Lot 60–D 224, Box 59: Stettinius Diary

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

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Conversation with Gromyko

At 10:20 I called Gromyko to tell him Sir Alexander had been ordered to Quebec to spend the evening there and that he hoped to be back tomorrow. I suggested that as a consequence we call off the 10:30 Joint Steering Committee meeting unless he had something he particularly wanted to bring up. I suggested that we not meet again until Cadogan returned unless he wanted to talk to me privately.

I then told Gromyko that I had talked to Hull relative to the informal formula which had been developed late yesterday and that while Mr. Hull was not in a position to give it final approval that it looked good to him and that he thought it had in it the basis of agreement. I explained to Gromyko that we could not approve it in any final way until we had discussed it with the President. I then said that as our curbstone opinion of it was favorable, I wondered if he would not think it appropriate to sound out his own Government on it tentatively. I also told him that Cadogan could not yet speak but probably would be able to on his return, after talking to Eden in Quebec. During the conversation we decided it would be well for the Formulation Group to continue working on the other points which had not been couched in final language. I then told him that I would have to say something to the press this morning and that I was thinking something along the line that we are making good progress but that it would take a few more days to complete the talks. Gromyko promised that he would consult his Government on the possible compromise.

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Conversation with Mr. Hull

I called Mr. Hull early in the morning and told him of Cadogan’s midnight call about going to Quebec. Mr. Hull again said that he thought it was a mistake for Cadogan to go and for that conference to get into political matters but that he agreed that we would not make a further point of the matter.

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I then inquired what he thought of the informal formula which had been worked out late yesterday and which Mr. Dunn had taken to him last night. He thought off hand that it looked good but said that he would have to consider it from the complete setting before he could give final judgment and also talk to the President on it. He said he had not heard from the President about going to Quebec and did not feel in any event that he should go. This comment was made after I had reminded him of the President’s promise to send for him or someone else in the Department if the conference went into political matters.

I asked the Secretary’s advice as to whether we should immediately inform the President of the voting development and the compromise which we had been studying informally. He thought we should do so and I arranged promptly to send such a wire to the President in Quebec.85

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Conversation with Harry Hopkins

Harry Hopkins called me just before 11:00 in the morning and I reported to him the recent development, particularly on the voting question. I also told him that Cadogan was going to Quebec this morning and that Eden was arriving there late this afternoon. I told him about our proposed press statement.86

He then told me it was expected that the Quebec conference would break up Monday night and that probably the Prime Minister and the President would go to Hyde Park Sunday night and that if Eden went probably Hull would be invited up. He told me he was not going to Quebec but would go to Hyde Park. He thought Churchill had gotten a little stiff about Cadogan and that his visit and also Eden’s did not have too much significance in view of the quick termination of the meeting. He thought our idea of sending a wire to bring the President up to date was excellent.

Then, to my amazement, Hopkins told me that an answer had been received at the White House from Stalin before the President had left for Quebec. He was not familiar with what it contained but promised to get it for me but he did say that the President thought it said “No” with a loud bang but that he personally had not had the same impression.

Later Hopkins called me back to say that he could not find the Stalin wire in the map room and that it had been taken to Quebec. He said he had sent a message up there to get it and would let us [Page 811] have it as soon as he had an answer. We received the message later in the afternoon.87

Conversation with Mr. Hull

Later in the morning I called Mr. Hull to tell him I had heard that the Quebec conference would be over on Friday and that the two top men would probably go to Hyde Park alone for several days and that possibly Eden and he would be invited there. I told him Hopkins was going to Hyde Park. I also informed him that Cadogan was definitely leaving on the 11:30 plane and that we were going to put out a press release stating that we were getting along well, that our papers are being reviewed by our Governments, that Cadogan was being called to Quebec on other matters and that it would, therefore, take us a few more days to finish up.

I then told the Secretary how upset I was to discover that a reply from Stalin on the voting procedure had been received by the White House several days ago and that we had never been told about it. The Secretary said he was used to this type of thing and I replied that I guessed I was young and inexperienced. I explained that we did not yet know whether the reply referred to the Secretary’s talk with Gromyko or to the wire which the President had sent to Stalin.

Meeting with Mr. Hull

I called on Mr. Hull at 3:30 to tell him about the contents of the message from Stalin, which was on the “X” matter and which was discouraging. It said that while they were not going to press it further at Dumbarton Oaks they are going to bring it up later, perhaps at the general conference. Mr. Hull was discouraged over the reply and said that if it were brought up at the general conference a showdown would have to take place at that time. He agreed completely with my thought that no matter what happened on the voting issue we would have to produce some memorandum of agreement in these Conversations, perhaps leaving certain open items for consideration at the United Nations conference. We agreed that if the Soviets continued to be sticky about questions such as the “X” matter that it was going to be difficult to work things out.

The Secretary agreed with my plan of recessing tomorrow and Saturday and thought, if possible, that it would be good for me to get away to the country for a day or two.

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Today was the low point of the Conversations. It looks as if an impasse has been reached and we cannot tell whether we will be able [Page 812] to work out of it to a successful conclusion or whether the conference will blow up. I am much encouraged by remarks made by old hands at international negotiations, such as Joe Grew and Ed Wilson, who said there never has been a conference which did not look as if it had completely broken down at one stage or another.

  1. Telegram of September 14, not printed.
  2. For statement by the Under Secretary of State, released to the press on September 14, see Department of State Bulletin, September 17, 1944, p. 292.
  3. Telegram of September 7, p. 782.