The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 6, 1944.]
Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s telegram No. 8732 of December 16, 1943, regarding the request of the Chinese observer at the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education to be kept informed about the United States’ policy with regard to participation in the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education, I have the honor to report that the observer for the U.S.S.R. approached the Embassy’s observer yesterday with a similar request.
During the course of the discussion, the observer for the U.S.S.R. asked if it appeared likely that the United States might enter the Conference without asking for organizational changes. He expressed the opinion that the Conference as constituted is too, much subject to British influence and is organized on too exclusive a basis. The Embassy’s observer stated that to his knowledge our policy was not yet determined, but that he would be glad to inform the observer for the [Page 1161] U.S.S.R. if he received an indication that the United States might enter the Conference without pressing for organizational changes. This offer was received very gratefully. The observer for the U.S.S.R. is obviously afraid that his Government may be embarrassed by the entry of the United States and other observer states without the prior knowledge of the U.S.S.R.
The observer for the U.S.S.R. also asked what basis of representation the United States might desire in a cultural conference. When the Embassy’s observer replied that he had no information on this score but advanced the personal opinion that the principles followed in the UNRRA13 and Food Conferences14 might be applicable, the observer for the U.S.S.R. expressed the fear that such a basis would give undue and perhaps dangerous influence to small states. The Embassy’s observer then suggested that it might be possible to obviate this if matters involving regional or special interests were handled by committees directed by states most concerned, that a finance committee, for example, might properly be directed by the states meeting most of the expenses. The observer for the U.S.S.R. agreed that such a solution should prevent small states from exercising undue influence.
The observer for the U.S.S.R. also raised the question of the establishment of an International Education Office which the Conference has listed as one of its objectives. He indicated that the U.S.S.R. might not feel great hesitancy about participating in the work of such an office as long as its activities were confined to the exchange of purely technical information, but that the U.S.S.R. would be extremely reluctant to participate in an International Education Bureau which undertook to deal with the subject matter introduced in the curricula of national schools.
Throughout the discussion the observer for the U.S.S.R. displayed a somewhat deprecatory attitude toward the Conference and intimated that the U.S.S.R. would prefer to conduct its cultural relations bilaterally. The Embassy’s observer got the impression that the observer for the U.S.S.R. hopes that the United States will not affiliate with the Conference, at least as it is now organized. At the same time, he wishes to keep his Government accurately informed about the attitudes of the United States and is evidently apprehensive that the U.S.S.R. may be isolated.
First Secretary of Embassy