740.00119 EW/6–1945: Telegram

No. 227
The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State

top secret

3. To Grew, Acting Secretary of State, Washington, D. C. from Stettinius, UNCIO, San Francisco, California.

The following memorandum may be helpful in the preparation of a reply to the President’s memorandum of June 15 [9]:1

“It seems clear that it would be desirable to avoid the convocation of a full-fledged peace conference to deal with the major political problems that have arisen as a result of the termination of the war in Europe. A formal peace conference would be slow and unwieldy and ratification of the resulting document might be long delayed. On the other hand, a formal ‘peace conference’ limited to a few states such as the Big Four, would probably encounter much opposition on the part of the States not invited to participate. It is therefore suggested that the problems concerned to [sic] be dealt with on an ad hoc basis by a council of Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, the U. S. S. R., China and France with the inclusion of other states whenever problems of particular interest to them were under consideration.

The proposal might be discussed informally with the British and we could inform the Russians that we intended to raise this question at the meeting of the three Chiefs of State. The Chinese and French would be informed as soon as British and Soviet agreement is obtained.
At the Big Three meeting, we would endeavor to obtain Soviet and British agreement as to the time and place of the meeting as well as to some of the items that would be placed on the agenda of the first meeting. It would probably not be advisable to hold a meeting in a capital of the participating powers. Brussels or Vienna might be suitable. The latter would probably be favored by the Russians as they would there be able to make their own security arrangements and [Page 284] communication facilities. The meeting should be held as soon after the Big Three meeting as the necessary preparations can be completed.
Each of the Foreign Ministers should be accompanied by a high ranking deputy capable of carrying on the work of the Council in the absence of his chief.
Each Foreign Minister should also be accompanied by a small group of experts and advisers; but it should be agreed that the major portion of the work of preparation of the various agreements [is] to be undertaken by the respective Foreign Offices.
The procedure to be followed by the Council should be adapted to the particular problem under consideration. Whenever the Council was considering a question of particular interest to a state not represented, such state could be invited to send a representative to participate in the discussion of that question. This should not, however, preclude preliminary consideration by the Big Five of any question without the participation of other states. In some cases the Council might find it advisable to convoke a formal conference of the states chiefly interested to deal with a particular problem such as, for example, the conclusion of a treaty of peace with Italy. In other cases such as the settlement of the Yugoslav and Italian frontier, the Big Five might reach agreement in consultation with Italian and Yugoslav representatives and embody the results in a treaty to be concluded between Italy and Yugoslavia only.

The European Advisory Commission could probably be liquidated as soon as the control machinery is in effective operation in Germany and Austria.

The various control commissions, being chiefly operating organizations, would not conflict with the Council of Foreign Ministers, but the latter could, of course, consider any question referred to it by their Governments.

In view of the position of the Soviet Government that Poland and Yugoslavia should be included in the Reparations Commission if France were to be included the inclusion of China may be essential in order to avoid a similar Soviet position with respect to the Council of Foreign Ministers. By including China the Council would consist of all the permanent members of the proposed security council2 and this would furnish a basis for excluding other countries from full membership. It might also be well to relate the creation of the Council to the liquidation of the EAC. It would, in any event, probably be desirable to avoid undue emphasis on the establishment of the council as an organization but rather to allow its functions to become clear as they evolve in practice. [“]3

  1. Document No. 150.
  2. Of the United Nations.
  3. In connection with the genesis of the Council of Foreign Ministers, see also Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 70–71; James F. Byrnes, All in One Lifetime (New York, 1958), pp. 288–289.