740.00119 EAC/103: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

1703. Personal for the Ambassador. Your 1727, March 2, 8 p.m. reference telegram no. 1623, March 3, 10 p.m., Eacom 8, which proposed that you recommend for adoption our short instrument of surrender.

This position has been taken after careful consideration of the matter by the President, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Department, and it is the desire of this Government that you make every effort to have our form of instrument of surrender adopted.

The foregoing does not mean that you are barred from negotiating on the basis of our document, which, like our other documents, has been transmitted for your guidance in presenting the American position. It has been assumed from the outset between the Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff that divergencies of views would be resolved within the Commission, and that its tentative recommendations would be referred to the three Governments.

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We have now transmitted to you our comment on both the British and Soviet proposals. It would be helpful if we could receive the Soviet reaction to our document.

We are not inclined to agree with your view that no fundamental difference is involved in the three documents. The United States and Soviet documents are instruments of unconditional surrender. The British document, on the other hand sets forth the detailed conditions under which hostilities will be suspended. While admittedly the British instrument, by its terms, reserves the right to impose conditions other than those specified, we feel that there may be legal question as to whether this reservation would be completely effective, and that, in any event, the Germans would attempt to urge that agreement was limited to the matters specified. The Italian experience has impressed our military authorities with the advisability of the short type of document. As stated in Eacom 8, our principal objective is to impose surrender terms broad enough to give us complete and unlimited authority, leaving to agreement among the three Governments, without German participation, questions as to how that authority will be exercised. If you succeed in obtaining Commission’s agreement to the adoption of a short form of surrender instrument, we would then expect Commission to proceed to draw up further directives and proclamations required to implement that instrument.

The difficulty of your position is well understood here, and we are anxious to provide every means we can for facilitating your task.