740.00119 EAC/117: Telegram

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

2018. Personal to the Secretary. Since I got news of your return I have been working on a draft summary of the general situation here which I hope will be helpful to you.

I would like you to consider this cable as a first installment, limited to the situation in the Advisory Commission.18

[Here follows a summary of the status of negotiations in the European Advisory Commission.]

With respect to the satellite countries, we have now received for our guidance materials for surrender terms with respect to Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria.19 These materials, which are practically identical for all three countries and are substantially the same as those first sent us in connection with Germany, envisage straight terms of unconditional surrender, designed to give the military authorities of the three major Allies all necessary powers over the peoples and authorities in those countries following the termination of hostilities. They make no reference to the two outstanding practical problems which are uppermost in the minds of people in those countries at this stage in connection with termination of hostilities; namely: What they are to do with the German troops by whom their territories are now occupied and to what extent they may hope to escape the hardships of similar occupation by the Russians in case they do surrender. Our unwillingness to treat these questions in drawing up surrender terms is in line with our policy of unconditional surrender, which calls on the enemy countries to place themselves in our hands, and leaves for future settlement all decisions and commitments affecting their subsequent treatment.

I shall of course proceed to seek agreement in the Commission along these lines, as soon as the Russian delegate is willing to undertake such discussion. But I think you may want to give attention to the possibility that while we are proceeding—or waiting to proceed—on this basis in the Commission, many major questions of Government, territory or international position affecting the future status of the [Page 584] satellite countries may actually be in process of predetermination to one degree or another by means of preliminary feelers and exchanges of various kinds in Eastern Europe. People in all those countries have noted with the greatest interest that the exchanges between the Finns and the Russians20 have revolved around the realities created by the presence of German troops in Finland and by the proximity of Russian troops to the Finnish border. If they get the idea that the Russians would be prepared to enter into similarly concrete discussions with them, their interest in entertaining our terms of unconditional surrender—except possibly by prearrangement with the Russians—would be slight. You may wish to note in this connection my 2017, March 12, Comea 40.21

I realize that this situation may have been clearly taken into account in Washington, and that my instructions may form only part of a general picture. But there did seem to us here to be a danger that unless the implementation of our unconditional surrender policy in the Commission were very carefully coordinated with diplomatic action taken elsewhere, the net practical effect might be to deprive us of the chance to make our voice heard in many of the vital political settlements affecting the future of these countries; and I thought it might be helpful to you to have this picture as we see it.

  1. Ambassador Winant was United States Representative to the European Advisory Commission. For correspondence regarding United States participation in the work of the European Advisory Commission, see pp. 1 ff.
  2. For correspondence regarding the negotiations by the Allies of an armistice with the Hungarian Government, signed at Moscow, January 20, 1945, see vol. iii, pp. 847 ff. For correspondence regarding the negotiations leading to the signing of an armistice with Rumania at Moscow, September 13 (as of September 12), 1944, see vol. iv, pp. 133 ff. For correspondence regarding the negotiations leading to the signing of the armistice with Bulgaria at Moscow, October 28, 1944, see vol. iii, pp. 300 ff.
  3. For correspondence regarding the interest of the United States in the Allied Armistice with Finland of September 19, 1944, see vol. iii, pp. 556 ff.
  4. Not printed; it transmitted press reviews. Comea was the series designation lor telegrams from London dealing with matters before the European Advisory Commission.