740.00119 European War/2434

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Bohlen) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: Although in our memorandum of April 1 we have told the President that on the basis of his memorandum of that date regarding a similar suggestion from the British we would tell the Soviet Ambassador here that this Government does not favor any modification of the principle of unconditional surrender for the Axis satellite states, I believe you might wish to ask the President to reconsider his position on this question. Military operations in areas involving the satellite states are developing so rapidly that I feel if the United States should be the one to impose any objection to flexibility in [Page 590]regard to their surrender favored both by the British and Soviet Governments, we might be put in the position of responsibility for stiffened satellite resistance.

I feel quite certain that the Soviet Government would not understand and would indeed resent our refusal to accede to a request put forward by both the British and Soviet Governments. The Soviets would be very apt to regard it as evidence that we wish to have their armies encounter maximum resistance from the satellite countries. I venture to suggest, therefore, that this question be reopened with the President perhaps in the form of a personal note from you to him a suggested draft of which is attached.35

Charles E. Bohlen
  1. The note was sent on April 4; printed infra.