500.CC/34a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)15

276. At the request of the Secretary the British and Soviet Embassies here on February 8 were informed16 that in accordance with point two (B) of the Secret Protocol of the Moscow Conference17 we are ready to start the study of the general framework and functions of an international organization for security and peace.18 The British and Soviet Governments were requested each to prepare a paper as a basis for discussion of the possible organization and were told that we will also prepare such a paper. We suggested that as each Government has its paper ready it be communicated to the other two Governments and arrangements will be made for the exchange of papers and preliminary discussions thereon to take place in Washington. We also stated that within a week or so we would have prepared in written form a sketch outline of the topics on which the views of the respective Governments would be necessary, accompanied by a brief statement [Page 623]of the general lines of organization which we tentatively have in mind.

We stated that we would keep the Chinese Government informed as the development of discussions went on, but would not ask at this time that the Chinese Government be brought into the discussions.19 We might, at a later time, raise this question for consideration by the other two Governments.

For your own information, we have, of course, given considerable study and consideration to the possible form of international organization, and will be ready as we go forward to discuss this question with the other two Governments, without, of course, committing our Government at this stage. We think it desirable, however, that each Government present in written form a general outline of its thinking on the subject before we begin preliminary discussions.

Stettinius
  1. Repeated on the same date as telegram 1043 to London.
  2. The Secretary’s message to the Embassies was conveyed orally by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn) and the Special Assistant to the Secretary (Pasvolsky). (Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, p. 256.)
  3. Point 2 (b) of the Secret Protocol signed at Moscow on November 1, 1943, at the Tripartite Conference of Foreign Ministers, recognized the desirability that representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union should conduct, in a preliminary fashion, an exchange of views on questions connected with the establishment of an international organization for the maintenance of international peace and security; for text of this document, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 749.
  4. Inquiries were made by the British Embassy on January 29 and February 1 concerning the time of beginning an exchange of views, the level at which discussions might be conducted, and their coverage. (Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, pp. 255–256.)
  5. According to memorandum of February 9 (not printed) by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn) to the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck), this position was taken at the request of President Roosevelt, who directed that after discussions had proceeded a little further, the Chinese President, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, should be apprised, thus obviating the possibility of the matter being discussed by too many persons and becoming publicly known.