740.00119 EAC/103: Telegram
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State
[Received 10:32 p.m.]
1727. Personal for the Acting Secretary and Mr. Dunn. In my 1699 March 2, 6 p.m., Comea 33,20 I dealt with some of the details [Page 190] regarding the wording of our draft Instrument and Acknowledgment of Unconditional Surrender of Germany. I now wish to say a word about the general position in which I find myself in respect to the treatment of this document in the Commission.
Neither I nor the members of my delegation are familiar with the evolution of the document. We have very little to go on in trying to arrive at the exact reasoning which lay behind its drafting.
We have given careful study and thought to the text and the supporting memorandum and to all the other material now before the Commission on this subject. As a result of this study, neither I nor my political advisers are able to see that it makes any great practical difference which of these three proposed sets of surrender terms is finally chosen for imposition upon Germany. Each of them provides for an acknowledgment on the part of Germany that its military forces are defeated. Each binds Germany to submit without question to any terms of a military, political and economic nature which may be imposed upon it by the victors. The British would prefer a longer and more comprehensive document, comprising numbers of detailed desiderata; the Russians would like a brief document containing only military provisions; we would like a brief document containing general provisions, with the detailed desiderata appended in the form of general proclamations and orders. I do not see that any principle of major importance is involved in the choice between these alternatives.
Quite naturally, General Wickersham accepts the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an order to be complied with. If I am also to treat the Joint Chiefs of Staff surrender instrument as a directive, there is little opportunity for bringing together the different views of three delegations.
I want of course to do everything possible to see that the wishes of the Joint Chiefs are reflected in the recommendations of the Commission; and I shall spare no effort to support this document and to persuade the other delegations to accept it in preference to their own as the basis of discussion. On the other hand I can not myself feel that this is the vital issue, and meanwhile the work of the Commission on other important questions connected with the detailed drafting of the surrender terms and the machinery for their execution is being held up. I think that there is a limit to the time that we can allow to pass before proceeding to these other matters; and it would therefore be my judgment that if we are not able to obtain agreement to the exact form of our draft instrument in the very near future, we may have to make some concessions in order to get on with the discussion of these other matters.[Page 191]
If I am obliged to adopt this course, our military authorities may depend on it that I shall not agree, even tentatively, to the recommendation of any form of surrender document which does not satisfy basically the requirements outlined in the comment on the draft instrument which we have received from them.
- Not printed.↩