The British Embassy to the Department of State

The Soviet Ambassador left with Sir Alexander Cadogan41 on March 25th an Aide-Mémoire regarding consultation about policy [Page 666] with regard to liberated France. (The text of this Aide-Mémoire is attached.)

Sir Alexander Cadogan said that, speaking without having had time to consult the papers, he felt sure that the interpretation placed by the Soviet Government on Mr. Eden’s remarks42 must be based upon a misunderstanding. He recalled that the French question figured on the agenda of the European Advisory Commission, although the Commission had not been able to embark on discussion of it. He made it quite clear to Mr. Gousev that, in the opinion of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and in accordance with the decision of the Moscow Conference,43 the policy to be pursued would have to be agreed between the United States Government, the Soviet Government and His Majesty’s Government.

The Soviet Ambassador is being informed that Mr. Eden confirms Sir Alexander Cadogan’s remarks. It is being explained to him that the discussions to which Mr. Eden referred in the House of Commons have been proceeding for the purpose of reaching agreement upon a modified version of the “basic scheme” as circulated and discussed at the Moscow Conference, and that it is hoped that this new scheme will shortly be available for consultation with the Russians in the European Advisory Commission in accordance with the Moscow decision. It is also being pointed out to Mr. Gousev that as France lies within the theatre of operations of the Combined Anglo-American Command, it is only natural that His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government should seek to agree on the directions which will have to be given to General Eisenhower before embarking upon further consultation with the Soviet Government.


Soviet Aide-Mémoire Dated March 25th, 1944

According to the statement published on March 22nd by the Ministry of Information of Great Britain, Mr. Eden, replying to the question whether an agreement has been reached with the French Committee of National Liberation respecting the administration of French territory as and when liberated, said that he could make no statement on this subject and that the whole question is now under [Page 667] examination by the British Government and the United States Government and added: “Whatever we say and do, we shall say and do together”. Thus it appears from Mr. Eden’s statement that the two Governments, British and American, will act together on the question of administration of French territory after its liberation, thus having ignored the participation of the Soviet Government in this affair. Meanwhile according to the Moscow Conference’s decision, this question was transmitted to the consideration of the European Advisory Commission in which representatives of the three Governments, not only of Great Britain and the United States, are participating. Thus Mr. Eden’s statement is in contradiction with what was agreed between the three Governments at the Moscow Conference.

In connection with the above-stated, the Soviet Government would like to receive an explanation from the British Government on the following: whether Mr. Eden’s statement should be understood as meaning that the Soviet Government must have no relation to the question of the administration of the territory of liberated France: in view of that does not Mr. Eden’s statement about joint actions on that question of only the two countries, Great Britain and the United States of America, mean that the British Government do not have in mind to act on that question jointly with the Soviet Union?

The Soviet Government is interested also how such a position of Mr. Eden’s concords with the Moscow Conference’s decision concerning the transmission for consideration of the European Advisory Commission of “basic scheme for the administration of liberated France” worked out and submitted by the British and American Governments to the consideration of the Moscow Conference.

  1. British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Reference to remarks in the House of Commons on March 22, 1944. See telegram 2380, March 23, from London, p. 657.
  3. See Protocol of the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, November 1, 1943, point 6 of the Agenda, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 751; and annex 5, ibid., p. 760.