Summary of the Proceedings of the Fourth Session of the Tripartite Conference, October 22, 1943, 4 p.m.
Before proceeding to the consideration of Item 3 on the Agenda, at Mr. Eden’s suggestion the Conference agreed to the setting up of a Drafting Committee to facilitate and expedite the work of the conference. Mr. Hackworth and Mr. Dunn were designated by the Secretary as the United States representatives on this committee, and Mr. Eden designated Mr. Strang and one other whose name would be communicated later. Mr. Molotov said that the Soviet representatives on this committee would be proposed at the next session and that he would possibly name as one an official of the Foreign Office not present at the conference.
Mr. Eden then presented the British proposal under Item 3 of the [Page 605] Agenda for the setting up of the machinery for consultation with particular reference to the Politico-Military Commission at Algiers (copy of the British proposal and Mr. Eden’s remarks as circulated at the conference is attached41). Mr. Eden divided the subject into two general categories: (1) the problem of the Commission to deal with all questions affecting Europe arising out of the progress of the war with the exception of those pertaining directly to military operations, and (2) the machinery for controlling the carrying out of the Italian armistice terms.
In regard to the first point, Mr. Eden stated that under the widest terms of reference which were proposed for the Politico-Military Commission, he suggested that it should meet in one of the three capitals and proposed that London be selected. He pointed out that under these broader terms of reference, which were to include questions of a wide range of all European problems arising out of the prosecution of the war with the exception of military operations, it would be manifestly impossible for the Commission to function properly in Algiers or Italy. He explained that in the view of his Government because of constitutional difficulties this proposed Commission in London could not have any executive function but would have the widest possible consultative powers. He said that he thought that this enlarged scope of the Politico-Military Commission was very much in the line of the suggestions put forward by the Soviet Government on the subject of the so-called Mediterranean Committee. He said that the British Government would welcome at the earliest possible moment the setting up of such a Commission in London.
Turning to the second point dealing with the specific question of the machinery for controlling the Italian armistice terms, Mr. Eden outlined the following scheme:
It was proposed to designate three periods for Italy. (1) The first would run from the present time until the Italian Government is established in Rome, a period which we all hoped would be very brief. During this period a skeleton Allied Commission would operate directly under the control of the Commander-in-Chief in matters pertaining to the carrying out of the armistice terms. (2) The second period would run from the establishment of the Italian Government in Rome to the end of the campaign in Italy or in certain designated areas, when it was agreed that Allied military control was no longer needed. During this period there would be alongside the Allied Control Commission under the Commander-in-Chief an Inter-Allied Advisory Council composed of High Commissioners of the United [Page 606] States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union and, if desired, of the French Committee, Greece, and Yugoslavia. This body would advise the Commander-in-Chief as Chairman of the Control Commission on all matters pertaining to the putting into effect of the armistice terms. Mr. Eden said he was sure that everyone agreed that as long as military operations continued the Commander-in-Chief should remain in supreme command. In addition these High Commissioners would care for the interests of their respective Governments and nationals.41a (3) At the close of the second period the Commander-in-Chief would relinquish the presidency to the Control Commission which would pass to the Allied Advisory Council.
Mr. Molotov requested further clarification of the exact time when the third period would begin.
Mr. Eden explained that he meant at the end of hostilities in Italy or in certain designated areas when in the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief Allied military control was no longer necessary.
Mr. Eden then proposed that this Conference decide whether the French Committee should be admitted as a permanent member of the proposed Politico-Military Commission in London or whether it should be limited to the representatives of the three powers attending this conference. Neither the Secretary nor Mr. Molotov made any comment at this time on the question of French membership.
Mr. Molotov then said that the Soviet Government desired to know what was the connection between Mr. Eden’s proposal today and the suggestions contained in the memorandum handed by the British Government to the Soviet Ambassador in London on July 1 of this year.42
Mr. Eden replied that he recalled this document very well and that it embodied the views of his Government at that time, but that it was now felt that that was not sufficient since it was of great importance to set up some form of a clearinghouse which was to be the purpose of the proposed Politico-Military Commission in London with broad consultative powers to deal with general questions arising out of the war. He added that in so far as Italy was concerned he had a completely open mind and was willing to discuss any form of machinery for ensuring the close collaboration of the three powers in implementing the Italian terms of surrender. He added that the memorandum of July 1 to which Mr. Molotov had referred dealt only with conditions for terminating hostilities, whereas the proposed Commission in London would have a larger scope and could deal in a consultative capacity with such questions as the future of Germany and the general [Page 607] question of liberated areas. In reply to Mr. Molotov’s inquiry, Mr. Eden said that the principles contained in the July 1 memorandum were still valid and that the proposal that he had just presented might be regarded as growing out of that document.
