740.00119 European Advisory Commission/62

The First Secretary of the British Embassy (Hayter) to the Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Matthews)

Dear Mr. Matthews: As I promised during our conversation today, I enclose a copy of an extract from the British Delegation’s record of the discussion at the Moscow Conference on the subject of policy in liberated territory.29

The Foreign Office’s understanding of what passed during this discussion was that while Mr. Eden originally raised the question as a general issue expressed in the form of a draft declaration, he suggested at the outset that the various particular problems which would arise as the Allied countries were liberated should be referred to the European Advisory Commission. Mr. Hull’s subsequent remarks seemed to imply that Allied policy would vary widely in regard to the various Allied Governments in exile. It was the Secretary who first proposed that the broad question should be turned over at once to the European Advisory Commission, and the British Delegation did not get the impression from his remarks that he contemplated restricting the European Advisory Commission to consideration of the British draft declaration, which was known to be unacceptable in its present form to Mr. Hull. Mr. Molotov summed up the discussion by stating that the question should be considered in the light of the circumstances obtaining in each individual country, and it was the British Delegation’s impression that the question would be considered by the European Advisory Commission on this basis.

However this may be, it is clear that in view of developments in Yugoslavia and Greece and of the Polish-Russian situation it would now be hopeless to try to agree upon any Three-Power declaration of general application. On the other hand, Mr. Eden thinks it very desirable to try to reach agreement upon the policy to be followed in the individual Allied countries. The action taken at Moscow which [Page 15]resulted in concerting Anglo-American policy in Italy with the Soviet Government30 was most useful in removing misunderstanding and friction, and has convinced His Majesty’s Government that it would be very wise to try to clear in advance with the Soviet Government Anglo-American policy in regard to Allied countries within the Anglo-American operational sphere. Moreover, the best chance of reaching agreement with the Soviet Government about policy in Poland and Yugoslavia seems to be frank consultation with them about Anglo-American policy in territories liberated by Anglo-American operations. Mr. Eden attaches great importance to this point, with which I understand you are in agreement. It was with this thought in mind that the Foreign Office suggested that the civil affairs agreements with Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands should be cleared with the Russians in the European Advisory Commission; this seemed the appropriate way to secure the agreement of the Soviet Government to our policy in those countries.

Mr. Eden feels that it is important to keep these agreements as drafts until we have given the Soviet Government an opportunity to express their views on policy in the three countries concerned, and that if we were to conclude them before policy in liberated territories has been discussed in the European Advisory Commission our action would not be in harmony with the spirit of the decisions at Moscow and might give the Soviet Government the impression that we were returning to the idea of separate spheres of interest in Europe.

The Foreign Office do not feel that the agreements are operational in character and therefore unsuitable for discussion in the European Advisory Commission. The agreements lay down certain general principles to govern the administrative and legal relationships between the Allied forces and the local authorities and population, which together make up the broad policy to be applied.

In the light of the Department’s views which you explained to me at our earlier conversation, the Foreign Office suggest as an alternative procedure the delivery to the European Advisory Commission not of the text of the Norwegian Agreement but of a note in the terms of the draft which I left with you today.31 Meanwhile they have communicated the text of the Agreement to the Soviet Government for their information; and they feel that if the Soviet Representative on the Commission should ask for the actual text to be considered there, we should be well advised to agree to this.

To sum up: the British Government attach great importance to an early discussion of policy in liberated territories in the Advisory [Page 16]Commission in accordance with Item 14 of the Moscow protocol.32 They very much hope that you will agree to proceed as suggested above. If not, I think that they would like to know the State Department’s suggestions for implementing Item 14 of the Moscow protocol, and their views on the general question of the extent to which the Advisory Commission should concern itself with policy in liberated territories in Europe.

Yours sincerely,

W. G. Hayter
  1. Not printed; 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.
  2. See Annex 3, “Advisory Council for Italy,” and Annex 4, “Declaration Regarding Italy,” to the Moscow Conference Protocol, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 758 and 759, respectively.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Item 14 of the Secret Protocol of the Moscow Conference, entitled “Policy regarding Allied territory liberated through the advance of the Allied forces”, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 754.