740.0011 Stettinius Mission/28: Telegram

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

3069. Deles 7. From Stettinius. As we anticipated before our departure the primary problem affecting Anglo-American relations with which the British appear to be preoccupied is the question of the functioning and scope of the European Advisory Commission. This was the principal question which Mr. Eden took up with me on Tuesday61 and was also the matter uppermost in the minds of Cadogan62 and Strang during our talks with them. The Department has since the Commission’s inception been aware of the very much broader field ascribed to it by the British than by us—and the British now, in the light of the Russian position with respect to the Anglo-Norwegian agreement and the French directive,63 insist that the Russians share [Page 29] their point of view. In reply to our question as to the relationship between the EAC and the overall World Security Organization64 we were told that the EAC should under its terms of reference concern itself with the short term clearing up of Europe after cessation of hostilities rather than long term peace and security arrangements. It was admitted, however, that under this conception the Commission “might grow into the instrument for the control machinery for Europe”. The British envisage it gradually broadening its field and becoming the focus for tripartite forward planning in both the pre-hostilities and post-hostilities periods though they admit that the bulk of its work will be concerned with the latter. We have, of course, fully set forth the point of view of the Department and our Joint Chiefs of Staff that questions affecting the operational period should not come before the Commission.

I have been given by Strang at my request an informal memorandum65 outlining the British views. The memorandum asserts that there was no intention at Moscow to confine the Commission’s functions to the post-hostilities period and cites the specific questions referred to it of Civil Affairs for France and treatment of other Allied liberated territories as confirmation of problems which “would manifestly arise in the operational period”. The memorandum continues: “Our conception was that the Commission would be in the nature of an Anglo-American-Soviet clearing house for certain European questions, as well as a Three Power Planning Organization for questions more specifically connected with the termination of hostilities. We had hoped that in addition to the questions enumerated above, the three Governments would from time to time refer to the Commission other questions, including those of a general European character, for which forward planning by the three powers would be desirable. As an example may be quoted the proposal to set up an European Inland Transport Organization.66 The British suggestion that the necessary studies in this matter should be carried out by a special committee under the aegis of the EAC has not been accepted by the United States Government”.

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As to the question affecting liberated areas, the memorandum sets forth that broadly speaking the British view is that this question “was indubitably referred to the Commission by the Moscow Conference; that it was contemplated that the Commission would review the situation as regards each country individually; that the unwillingness of the United States Government to bring the Norwegian, Netherlands and Belgian agreements before the Commission not only tends to stultify one of the main objects for which the Commission was established, namely to secure that certain general European questions should be brought under three power discussions, but may well cause a serious setback to collaboration between the western democracies and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Government share the British view that the Moscow Conference decided that questions affecting liberated territory should be considered by the Commission; and they have stated that they see no reason why this procedure should be sidetracked. If the United States Government maintain their unwillingness to allow these questions to go to the Commission, the Soviet Government will, among other things, have an excuse for excluding ourselves and the Americans from any say in the policy in Allied territory liberated by Soviet forces, e.g. in Czechoslovakia, as regards which the Soviet Government are at present in negotiation with the Czechoslovak Government.68 According to the recollection of the United Kingdom delegation, it was precisely in order to ensure that the question of the administration of eastern European Allied territories no less than of western European Allied territories should be dealt with on a tripartite basis that the question of the policy as regards Allied liberated territory was referred to the Commission. The matter is one of first-class political importance.[”]

Prior to our departure from the United States the Department took up through our Embassy at Moscow the question of the Norwegian-American agreement. It would be helpful to us to know what reply may have been received from the Russian Government. It would also be helpful to us to know whether in the light of the Soviet attitude and the pressure of events there has been any change in the feeling of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department that questions pertaining to civil affairs problems in the period prior to the termination of hostilities has undergone any modification.

As to the current business of the Commission it is felt that some progress is at last being made, though even with the approach of [Page 31] general agreement on the surrender terms for Germany69 Strang estimates that it will require at least another month for actual completion of an agreed text of surrender terms. (He does not feel that this need delay parallel consideration of the French Civil Affairs directive treated in Deles No. 570 provided the Russians agree.) In all our talks I have continued to urge the importance of concluding the negotiations and recommending an agreed text of surrender terms to the three Governments at the earliest possible moment. I have also emphasized the importance of working out some procedure which will speed up consideration of future questions referred to the Commission.

Any views which you may wish us to communicate to the British with regard to the Advisory Commission or comment on the above would be helpful. We shall further explore with the British the general question of the scope and functioning of the Commission and be prepared, we hope, to submit recommendations upon our return. We do not wish to delay, however, any decision which the Department have in mind with respect to the specific problem of the Norwegian agreement (and presumably similar Dutch and Belgian agreements) or the French Civil Affairs matter. [Stettinius.]

  1. April 11.
  2. Sir Alexander Cadogan, British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. For the text of the draft directive of March 15, 1944, to General Eisenhower regarding the administration of civil affairs in France at the time of liberation, see telegram 836, April 8, 3 p.m., to Moscow, vol. iii, p. 675. For a summary of the steps leading to the formulation of this draft directive, see telegram 835, April 8, 2 p.m., to Moscow, ibid., p. 673. For text of Soviet Foreign Commissar Molotov’s note of May 17, 1944, approving the draft directive, see telegram 1754. May 17, 9 a.m., from Moscow, ibid., p. 687. For further correspondence regarding the concern of the United States over civil administration of France immediately following liberation from the Germans, see ibid., pp. 634 ff.
  4. See section entitled “Preliminaries to the establishment of an international organization for the maintenance of international peace and security”, pp. 614 ff.
  5. Dated April 12; not printed.
  6. For correspondence regarding the establishment of a European Inland Transport Organization, see vol. ii, pp. 743 ff.
  7. For correspondence regarding the interest of the United States in the agreement between the Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Government in Exile at London regarding the administration of liberated Czechoslovak territory, signed in London, May 8, 1944, see vol. iii, pp. 515 ff. For text of the agreement, see Hubert Ripka, East and West (Lincolns–Prager Limited, London, 1944), p. 77, and War and Peace Aims of the United Nations, vol. ii, January 1, 1943–September 1, 1945, compiled and edited by Louise W. Holborn (Boston, World Peace Foundation, 1948), p. 767.
  8. For correspondence regarding the negotiations in the European Advisory Commission on the question of surrender terms for Germany, see pp. 100 ff.
  9. Dated April 13, not printed.