840.50 UNRRA/6–3044: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)

1595. During the consideration by the technical subcommittees of UNRRA in London on food, textiles, health and agriculture of bases of requirements to be recommended to the Committee of the Council for Europe and by that Committee to the Council, the Soviet representatives introduced identical resolutions providing in substance that priority in the dispensation of relief and rehabilitation should be accorded to countries which are members of the United Nations and particularly to those countries whose populations has taken an active part in the struggle against the common enemy and suffered to the greatest degree from enemy occupation. These resolutions were introduced on short notice and adopted by the subcommittees after the resolutions had evoked strong support from the Czechs, Norwegians and Yugoslavs except that in the case of the agriculture subcommittee, the matter was held in suspense at the suggestion of the British chairman with the support of the Netherlands representative. The bases [Page 338] recommended by the subcommittees will shortly be placed before the Committee for Europe.

The Soviet representative on the Committee for Europe, Mr. I. A. Iliuschenko, advised our Embassy in London, on a personal and confidential basis, that he had rigid instructions from Moscow to put forward this resolution; that he had no authority to agree to bases that did not contain this statement; and that he desired that no differences should appear in the Committee for Europe between the American and Soviet representatives. He also stated that the Soviet Government did not intend the resolution to reflect unfavorably on any country and thought that it would encourage resistance by promising a reward to those who had resisted. He also explained that the resolution was not intended by the Soviet Government to preclude UNRRA operations in ex-enemy territory but was simply intended, in this respect, to emphasize that the primary responsibility of UNRRA as a United Nations organization is to its members.

The Department feels strongly that we have no choice in this matter but to oppose the resolutions during their consideration by the Committee for Europe and, if necessary, by the Council. We have accordingly telegraphed instructions to the American Ambassador in London, requesting him to explain to Mr. Iliuschenko the reasons why we feel that these resolutions are opposed to our interests.

It is requested that in your discretion you take this matter up immediately with the appropriate Soviet authorities in an effort to bring about the withdrawal of the proposals. We are repeating to you the telegram which has been sent to London20 on this subject and which contains a full statement of the reasons why the Department is taking this position, which you are authorized to explain to the Soviet authorities. For your information, a similar resolution was introduced by the Soviet representatives at Atlantic City which resulted in a compromise provision which is set forth in Resolution 17,A,II,3 of the Resolutions on Policy of the first session of the UNRRA Council.

  1. Telegram 5160, June 30, 5 p.m., p. 335.