857.01/124a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)46

593. As a result of a series of negotiations with the Norwegian Government, the British and this Government have made similar agreements with regard to civil administration and jurisdiction in Norwegian territory liberated by an Allied expeditionary force. The British Embassy here has informed us that the British Embassy in Moscow presented to the Soviet Government a copy of the Anglo-Norwegian agreement, and that the British Ambassador was informed by Mr. Molotov that the Soviet Government suggests that this agreement be laid before the European Advisory Commission in London for consideration there. Mr. Molotov is reported to have pointed out that as a result of the discussions on point 14 of the Agenda of the Moscow Conference it was decided that questions affecting liberated Allied territory should be considered by the European Advisory Commission.

For your own information, the British Government had in the first instance suggested to us that this agreement be laid before the European Advisory Commission. At that time we told the British Government that it was our view that the European Advisory Commission was charged with the consideration of the terms of surrender and [Page 25] machinery of control of Germany, and such other matters as had been referred to it specifically by the Moscow Conference. These other matters were (a) the formula for Civil Affairs Administration in; France, presented at the Conference by the United States and United Kingdom Secretaries for Foreign Affairs; and (b) a suggested form, of public declaration to be made by the three Governments with respect to the policy and attitude to be adopted toward the governments of the liberated areas.

This latter document is that referred to in Article 14 of the Moscow Protocol. It will be noted that Article 14 related to a draft declaration on policy presented to the Conference by the British delegation, and did not include general reference to the European Advisory Commission of all questions dealing with the period of military operations, in the liberated areas.

It is the intention of this Government, as well as that of the British Government, that the Soviet Government should be fully informed of matters which lie within the period of military operations against Germany for the information and comment of the Soviet Government, but this Government feels sure that the Soviet Government will understand that it is not advisable for the military authorities conducting the operations against Germany in the liberated areas to be hampered in any way in carrying out their strategic planning and operations through the necessity for awaiting recommendations or advice in matters the planning and carrying out of which cannot be delayed without affecting the success of the military operations. Furthermore, it is to be noted that the Soviet representative on the European Advisory Commission has stated that until agreement has been reached on the terms of surrender for Germany, which remains the primary task of the Commission, he is not in a position to give consideration to any other matter, even surrender terms for any other country.47

You are requested to seek an interview with Molotov and explain to him the situation along the above lines, omitting any reference to the views of the British Government on the subject. You should emphasize to him that the United States military authorities do not in any sense desire to deprive the Soviet Government of an opportunity of passing on agreements of this character related to the problems of civil administration directly connected with military operations in liberated areas, but feel that this should be done through diplomatic channels rather than by submission to a purely recommending body such as the European Advisory Commission. Submission to the latter body would inevitably involve delays which would seriously hamper the progress of vital planning for military operations. You should emphasize that the arrangements in question merely deal with civilian [Page 26] matters as connected with strictly military operations and do not involve questions of policy once the administration of liberated areas has been returned to civilian authority when in the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief the military situation permits. The question of policy in regard to liberated areas in the subsequent phase might properly form the subject of discussion in the European Advisory Commission under the terms of Item 14 of the Moscow Protocol. A precedent for the distinction between civil affairs in zones of active military operation and general policy in regard to a given area was established at the Moscow Conference in the case of Italy since the declaration on Italy48 in regard to a common policy does not and was not designed to affect in any way the question of civil affairs in a manner that would hamper active military operations. You should communicate to Mr. Molotov the text of the United States-Norwegian agreement for civil administration and jurisdiction in Norwegian territory liberated by an Allied expeditionary force.49 Since this agreement is identical with the British-Norwegian Agreement on the same subject and in order to save time you should be able to obtain from your British colleague the exact text, substituting “the United States of America” for “the United Kingdom” where necessary.

  1. Repeated to London as telegram 2012, March 16, midnight.
  2. See telegram 1939, Comea 37, March 9, 9 p.m., from London, vol. iv, p. 149, and footnote 95, post, p. 42.
  3. See Annex 3, “Advisory Council for Italy,” and Annex 4, “Declaration Regarding Italy,” to the Moscow Conference Protocol, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 758 and 759, respectively.
  4. For text of the Memorandum of Agreement, signed at London, May 16, 1944, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1514, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1581.