Mr. Molotov said he would like to have further clarification on that point since the suggestions contained in the British memorandum of July 1 had been found acceptable by the Soviet Government. He said he would like to hear the views of the Secretary in regard to the British memorandum of July 1.
The Secretary replied that this document had been given study by the appropriate officials of the United States Government and that his Government was in general favorably disposed toward the suggestions contained therein but that there would have to be further and more detailed discussion of the document before he could make any further statement.
Mr. Molotov then inquired whether in the opinion of the Secretary Item 5 on the agreed Agenda dealing with the United States proposal for methods of consultation would be taken care of by Mr. Eden’s statement.
The Secretary replied that he felt that in the main Mr. Eden’s proposal would take care of what the United States Government had in mind, but that there were nevertheless some questions which would have to be considered through diplomatic channels on a three-power basis.
(At Mr. Molotov’s suggestion the Conference adjourned for fifteen minutes.)
Mr. Molotov stated that since the British documents had only been received this afternoon and that there had not been time to make Russian translations, he suggested that in view of the importance of the general suggestion it should be deferred until tomorrow’s session. He proposed that the Conference pass on to the consideration of Item 4 on the Agenda, the British suggestion for an exchange of views on the situation in Italy and the Balkans.
Mr. Eden said that he was entirely agreeable but that as he had not brought the necessary papers there would be some slight delay while he sent for them.
The Secretary said that in view of the slight delay it might be possible to dispose of Item 5, the United States suggestion for the machinery of tripartite consultation. The Secretary then read the following statement on Item 5: “Our proposal is that matters on which it is found desirable for the three Governments to consult should be dealt with in Moscow, London or Washington as may be most appropriate on an ad hoc basis by the permanent diplomatic representatives in each capital. Experts could be sent if desired to participate [Page 608] depending upon the character of the subjects under discussion. This is not intended to preclude the holding of international or tripartite conferences as occasion may make desirable.”43
Mr. Eden inquired if this implied any opposition to the setting up of the Commissions in accordance with his proposal.
The Secretary replied that it did not but was merely designed to keep alive the method for tripartite consultation on questions of common interest which was being used here and was to supplement and not supersede the Commissions suggested by Mr. Eden.
The Secretary, in reply to Mr. Litvinov’s question as to whether this meant that the Secretary had in mind the setting up of a special commission, said that he had not, and he went on to say that the purpose of the United States proposal was to ensure that as questions of common interest to the three powers arose they might be dealt with on a tripartite basis by the utilization of the existing diplomatic machinery in one of the three capitals in order to supplement the customary bilateral diplomatic exchanges.
Mr. Molotov said that it might be desirable to define the exact meaning of the United States proposal in regard to Item 5 more closely but that this was just a suggestion.
The Secretary said he would be glad to submit a redraft of the proposal with that in view.
Mr. Molotov then proposed that the words “after preliminary agreement between the three Governments” should be inserted after the words “to consult” in the United States proposal. This amendment was accepted by the Conference.
Mr. Molotov then inquired if there was to be any restriction placed on the questions which the representatives of the three powers might discuss in the manner suggested in the United States proposal.
The Secretary said that there was absolutely no restriction on the questions which could be discussed and that he had brought up the United States proposal under Item 5 of the Agenda because he thought it could be disposed of quickly in the light of Mr. Eden’s proposals which had rendered it somewhat less important.
Mr. Molotov suggested that the proposal be accepted as a basis for discussion and referred it to the Drafting Committee. It was agreed also by the Conference to submit in addition Mr. Eden’s proposals to the Drafting Committee.
Mr. Eden then proposed that Items 6 and 14 on the Agenda be combined and it was agreed that Item 6 would be moved down to Item 14.
Mr. Eden, then turning to the British suggestion under Item 4, stated that he had no more remarks to make on the subject of Italy [Page 609] other than those which he had already made concerning the machinery for putting the Armistice terms into force but that he was willing to answer any question on these points.
Mr. Molotov expressed surprise at this and pointed out that the first question on the original British suggestion for an agenda of this meeting had been the one which was now Item 4.
Mr. Eden replied that when the original British agenda had been submitted in early September events had not proceeded so far as they had now and Italy had not been in the war on our side.
