Lot 60–D 224, Box 59: Stettinius Diary

Extracts From the Personal Diary of the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius)

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Luncheon Meeting with Gromyko and Cadogan

At lunch today I had another long and intimate conversation with Gromyko and Cadogan. I suggested that I thought the time had arrived when we should begin to formulate a definite agreement on the method of approving the Dumbarton document and presenting it to the United Nations in calling together the United Nations conference. I told them I was expressing my own personal views in an informal way and that I hoped that when they took this up with their Governments they were qualified in that way and mate it clear that I was not expressing official views of my Government.

They seemed interested and asked me to present my personal views in detail. I said I thought we should take steps to have our four Governments approve the document before we disbanded Dumbarton Oaks and that it should be agreed that at the conclusion of these talks the document would be presented to the other United Nations. I added that I hoped this could be done by the end of September and that simultaneously with the presentation, an invitation to the United Nations conference could be extended to the other countries for a date some time before November 1, probably around October 25. I said [Page 779] I thought the invitations should make clear that we propose that the Dumbarton document should be used as the basis of discussion at the full dress conference. I further suggested that the conference should be held at some suitable convenient place in the central part of the United States. (I did not mention French Lick or any other specific place to them.) This last suggestion as to location brought forth a considerable amount of good-natured repartee back and forth. For instance, Cadogan said “Well, the climate in England in October is the best of all”. He added that we had started in Moscow, continued in Washington and should end up in London. Gromyko interjected the statement that the climate in Moscow in October was much better than it was in London in that month. I explained the matter further in general terms and I think they understood the political advantage of having the meeting in the interior of the United States at the time suggested. Gromyko specifically indicated that he thought his Government would be impressed with that feature. I again made clear that I was speaking personally and not in the names of Mr. Hull or the President.

They then asked me a number of questions. Cadogan asked about the size of the delegation I had in mind. I said I thought that we would require a delegation of from ten to twelve people in order to meet our special requirements. He said that they might have three delegates plus experts but that he could understand why we would need a larger group. Cadogan agreed that when we finished our work it would be practically impossible to hold the document from the other United Nations and from the public for long but indicated that if it were made public by the end of September it would undoubtedly cause a debate in Parliament at that time even though it was not then being submitted to Parliament for official ratification. He was not apprehensive that this would prejudice approval but thought we should know we would be running that risk. In answer to his inquiry I said this would not concern us. Gromyko inquired at what level the conference would be held and I said I assumed it would be at the level of Foreign Ministers and that Mr. Hull would be the chairman of our delegation. Cadogan added that he was certain Eden would wish to come. Cadogan estimated that such a conference would consume approximately three weeks. Gromyko expressed the opinion that this schedule would allow too short a time for the other United Nations to study the question but Cadogan disagreed. Gromyko did not express an opinion as to whether Molotov would be prepared to attend a meeting of this type and I did not ask him.

We then had a long discussion on the general progress of the Conversations viewed in the light of this morning’s Joint Steering Committee meeting. Gromyko seemed discouraged. He told me privately [Page 780] that he was ready to act on all matters. He put it this way, “I am 99% sure I could clean up everything except the voting procedure and this is a serious matter with us”. Cadogan and I both stressed to him that a document with this matter unsettled would be weak and Cadogan added that he thought in the event it was unsettled Eden would insist on the inclusion of a footnote making the British position on the question dear. This disturbed Gromyko. I explained to him that we would have trouble ourselves on this matter with the Latin American countries. After some little talk, Gromyko seemingly came around to the position that it was necessary to settle the voting question at this time and not refer it to a general United Nations conference.

I then asked whether he felt there was a possibility of agreement at this meeting on the economic and social council and he replied that he felt it should be settled at Dumbarton.

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Arranging for Gromyko’s Bedroom Conference with the President

After reaching my apartment late in the afternoon, I continued to mull over the present situation and came more and more to the conclusion that the voting question was the crux of the problem and that we had now reached the stage where we should call out our biggest and last remaining gun. It seems obvious to me that the success or failure of the conference depends upon this one point. I then telephoned Mr. Hull and after reporting to him in detail on the developments of the day, told him I had reached the conclusion that bold action was now in order on the major open point. I reviewed various possibilities of bring[ing] this to a climax, such as Hull phoning Molotov, the President sending a wire to Stalin, our requesting Harriman to see Molotov, or the President sending for Gromyko for a private talk. Mr. Hull immediately responded that he felt the most effective step would be to have the President see Gromyko, but warned that in presenting the matter to Gromyko, I should do it in a rather personal way, asking if he would be willing to discuss the matter with the President and not put it on the basis of the President sending for him. (My later talk with Gromyko carried out the Secretary’s instructions to the last letter. I obtained Gromyko’s full concurrence and his willingness to talk to the President.)

