740.0011 Moscow/10–1943

Suggested Principles Which Would Govern the Conclusion of Hostilities With the European Members of the Axis

Conference Document No. 7


(British Proposal)

One. The terms to be imposed on any European member of the Axis should be presented as one comprehensive document covering all the United Nations at war with that member, and embodying the principle of unconditional surrender.

Two. If there exists a central enemy Government with which we are prepared to treat, a fully accredited representative of that Government should be associated with its Commander-in-Chief for purposes of signature; or alternatively the Armistice should not come into force until confirmed by that Government.

Three. If there is no such Government the Armistice should be signed by the enemy Commander-in-Chief only. In that case provisions which the enemy Commander-in-Chief lacks authority to execute would have to be omitted from the Armistice, which would thus be primarily a military document. Non-military provisions should so far as necessary be embodied in a Declaration or Proclamation issued by the United Nations.

Four. If there is neither an enemy Government nor Commander-in-Chief with whom we can or are prepared to treat, military [Page 709] resistance would presumably be brought to an end by a series of local capitulations. It would, however, probably be desirable that the United Nations should issue a declaration stating their intentions in respect of the defeated power. This would be followed by a series of proclamations issued by the Allied Commander-in-Chief containing instructions to the local authorities and population.

Five. The administration of any armistice should be placed in the hands of an inter-Allied Armistice Commission, the President to be alternately a representative of the United States, U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom. The Commission would establish its headquarters in the Axis country concerned, and would be responsible for controlling the execution of the Armistice terms; in the first place, the disarmament and demobilization of enemy armed forces, the collection and disposal of surrendered war material and other mobile property and the handing over of fortifications and other fixed property. Representatives of the Armistice Commission would be dispatched to liberated Allied territory to perform a similar task in respect of the enemy troops there located and to regulate their evacuation or internment.

Six. In the absence of an Armistice (See Paragraph Four) a Control Commission should administer the appropriate portions of the Declaration.

Seven. Any Armistice or Declaration would presumably provide for occupation, whether total or partial, of the countries concerned. In the case of Germany the exact method of organizing such an occupation should be the subject of technical discussions between the military advisers of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the U.S.S.R. in the first instance.

Eight. The United Nations Commander-in-Chief in any occupied country should have complete responsibility for the maintenance of law and order.

Nine. There should be established a supervisory body entitled “United Nations Commission for Europe”, composed of high ranking political representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., of France and the other minor European Allies, and, if so desired, of any Dominion prepared to contribute to the policing of Europe. The Commission should be situated at some convenient point on the Continent.

The Commission would act as the Supreme United Nations authority in Europe to direct and coordinate the activities of the several Armistice Commissions, the Allied Commanders-in-Chief and any United Nations civilian authorities that may be established; and to deal with current problems, military, political and economic, connected with the maintenance of order.

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A “Steering Committee”, consisting of the representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., and of France, if she recovers her greatness, should be established as the directing body of the Commission. In the “Steering Committee” the unanimity rule should apply.

Ten. It is likely that a number of civilian authorities will be set up by agreement between the United Nations, some on a world and others on a European basis. Apart from the United Nations relief and rehabilitation administration and the Inter-Governmental Committee which may emerge from the Bermuda Conference,83 the establishment of a United Nations Shipping Authority and a United Nations Inland Transport Authority for Europe have been suggested. Analogous bodies may well be required to control telecommunications and propaganda, and to handle reparation and restitution and other economic problems. These authorities might, in respect of their European activities, establish their headquarters in the same city as the United Nations Commission for Europe, to whom they would be responsible and provide the necessary technical advice.

  1. This aide-mémoire was handed by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the American Ambassador in London and transmitted by him to the Department in telegram No. 4626, July 16, 1943, 5 p.m. (740.00119 European War, 1939/1539).
  2. For correspondence relating to the Bermuda Conference To Consider the Refugee Problem, Hamilton, Bermuda, April 19–28, 1943, see pp. 134 ff.
  3. This draft differs from that dated July 1, 1943, and handed to the American and Soviet Ambassadors in London on July 2, only in the addition of the words “of America” after “United States” in paragraph 7, and in a few minor variations in punctuation.