Mr. Molotov replied that in his opinion the question of Italy, to which the Soviet Government attached the greatest importance, should be discussed here and he went on to say that the Soviet Government had had no representatives on the spot in Italy or North Africa and that, having encountered difficulties in sending representatives to those areas (which difficulties he was glad to say had now disappeared), it had for this reason proposed the creation of a Politico-Military Commission, sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean Commission. He said that the Soviet Government had been very happy at the unconditional surrender of Italy and, while realizing the predominant part played in this by the British and American armies, he felt that although far away the Soviet armed forces had also contributed their part. He added that as Italy was the first country to surrender to the Allies, new problems in this connection were arising which affected very directly the cooperation between our three countries and that the Soviet Government was greatly interested in receiving accurate information in regard to the development of events in Italy as they affected the political, economic and military situation and also that the terms of surrender should be put into effect in a manner which had been approved by the three Governments. He pointed out that this was impossible in the absence of a Soviet representative on the spot. Mr. Molotov went on to say that the Soviet Government had a number of minimum suggestions in regard to Italy in which it was vitally interested, but he would like to have first the opinion of the Secretary and Mr. Eden on the following point: He inquired whether in their opinion there were adequate guarantees that the terms of the surrender would be promptly put into effect and complied with.
Mr. Eden replied that he had had very much in mind the Soviet need for adequate information concerning developments in Italy and that his suggestion of the appointment of High Commissioners to the Inter-Allied Advisory Council had been very much designed to remedy that situation. With reference to the terms of the armistice, Mr. Eden stated that it had been made quite clear at the time of the acceptance of Italy as a war participant that it had been done merely [Page 610] as a matter of convenience and that the terms of surrender remain in force in toto and could only be changed following the collective agreement between the three Governments. He said that according to information in possession of the British Government Italian cooperation up to the present has been only passive in character and that in the opinion of the British military authorities little help of a military nature could be expected in the war against Germany. He said that British policy on this question was in line with the doctrine approved by the Prime Minister of “payments by results”. He added parenthetically that according to their information the Germans had been behaving with great brutality toward the inhabitants.
Me. Molotov emphasized the fact that the Soviet Government attached the greatest importance from the political point of view to the development of events in Italy and since everyone was familiar with the role of Fascism in starting this war it was regarded as important that there be a speedy change over to a democratic system.
Mr. Eden stated that so far as the Fascist structure was concerned, wherever the Allied armies had been, for example in Sicily, there had been a virtual destruction of that system; and while it was true that there had been no elections held this had been due entirely to military necessity. He added that he had just had word from Mr. Macmillan44 that there was a general desire to include at this time liberal and socialist elements in the Italian Government and that it was possible that Badoglio, after the signature of the protocol, would leave the post of Prime Minister and lapse into obscurity. He said that the chief difficulty was to find authoritative persons who were non-fascists after twenty years of the fascist regime; that Sforza45 had been suggested as such a person, and that while his American friends knew more about him he himself had not been very favorably impressed by Sforza the one time he had seen him.
Mr. Molotov then said he would read certain urgent political measures which the Soviet Union desires to see put into effect in Italy immediately by joint agreement of the three Governments. He said these proposals would be distributed in writing after the meeting. He then proceeded to read seven measures which the Soviet Government desire to see introduced in Italy (copy in translation of these proposals attached).46 Mr. Molotov said that it would be most beneficial if our three Governments could jointly express themselves in favor of putting these seven proposed measures into effect in Italy immediately.[Page 611]
Mr. Eden observed that a great many of the measures proposed by the Soviet Government had already been put into effect and were in general very much along the lines of the instructions under which the much criticized AMGOT was now operating.
Mr. Molotov said that he attached great importance to Mr. Eden’s statement in regard to the measures which are already being put into effect in Italy, which in his opinion constitutes an additional reason why it would be desirable for the three powers represented here to express themselves in favor of the Soviet proposals. He added that there was no need to emphasize the great political significance which the acceptance of the Soviet proposals would have on the other members of the United Nations.
Mr. Eden answered that he would like time to study the Soviet proposals but that he would make available at the next session a paper on the political principles which the Allied forces are now trying to observe in the areas which they have conquered. He added that AMGOT in most of the territories which had been conquered had disappeared in favor of skeleton Allied control commissions, and he had had in mind when making his proposals that the Inter-Allied Advisory Council, which he hoped would be composed of the representatives of the Soviet, United States, British and French Governments, would take over as soon as possible the functions of the skeleton control commission.
Mr. Molotov agreed with Mr. Eden that we must work along those lines and then inquired if the Secretary had any ideas he cared to express on the principles involved.
