the word “States” for “nations” and to insert the words “peace-loving” so as to read “the sovereign equality of all peace-loving States”. As there was no objection, Mr. Molotov’s amendment was adopted.

Mr. Eden proposed that in article 5 the words after the last phrase of the article be made to read “they will consult with one another and as occasion requires with other members of the United Nations with a view to joint action on behalf of the community of nations. He explained that the small nations and in particular the Dominions, especially Canada, had objected to the wording of the article numbered 4 since it seemed to imply a four-Power dictatorship.

Mr. Molotov remarked that Mr. Eden’s amendment appeared to be in conformity with the statements of the Secretary in regard to the United Nations. Mr. Eden’s suggestion on article 5 was adopted.

Mr. Molotov proposed that in article 6 he would like to make some observations. He said that the wording of this article brought out one of the arguments in favor of a three instead of a four-nation declaration since, while he could say in strict confidence that the Soviet Government and people would welcome it when the allies had defeated Japan, nevertheless to include China in a technical military commission as outlined in article 6 might lead to complications in the Soviet relations with Japan, which it would be better to avoid. He therefore suggested that no final decision be taken on this article.

The Secretary said that out of consideration for the views of the Chairman, Mr. Molotov, he proposed to omit article 6 entirely. The Secretary’s proposal was adopted.

In regard to article 8, which in the original draft had been article 7, Mr. Eden said that he really did not favor this article since he was fearful that it might involve a general world conference on disarmament, which evoked unpleasant memories of the past.

Mr. Molotov stated that he saw no harm in the inclusion of this Article since he believed there were many people in the world who would very much desire to see a reduction in the burden of armaments. He therefore proposed that it be left in the declaration.

Mr. Eden replied that if it was to be left he desired to insert the words “with one another and with other members of the United Nations” after the word “cooperate”. Mr. Eden’s suggested amendment was adopted.

Mr. Molotov proposed in regard to article 7 of the revised draft (article 8 of the original draft) that before the words “following the defeat of the enemy” there be substituted “in the post-war period”.

[Page 599]

Mr. Eden observed that while he had no personal objections to the change, it might be suggested to the United States and Great Britain since “post-war” to them meant “following the defeat of Japan”.

Mr. Molotov pointed out that the original phrase meant the same thing and suggested that the Secretary decide the question.

The Secretary suggested that further study be given to this point since there might be a considerable period between the surrender of the enemy and the formal establishment of peace, which, in his view, would mark the beginning of the post-war period.

Mr. Molotov suggested the Secretary’s proposal be given further study. He said he had an additional suggestion to make with reference to the requirement for joint consultation and agreement before any of the signatories would employ their military forces within the territory of other States. He inquired as to what effect this might have on the agreements between one of the signatories and a non-signatory State which gave the former the right to establish troops in the territory of the latter. He added that he knew of several instances in which the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom had such treaties. He proposed, therefore, that the words “joint consultation and agreement” be omitted.

Mr. Eden said that he thought that Mr. Molotov had raised a very real point which might not cause any real difficulty between the countries represented at the Conference, but might be objected to by other States. He proposed that before the words “other States” there be substituted “against other States”.

Mr. Molotov then proposed that at any rate the words “and agreement” at the end of the article be eliminated. This proposal of Mr. Molotov was adopted.

Mr. Eden then inquired as to the interpretation of the word “consultation”, particularly as to whether that would apply to treaties giving one of the signatories the right to station troops in the territory of another State.

Mr. Molotov repeated that he would prefer to drop all reference in article 7 to joint consultation and agreement, but that he understood that it had been agreed only that the words “and agreement” should be eliminated. It was agreed that further consideration would be given to article 7.

Article 9 was approved by the Conference without objection.

Mr. Molotov proposed that the meeting adjourn until 4:00 p.m., October 22, 1943, when item 3 of the agreed agenda would be discussed, provided there was no suggestion to revert either to items 1 or 2.

  1. Drafted by Charles B. Bohlen of the American delegation. The file copies of the summaries of proceedings of this and subsequent meetings of the Conference, except the Tenth Meeting, do not contain lists of the delegations present.
  2. Infra.
  3. Post, p. 601.
  4. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 367.
  5. Declaration by the United Nations, signed January 1, 1942, ibid., 1942, vol. i, p. 25.
  6. See telegram No. 874, September 18, 7 p.m., to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, p. 528.
  7. See telegram No. 1025, October 19, 2 p.m., to the American delegation, p. 575.
  8. For the British proposals regarding the scope and functions of the Political-Military Commission (Mediterranean Commission), and Secretary Hull’s statement of agreement, see telegram Amdel No. 8, October 12, to the American delegation in Moscow, and telegram Delam No. 1, October 15, from the Secretary of State, aboard the U.S.S. Phoenix, pp. 554 and 797, respectively.
  9. Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories.