The British Embassy to the Department of State
A copy of the Department’s Aide-Mémoire of February 26th, concerning the desire of certain United Nations to participate in the preparation of terms of surrender to be imposed upon Germany and its satellites, was sent to the Foreign Office, who have now made known their views on it to His Majesty’s Embassy, with the suggestion that these comments be passed to the Department of State.
The Foreign Office are not in agreement with the suggestion conveyed in the closing sentences of the quotation from the Department’s reply to the Czechoslovak Embassy, and developed in paragraph 3 of the Aide-Mémoire, that the European Advisory Commission alone is competent to determine at what juncture and in what form consultation with the Allied Governments will take place. The Foreign Office are, however, in full agreement with the State Department that the European Advisory Commission offers at present the most convenient channel through which to associate Allied Governments with the formulation of surrender terms for Germany. But the existence of the European Advisory Commission should not in their view preclude the United Kingdom, United States or Soviet Governments from themselves consulting other Allied Governments on this subject, nor divest them of the responsibility of ensuring that the latter are given adequate knowledge of surrender terms for Germany or proper opportunity to comment thereon.
The Foreign Office would also welcome further clarification of the fourth paragraph of State Department’s Aide-Mémoire. They share the view that formal agreement by certain of the United Nations is not required as a prerequisite to the presentation of the surrender terms, if “certain of the United Nations” here denotes those countries, e.g., the Latin American and Middle Eastern countries, who are not [Page 55] directly concerned with the German settlement. They consider, however, that formal agreement is an essential prerequisite in the case of those United Nations whose forces are engaged in active hostilities against Germany and must accordingly comply with the terms of any Armistice, or who have been the victims of German aggression and accordingly have special interests which must be covered in the Armistice. They recognise that consultation with such Allied Governments may reveal divergencies of view in regard to the terms to be imposed on Germany, but they do not regard this as an adequate reason for dispensing with such consultation. The right course in their opinion is to bring any such divergencies of view into the open now and to resolve them prior to the surrender of Germany. If they are left they will manifest themselves all the more forcibly at that time and imperil harmonious relations between the Allies at the precise moment when it will be of the utmost importance that a united front should be maintained. Provided consultation with Allied Governments is initiated at a sufficiently early stage, the Foreign Office cannot see that any inconvenience on the score of delay will be incurred.
The Foreign Office are glad to learn that the views of the two Governments coincide on the desirability of the European Advisory Commission associating other Allied Governments with its work on surrender terms for Germany, and the United States representative will receive full support from the United Kingdom representative in pressing for an early decision on the most suitable method of achieving the desired result.