American Minutes of an Informal Meeting of the European Advisory Commission 34
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4. Sir William35 then dropped a bombshell into the meeting. He asked the following question:—
Sir William continued that approximately six months had elapsed since the British initiated this request that the Allied Governments should be informed as to the contents of the Instrument of Surrender. Sir William stated that Mr. Eden told him that if something was not done by the Commission that he, Mr. Eden, would have to act independently and notify the Allied Governments as to the situation.
The American Ambassador said that:
“I very much object to breaking away from the common action of the three Powers although I do support the proposal that we consult with the other Allied Governments. With industry and a little luck, we might get all our work done by the end of the next week so as to approach these Governments.”
Mr. Gousev made the following statement:
“We are all interested in speeding up this work. We are all interested in completing the work before us. That is why I cannot understand why consultation with the Allied Nations involves such hurry. The main task of the work of this Commission is not consultation with the Allies. However, I do not want to underline the importance of this question. But I do not understand why it has such political sharpness. And I cannot understand why the British Government want to act independently in this question. Of course, they have the right to do so but it means that the Governments of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. would also act at their discretion. This would not be the common interest.”
Sir William replied:
“I wish Mr. Gousev would look at it from our viewpoint. He said he cannot see why it is so important. I would ask him to remember that it is now six months since we made this proposal first.38 In the first paper before the Commission we accepted it. In spite of repeated attempts on our part, it has not been possible to give any answer. All the while we have been under considerable pressure from the Allied Governments. The last few days we have been approached by the Belgians, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Norway jointly,39 [Page 62]who again invited attention to the vital importance of the question we are considering. These Governments expressed grave apprehension that decisions might be taken which are vital to them without consulting them. I am not sure but I believe this communication has also been addressed to the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A.
“H.M.G. does not want to take separate action. However, unless we can send this communication forthwith, he feels no alternative except to apprise the Allied Governments.”
Mr. Gousev replied that he remembered that the U.K. agreed that before the Allied Governments should be notified we should agree among ourselves and should work out the Instruments. At the first stage when we hadn’t determined our common general lines, we did not know how to address the Governments because we had no lines worked out. That is why he thinks it not possible to count the time of circulation of proposals from last January.
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- Meeting held at Lancaster House on Wednesday, July 5, 1944, at 3:30 p.m. These minutes were prepared by Brig. Gen. Vincent Meyer, Ambassador Winant’s Chief Military Adviser, and were transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 17219, August 1, 1944, from London (not printed).↩
- Sir William Strang, the British Representative to the European Advisory Commission.↩
- The Instrument of Surrender is printed on p. 256.↩
- Reference here is to the agreements then under discussion in the Commission regarding zones of occupation in Germany and control machinery for Germany. For the text of the protocol between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union regarding the zones of occupation in Germany and the administration of “Greater Berlin”, signed at London September 12, 1944, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 3071, printed in United States Treaties and Other International Agreements, vol. 5, pt. 2, p. 2078. For text of the agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on Control Machinery in Germany, signed at London November 14, 1944, see TIAS No. 3070, printed in 5 UST 2062. For correspondence regarding the discussions in the European Advisory Commission relating to these agreements, see pp. 100 ff.↩
- See memorandum by the United Kingdom Representative dated February 7, p. 45.↩
- For the substance of the memorandum presented simultaneously to the American, British, and Soviet Governments, see telegram Neter 11, June 10, 4 p.m., from the Chargé to the Netherlands Government in Exile at London, p. 58.↩