I then explained the whole plan to Dunn who gave it his full approval and encouraged me to carry it out promptly. I then called Harry Hopkins but could not reach him. He called me back in about ten minutes. I outlined to him the developments of the day and told him the plan I had in mind. He thought that in addition to the President talking to Gromyko that he should also send a cable to [Page 781] Stalin. I asked Hopkins if he could arrange the meeting at the White House and he said he would immediately go to the President’s office and tell him that there was a matter of great urgency which I wished to talk to him about on the phone. The President called me in about five minutes. We had a long conversation. I reported to him in detail on developments at the Joint Steering Committee meeting. I told him I was convinced that we could settle the remaining open items, such as the economic and social council question, and the international air force question, except that the Soviets were being stubborn and apparently were not willing to yield on any of these other points until the voting procedure issue was settled. I said that in my opinion once this matter was disposed of, I was confident that we could wind up everything else with flying colors in a few hours time. I told him I thought the time had arrived to use our big gun on this question and ran over with him the several alternatives which I had discussed with Mr. Hull. After considerable discussion, he said, “Why not call in Gromyko?”, and then added that he had a press conference at 10:30 in the morning but could see him at noon. I told him that it was important that it be done between 5 o’clock this afternoon and 10 o’clock in the morning. The President said that he could not do it tonight but if Gromyko would not be offended, he would be glad to receive him in his bedroom tomorrow morning. I said I thought the Ambassador would be immensely impressed. He then asked me to bring him in at 9:30 in the morning. I asked him if he felt it would be best for me to be present. We left open the question of the President’s sending a wire to Stalin.

I then telephoned Gromyko immediately on the White House wire and told him I had just finished reporting to the President on the day’s developments at Dumbarton, and that the President had expressed a desire to talk with him on the question of voting, which he felt was of over-riding importance. I then asked him whether he would be willing to call on the President in order that he might have an opportunity of receiving directly from the President his views on this question. Gromyko immediately replied that he would, of course, be delighted, that he would be happy to see the President, and that he knew he was a busy man and he hated to take his time. After I told him that it would take only a few minutes he said that he would be very pleased to meet me at 9:30 in the morning for his meeting in the President’s bedroom.

I then called Mr. Hull and told him of the arrangements which I had worked out. Mr. Hull inquired, and I assured him that I had made it clear to Gromyko that we did not want him to do this unless he were willing. I told Mr. Hull that in addition to this meeting I thought the President should also send Marshal Stalin a wire. He [Page 782] agreed in principle. I then called Harry Hopkins and thanked him for arranging so promptly for the President to call me. I told him it had worked out very well and that I was bringing the Ambassador to see the President in his bedroom at 9:30 in the morning. Hopkins emphasized again the importance which he attached to sending a wire to Stalin, in addition, and suggested that I should have a draft of a wire in my pocket to show the President after he had finished talking to Gromyko. He also suggested that it would be wise for me to remind the President to tell Gromyko that he was planning to cable Stalin on the question. I then phoned Chip Bohlen and after telling him of the arrangements, asked him to prepare the appropriate wire to Stalin for me to have ready in the morning. Bohlen thought the entire plan was excellent. I then told Dunn of all of these developments and asked him to tell Pasvolsky.

I then called Sir Alexander and explained the whole plan to him and told him that I thought it would be best for him not to tell anyone except Lord Halifax until we could determine how it worked out. Sir Alexander told me that he was wiring London suggesting that their Ambassador in Moscow be instructed that the real significance of the voting procedure question is that Gromyko does not understand the issue and that he probably has not presented the facts to Moscow accurately, although Sir Alexander was not entirely clear apparently that Clark Kerr was being instructed to call at the Soviet Foreign Office and attempt to give them an accurate explanation of the voting issue.

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