740.00119 EW/2103

The Department of State to the British Embassy


Reference is made to the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire of February 3, 1944 concerning the desire of some of the United Nations to participate in the preparation of the terms of surrender to be imposed upon Germany and its satellites, and adverting in particular to notes bearing on this question received by the British Government from the Netherlands, Belgian, and Czechoslovak Embassies.

The Department of State has also received similar notes from these Embassies.9 The substance of its replies to the Netherlands and Belgian Embassies10 was, it is understood, conveyed orally to Mr. [Page 51] Hayter of the British Embassy by Mr. Jones of this Department. A reply to the Czechoslovak note has now been made,11 and the pertinent portion thereof is quoted below for the information of the British Embassy:

“I have likewise taken cognizance of your expression of your Government’s view that because of the vital interest of the Czechoslovak Republic in the armistices to be concluded with the enemy states, notably Germany and Hungary, the Czechoslovak Government is entitled to ask to be given the opportunity to participate in the preparation of their terms. That various of the United Nations, particularly those which are neighbors of enemy states, or which are numbered among their principal victims, have a vital interest in the surrender terms imposed upon Germany and its satellites was recognized by the American, British, and Soviet Governments in the terms of reference of the European Advisory Commission. It is provided therein that, at the discretion of the Commission, the Governments of other United Nations may be consulted when matters especially affecting their interests are under discussion. Although it is for the European Advisory Commission itself to determine at what juncture and in what form consultation is to take place, I am confident that the Czechoslovak Government will be given an opportunity to examine and comment upon the terms of surrender recommended by the Commission for imposition upon Germany and Hungary.”

It will be observed from the foregoing quotation that this Government recognized that other United Nations have interests which are affected by the nature of the surrender terms to be imposed upon the enemy powers, and considers that provision has been made for an opportunity to present those interests. Under paragraph four of its terms of reference, the European Advisory Commission is authorized to invite representatives of the governments of other United Nations “to take part in” its meetings when it so desires, and this provision is considered by this Government to furnish an effective, and at the same time elastic, method for implementing the policy just stated since, acting under the directives of their respective governments, the members of the Commission are in a position to decide in each instance as to the participation by each of the United Nations in the preparation of surrender terms. In so doing, it may be assumed that the Commission will bear in mind the confidential nature of the subject, and will avoid unnecessarily wide dissemination of information concerning the exact terms of surrender.

With regard to the view expressed in paragraph three of the British aide-mémoire under reference, namely, that agreement from the United Nations directly concerned to the presentation of the terms in their names should be obtained, this Government agrees as to the desirability, whenever circumstances permit, of seeking their approval. It is not believed, however, that formal agreement by certain [Page 52] of the United Nations should be required as a prerequisite to the presentation of the surrender terms. It is readily conceivable that there will arise certain divergencies of view with respect to the document among the various United Nations, and regardless of whether they are of a major or minor character, their differences of opinion might lead to lengthy discussions and consequent delay in formulation of the instrument of surrender. It was precisely to avoid such a contingency that this Government in its draft paper, entitled “Provisions for Imposition upon Germany at Time of Surrender”,12 now before the Commission used throughout the wording “the United Kingdom, the U.S., and the U.S.S.R. acting in the interests of the United Nations” rather than the phrase “on behalf of the United Nations” employed in the corresponding British draft.

It may be presumed that the Commission will invite representatives of the appropriate United Nations to take part in its meetings when matters especially affecting their interests are under discussion, and it is considered that thereby the just claims of the different United Nations for an opportunity to safeguard their vital interests in so far as they are involved in the terms of surrender are adequately met.

  1. Note D.8248, No. 5951 from the Belgian Embassy December 3, 1943, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, p. 398. A similar note from the Netherlands Ambassador, December 3, 1943, not printed. Note from the Czechoslovak Ambassador, January 27, 1944, not printed; the pertinent portion thereof read as follows:

    “The Czechoslovak Government avails itself of this opportunity to emphasize the vital interest of the Czechoslovak Republic in the armistices which will be concluded with other enemy states, notably with Germany and Hungary, which border on Czechoslovakia and have occupied Czechoslovak territory since 1938. In the view of my Government this interest entitles them to ask that on the occasion of these armistices they may be given the opportunity to participate in the preparation of their terms in such a way that they can safeguard the interests of the Czechoslovak Republic.” (740.00119 EW/2103)

  2. Memorandum to the Belgian Embassy, February 22, 1944, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, p. 401. A similar note to the Netherlands Ambassador dated February 22, 1944, not printed.
  3. Dated February 26, 1944, not printed.
  4. Memorandum by the Working Security Committee, January 6, 1944, designated document WS–10a, p. 104. WS–10a was circulated in the European Advisory Commission as a memorandum by the United States Representative, numbered E.A.C. (44) 4, dated January 25, 1944.