740.00119 European Advisory Commission/33: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

131. I appreciate the guidance given me in the Department’s 8108 December 23, 8 p.m.,18 concerning the paper presented by Mr. Eden19 in Moscow on policy regarding Allied territory liberated through the advance of the Allied forces and will bear it in mind if the paper is presented by the British to the Commission.

However, I am not sure that the British intend to present this paper at all, and in any case they do not intend that consideration by the Commission of questions dealing with policy in liberated territories shall be confined to the examination of this particular document.

Strang20 has been kind enough to give me a written statement of the matters which the British consider to have been already referred to the Advisory Commission. In this statement, the following passage, dealing with the question under reference appears: [Page 9]

“While Mr. Eden originally raised the question at Moscow as a general issue, expressed in the form of a draft declaration covering all liberated territories he suggested at the outset of the conference that the various problems which would arise as Allied countries were liberated should be referred to the Commission. According to the record of the discussion taken by the UK delegation,21 Mr. Hull then enlarged on the different treatment which would be required in the various countries concerned and seemed to imply that Allied policy would vary in regard to the various Allied governments-in-exile. He suggested that it would be for the members of the London Commission to review the facts and conditions in each country. It was Mr. Hull who proposed that the question should be turned over to the European Advisory Commission, and the UK delegation did not get the impression from his previous remarks that he contemplated restricting the European Advisory Commission merely to the consideration of the British draft declaration. M. Molotov22 then summed up the discussion by stating that the question should be considered in the light of the circumstances obtaining in each individual country. It was the impression of the UK delegation that the question would be considered by the European Advisory Commission on this basis, namely that the Commission would examine the situation in each country in turn. The countries concerned would be Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Greece. The functions of the European Advisory Commission would be to make recommendations covering bread [broad] lines of policy. It would not concern itself with the detailed planning of civil affairs.”

There was enclosed with the statement an extract from the UK record of the conference. In summing up your remarks on this question, the extract said that he (i.e. Mr. Hull) “thought that the three Governments would think pretty much alike, but would need time to work out suitable plans. He thought Mr. Eden agreed that until the machinery of the London Commission had been set up there was no organization competent to deal with this question and with many other major and minor questions which called for discussion. This conference had not got time to work it out, and it should therefore be turned over to the London Commission.”

In summarizing Mr. Molotov’s remarks, the extract states that:

“He agreed with Mr. Hull’s proposal that the matter should be referred to the London Commission, and thought this should be one of the first questions to be taken up by it. The Committee would have a big job to do.”

In view of the above, I think that we may find the British bringing into the Commission various questions dealing with liberated areas on which broad general agreement of the three Governments is required. [Page 10]And if this occurs, I do not think that we should evidence at the outset a flatly negative a priori attitude toward all such discussion. Each question can be treated on its merits; and if in any individual instance we have reason to believe that discussion in the Commission would be undesirable or inappropriate, there is nothing to prevent our saying so frankly.

As far as the Norwegian agreement23 is concerned, the difficulty in bringing about a speedy acceptance of this and other similar agreements on our part appears to lie not in the proposed content of the agreements themselves but in differences between the British and ourselves over the proper channel for their submission to our authorities. I understand fully the Department’s views on this subject and strongly hope that the talks with Bovenschen will contribute to a removal of the difficulties.

I do not understand, however, why this situation should preclude the Advisory Commission from at least taking note of the general tenor of the proposed agreements. Such a formality, as I am sure you understand, would not make them binding on our Government, but would merely mean that they would come to us, for executive action, after being favorably noted by a body on which the Russians are represented. It has been indicated to us here that the British desire to bring the agreements before the Commission is not connected with, and need not influence, the question of the place and manner through which they are eventually considered for approval or rejection by our authorities, but arises out of regard for relations with the Russians. The British wish to see these agreements made known in this manner in a preliminary stage to the Soviet Government in order that there may be justification for demanding that the Russians similarly take us into confidence with respect to their plans for treatment of civilian populations and collaborations with local authorities in territories they may occupy in Eastern Europe. The British feel that if we present the Russians only with faits accomplis on these subjects, as we were obliged to do in the case of Italy,24 we can only expect to learn of their actions and policies in Eastern Europe in a similar manner. This is plainly a political consideration of the most weighty significance, and one which—if we are not in agreement with it—should at least be treated on its merits and not subordinated to the questions of [Page 11]technical procedure which the proposed submission of the Norwegian agreement to our Government has raised.

In these circumstances, I see no objection to the clearance of this, document through the Commission, provided that my assent to its notation or approval there is qualified by the reservation that such action does not influence the question of the manner and channel of its presentation for executive action by our authorities.

Since this is one of the first questions which the British wish to bring before the Commission, I should appreciate an early clarification of your views in the light of the above.

Winant
  1. Ibid., 1943, vol. i, p. 812.
  2. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Sir William Strang, Assistant Under Secretary of State in the British Foreign Office and British Representative on the European Advisory Commission.
  4. For the American delegation’s record of this discussion, see the Summary of the Ninth Session of the Tripartite Conference of Foreign Ministers at Moscow, October 27, 1943, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 650.
  5. Vyacheslav Mikhailovieh Molotov, Soviet People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  6. Draft Memorandum of Agreement Respecting the Arrangements for Civil Administration and Jurisdiction in Norwegian Territory Liberated by an Allied Expeditionary Force, not printed. For the final version of this agreement as signed on May 16, 1944, by representatives of the United States and Norway, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1514, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1581. An agreement in identical terms was concluded on the same day between the United Kingdom and Norway. For a discussion of the negotiation of these agreements, see Pogue, The Supreme Command, pp. 79–80, 139–140.
  7. For correspondence regarding the overthrow of the Fascist regime in Italy and the Italian armistice, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, pp. 314 ff.