740.0011 Stettinius Mission/41c: Telegram

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

3108. Esdel71 No. 35. For the Ambassador and the Under Secretary. As we see the functioning of the European Advisory Commission right now, (your Deles 7, Embassy’s 3069, April 14, midnight), it has the responsibility for drawing up and recommending the terms and conditions to be imposed upon Germany at the time of surrender, and the control machinery for putting them into effect in Germany and satellite states. The Moscow Conference itself set these duties forth as one of the Commission’s first tasks, in paragraph 3 of the terms of reference. From reports we have received from the Embassy, we are led to believe that the Soviet Government is not inclined to discuss any other subject in the Commission until the recommendations with regard to the German surrender are completed. This seems to be further borne out by the fact that although the Commission has before it, referred by the Moscow Conference, two other subjects, namely, the [Page 32]tripartite statement with regard to the attitude toward civil administration in the liberated areas, and (2) the formula on civil affairs in France, and while this Government has been at all times ready and willing to discuss either of these subjects in the Commission, the Commission has not seen fit to bring them up for even an exchange of views. The United States military, including the highest authorities, are definitely opposed to having matters come before the Commission which are involved in military planning and operations as they feel they cannot place themselves under the handicap of having to wait for possibly delayed decisions when they might have to act in extreme cases without being bound to submit to delay. They draw a sharp division between general and overall policy and actual military operations. The field of activity of the Commission, as applied to Germany and the satellite states and all of the tremendously important political and military decisions therein involved, appears to us to be an enormous task and one of the highest importance. The agreed decisions to be arrived at with respect to the coordinated policies and activities of the three Governments with respect to those areas are of basic and vital importance to the whole field of cooperation in the post-hostilities period. We would like to see the Commission devote itself to the speedy and satisfactory solution of these great problems in the first instance, and if the working out of these questions is found to be best done by the Commission or that form of body by the three Governments concerned, it might very well be possible to give the Commission expanded duties at a later time. We should first see how well it works and see how well the three Governments concerned work with it. We fully realize the difficulties it has had in organizing its work up to the present time, but even so we do not feel that it has yet made a record which entitles it to claim expanded scope.

With respect to the Norwegian, Netherlands, and Belgian agreements,73 it was our view that in the face of the disinclination expressed by the Soviet member to consider anything other than surrender terms for Germany at this time, we could obtain a more expeditious expression of view from the Soviet Government by presenting these instruments directly to it in Moscow which we have done in the case of the Norwegian agreement and are now doing with the other two. Because of the necessity for proceeding with planning with regard to those three countries, we have already, some week or ten days ago, informed the Soviet Government that it might become necessary for the Allied Commander-in-Chief to sign these agreements with the respective refugee governments very shortly, and of course that may have to be done without waiting for the Soviet comment if their response is delayed too long. It would, of course, be much more difficult to follow such procedure once it was before the European Advisory Commission.

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In the case of the proposed Czechoslovak civil affairs agreement,74 our information is that the British Government itself has already told the Czechoslovak Government in London that it does not desire to enter into such an arrangement. It is likely that we shall take the same position although we have not yet had a final response from the military authorities on this matter. One point to note here is that the Soviet Government in notifying us of the proposals they had received from the Czechoslovak Government on civil affairs administration did so directly through their Embassy in Washington. Of course, we have every intention of keeping the Soviet Government fully informed of the developments as we go forward with respect to general policy related to the operations in Western Europe.

However, our military authorities, as stated above, are extremely reluctant to have their hands tied by the necessity for waiting for decisions from other than the Governments under which the Combined Chiefs are operating. We consider that it is the problem of our two Governments to keep the Soviet Government fully informed without in any way hampering the responsibilities of our military officials.

  1. Series designation for telegrams to the Under Secretary of State during his stay in London.
  2. See bracketed note, p. 38.
  3. For text of the civil affairs agreement with the United States proposed by the Czechoslovak Government in Exile, see telegram Zecho 3, March 17, 1944, from the Chargé to the Czechoslovak Government in Exile at London, vol. iii, p. 515.