The Secretary stated that he would not undertake to add very much to what Mr. Eden had said but that he and Mr. Eden, jointly or separately, would submit to the Conference at the following session a chronological and detailed list of the policies which their two Governments had been following in Italy since the invasion of Sicily. There was no secrecy in regard to these policies which had been carried out in the full light of day. The Secretary went on to say that one of the great purposes of this war as reflected in the Atlantic Charter and other declarations of the United Nations was to destroy every vestige of Fascism and Nazism, to uproot their policies and obliterate them leaving no trace. The question, however, as to how far the Allies are going in setting up the type of governments they would like to see in these areas and in the use of force for this purpose, has not yet been made clear. It is obvious that it is no quick or easy undertaking to uproot fascism in all its forms. This will require immense effort and great organization. The Secretary said that if he had his way, [Page 612] he would take Hitler48 and Mussolini49 and Tojo50 and their arch-accomplices and bring them before a drumhead courtmartial and at sunrise on the following day there would occur a historic incident. (This statement was greeted with great satisfaction by the Soviet delegation.)
The Secretary continued that he wished to make sure that all of our Allies, and this referred particularly to the Soviet Union whose great contribution to our common cause was apparent to all, would have the fullest information in regard to our policies and views. The most urgent task therefore was the development and setting up of adequate machinery to ensure such consultation and exchange of information so that the Soviet Government and the general population would be thoroughly acquainted with every aspect of our thinking. The sooner, therefore, that we could work out at this conference the plan along the lines of Mr. Eden’s proposal for the setting up of efficient and workable machinery for close consultation the better it would be.
Mr. Molotov expressed great pleasure in the statements of the Secretary and Mr. Eden and added that he had only one more proposal to make along constructive lines. He said that the representatives here were not only politicians but in some way businessmen. He therefore made the following proposal on behalf of the Soviet Government which he asked the Secretary and Mr. Eden to approve. Before presenting the proposal he said that, as is well known, Italy, largely due to Mussolini, had taken an active part in the war against the Soviet Union and together with Germany had, up to the surrender of Italy, wrought great damage to the Soviet people and economy and particularly to the Soviet naval and merchant fleets. It was difficult to evaluate the exact amount of the damage done by Italy in more than two years of war against the Soviet Union, but it seemed logical and right that following the Italian surrender Italy should begin to some extent to rehabilitate the damage she had done to the Soviet Union. Mr. Molotov then referred to a recent statement of Prime Minister in the House of Commons to the effect that more than 100 war vessels and 150,000 tons of merchant shipping had been turned over to the Anglo-American forces as the result of the Italian surrender. He then proposed that in order to intensify the struggle against Germany there should be immediately handed over to the Soviet Government the following former Italian vessels of war: one battleship, one [Page 613] cruiser, eight destroyers, four submarines, these vessels to be sent immediately to the northern ports of the U.S.S.R.; and in addition 40,000 tons of merchant shipping from the total of 150,000 tons which were turned over to the United States and Great Britain should be immediately despatched to the Black Sea, (A copy of this Soviet request is attached.51) Mr. Molotov concluded that he was not insisting upon an immediate decision but later on at an appropriate time.
Mr. Eden said he would submit the Soviet request to his Government and he merely wished to say that in his opinion permanent peace in the Mediterranean could not be assured if the Italian fleet was left intact.
The Secretary said he would be glad to submit the Soviet request to the President and urge sympathetic consideration on a fair and equitable basis.
(The Conference then adjourned until 4 p.m. October 23.)
- Not attached to file copy, but see Conference Document No. 6, n. 705, and footnote 80, p. 706.↩
- For a comment on this sentence, see telegram No. 1086, October 25, 6 p.m., to the American delegation, p. 635.↩
- See Conference Document No. 7, p. 708, and footnote 84, p. 710.↩
- This statement printed as Conference Document No. 17, p. 719.↩
- Harold Macmillan, British Minister Resident at Allied Headquarters in North Africa.↩
- Count Carlo Sforza, Italian anti-Fascist leader; former member of the Italian Senate, Secretary of State, and Ambassador to France.↩
- Not attached to file copy, but see Conference Document No. 13, p. 714.↩
- Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer and Chancellor of the German Reich and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht.↩
- Benito Mussolini, at this time head of the Italian Socialist Republic in German-controlled Italy.↩
- Lt. Gen. Hideki Tojo, Premier of Japan.↩
- Not attached to file copy, but see Conference Document No. 13, p. 714.↩