740.00119 European Advisory Commission/37: Telegram

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

303. The British Embassy has likewise again raised with the Department the matter of submitting the Anglo-Norwegian agreement to the European Advisory Commission (your telegram no. 131, January 6, 10 p.m.).

In addition to the other factors involved, you will note from paragraph B of the letter received from the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (Department’s telegram no. 226, January 8 [9], 3 p.m.) that they are of the opinion that the Commission should keep strictly within the letter and spirit of its directive (terms of reference) and, in particular, avoid discussion of 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.” The substance of the Anglo-Norwegian agreement deals primarily with questions of administration and jurisdiction in Norwegian territory during the phase of active military operations there. Its discussion by the European Advisory Commission would consequently seem to be ipso facto contrary to the wishes of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. You should be guided by their wishes and by the Department’s telegram no. 8210, December 29, 7 p.m.33 should the British continue to insist on bringing this question before the Commission.

You may wish to make it clear that our Government has no desire to keep the agreement from the Russians; on the contrary, the Department informally indicated to the British Embassy that it would be happy to see the Anglo-Norwegian agreement communicated to the Soviet Government. We have now been informed that the British have, in fact, communicated the text of the agreement to the Soviet [Page 17]Government for their information. Since the agreement was negotiated some months ago directly by the British with the Norwegian authorities during which time it was communicated neither to the Russians nor to us officially the Department fails entirely to understand your reference to the desire of the British to see the agreement made known “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 collaboration with local authorities in territories they may occupy in Eastern Europe”. The Anglo-Norwegian agreement is, in our view, (though the British hold otherwise) of an operational nature. It can hardly be described as in a “preliminary stage” and it seems doubtful that the Russians would so consider it.

For your information, in this general connection, the British Embassy has indicated 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” and for this reason the British do not wish to submit to the Commission their proposed declaration on liberated areas which was, in the Department’s view, the principal basis for discussion of item 14 of the Moscow secret protocol. The Embassy has asked what would consequently be the Department’s suggestions for implementing item 14. Our feeling is that if the British Government, which originally placed that item on the agenda, now desires to withdraw its proposed declaration there is no need for “implementing item 14” at all. At any rate we must reiterate that the Anglo-Norwegian agreement, concerned as it is largely with military arrangements for the period of active operations during the military phase of the liberation of Norway, is not, in our view, a proper document for discussion in the European Advisory Commission and does not fall within the terms of reference under which that Commission was set up.

Hull