740.00119 European Advisory Commission/29: Telegram

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

226. I am somewhat disturbed to learn from your telegram no. 82, January 4, 10 p.m. that I apparently was unsuccessful in conveying to you through my telegram no. 8108, December 23, 8 p.m.,25 the American viewpoint regarding the scope and functions of the European Advisory Commission. You are quite right when you state that the British have an entirely different view of the Commission’s role. From the very beginning as I endeavored to make clear in the second paragraph of my no. 8108 the British Government has apparently conceived of the European Advisory Commission as in fact the instrument through which the post-war world organizations would be molded. This view was definitely not shared by the Russians or ourselves and I fail to understand why you believe that our endeavors to keep the Commission within the bounds specifically agreed upon should cause “indifference on the part of the Russians and thereby jeopardize the chances of obtaining effective Anglo-Russian-American cooperation for the immediate post-hostilities period”. I think if you will carefully read Annex 2 to the Secret Moscow Protocol you will see that it clearly and specifically defines the terms of reference of the European Advisory Commission. You will find nothing therein which would justify any British complaint if, to quote numbered paragraph 6 of your telegram “we refuse to join them in exploiting to the full the possibilities of the Advisory Commission to the establishment of which we have consented”. Paragraph 2 of that document states: “The Commission will study and make joint recommendations to the three Governments upon European questions connected with the termination of hostilities which the three Governments may consider [Page 12] appropriate to refer to it.” Paragraph 5 thereof stipulates: “The foregoing terms of reference will be subject to review by the three Governments if circumstances should arise which call for an extension of the membership and competence of the Commission.” There has been no suggestion on the part of any of the three Governments that even prior to beginning its labors the Commission’s terms of reference should be reviewed.

It has been apparent from the tone of the British press, presumably with official guidance, and from official statements by British authorities that Mr. Eden and his Government regard the jurisdiction of the Commission to be very much wider than that stated in the terms of reference. For example we learn from the Hansard reports that on December 17 Mr. George Hall, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in a debate on peace aims stated: “As far as the European situation is concerned I think it is generally admitted that it is impossible to bring about economic restoration in Europe if you leave out that great mass of population in the center. But is not that one of the questions which the European Commission which is now sitting in London is considering?”26 He further stated in reply to a question: “My understanding of the functions of the European Commission is that they are charged to consider almost any question with regard to peace problems which might arise when the war is over. I have no doubt that when it is required the position of Japan will also be considered in exactly the same way.”27 Statements such as the above are frankly disturbing in their implications and give to the Commission a latitude and field of endeavor far beyond anything agreed upon at Moscow. (You will note for instance from item 2 on the Secret Protocol agreement that representatives of the three Governments “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, the intention being that this work should be carried out in the first instance in Washington, and also in London and Moscow.”) In fact upon my return the President expressed to me his own anxiety lest the European Advisory Commission might tend to arrogate to itself the general field of post-war organization. I assured him that no such scope was intended. I believe that you will appreciate the possible long-term repercussions on American public opinion should the impression be gained that this Commission sitting in London is secretly building the new world. The implications with regard to American participation in and cooperation with such an organization are obvious. I am very glad to learn that you do fully share, as you indicate in your telegram, our concern in this regard: [Page 13] it is a fundamental and delicate aspect of our relationship to the Committee.

On the other hand I cannot feel as you apparently do that the scope left to the Advisory Commission is either unimportant or too narrow. It is specifically intended that the Commission shall draft provisions for imposition upon Germany and her satellites at the time of surrender and the complexity and importance of this subject in its political, military, and economic aspects, is, I think, obvious. (We hope to forward to you in the immediate future our own views on this specific subject for Germany).

The United States Joint Chiefs of Staff when they learned of the proposed establishment of the Commission were immediately apprehensive and have made an exhaustive study of its relationship during the period of military operations. I have now received from them the following communication:28

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff have carefully considered the question of military and naval advisors for the European Advisory Commission and have directed that adequate military and naval personnel be provided in London and Washington for liaison with the Commission.

“Based on military considerations, it is the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the following should be incorporated in the instructions to Mr. Winant and should provide the accepted procedure for handling matters of direct or indirect military concern which may arise in connection with the work of the Commission:

  • a. That the European Advisory Commission, from the U. S. point of view, is an important body, whose functioning and development should be guided and maintained in accordance with the U. S. concept as to the scope of its activities and the manner of its operation.
  • b. That the Commission should keep strictly within the letter and spirit of its directive and in so doing be particular to avoid problems relating to the conduct of military operations, and concerning civil affairs of liberated or enemy territories incident to such operations prior to the end of hostilities.
  • c. That the U. S. member of the Commission should be directed to present the studies and proposed recommendations of the Commission to the U. S. Government for approval by appropriate authorities before committing the United States in regard thereto.
  • d. That all matters referred by this Government to the U. S. member of the Commission either for study or for information, should be previously approved by appropriate U. S. authorities.
  • e. That the necessary organization and personnel should be provided to accomplish c and d above effectively.
  • f. That all questions involving military matters, directly or indirectly, be referred to and passed upon by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the theater commander, or the War or Navy Department, as appropriate.”

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff are consequently sending instructions to the military and naval advisors on the Commission in accord with their views expressed in the above letter. I believe that it is necessary to clarify immediately this question of the basic jurisdiction of the Commission, and am confident that you will be able to do so with your British and Russian associates.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 812.
  2. Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th series, vol. 395, col. 1900.
  3. Ibid., col. 1901.
  4. Transmitted by letter dated January 5, 1944, from Admiral Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, to the Secretary of State; not printed.