740.00119 EAC/7–1245

No. 233
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State


Dear Mr. Secretary: On the occasion of the meeting of heads of Governments you may find it useful to have a brief summary of the work of the European Advisory Commission over the last eighteen months, and some account of its accumulated experience. I believe you would find it helpful to read over the attached Summary Report.

Over many months I have felt that sooner or later the time would come to consider whether the European Advisory Commission had any further function to perform, since its work has been confined in practice to German and Austrian questions. It has always seemed to me that the Commission could not continue to work side by side with the Control Council which is to be set up to run Germany and which will have the widest knowledge and complete responsibility for what is done in Germany. It would not be practicable to have a separate body sitting in London and negotiating agreements on policies which are conducted on a day-to-day basis by the Control Council. I have assumed that the heads of Governments will wish, as soon as the Control Council has begun operation, to make provision for closing out the work of the European Advisory Commission, although they might wish to use the experience of the members of the Commission in carrying out your plan for a Council of Foreign Ministers.

I cannot submit my Summary Report on the work of the European Advisory Commission without expressing my appreciation for having been given the responsibility of taking part in a body concerned with coordination of Allied policies in a critical field of common concern.


John G. Winant
[Page 292]
[Enclosure 1]

The Work of the European Advisory Commission (January 1944–July 1945)


a summary report

1. Origins.

One of the principal decisions of the Moscow Conference of October 1943 was to set up a European Advisory Commission to work on the principal political problems arising from the termination of the war in Europe.1 At the time of the Teheran Conference the three heads of Governments appointed their representatives on the Commission, which held a first informal, organizing meeting on December 15,1943, and its first formal meeting on January 14, 1944. In November 1944 the three Governments invited the French Provisional Government to join the Commission as a fourth member. Since its inception the E. A. C. has held 95 discussion meetings and 10 meetings for signature of agreements.

2. Range of Responsibility.

At the Moscow Conference the U. S. and Soviet Governments maintained that the E. A. C. should deal with problems arising from the surrender of the Axis countries in Europe. The U. K. Government urged that it should deal with any political problems arising out of the war in Europe, including problems of liberated countries. The terms of reference laid down for the E. A. C. were broad, but in practice the U. S. and Soviet views have prevailed, as the Commission has dealt almost exclusively with problems concerning Germany and Austria. The E. A. C. did substantial work on the terms of Bulgarian surrender, but did not deal with the surrender terms for Finland, Rumania and Hungary, which were negotiated in Moscow. The E. A. C. has not been authorized by Governments’ to consider problems of liberated areas.

3. Method of Work.

Under its terms of reference the E. A. C. was designed to be a recommending body. In practice it has been a negotiating rather than an advisory organ. Its discussions have been conducted, and its decisions reached, on the basis of detailed instructions from the Governments. None of the agreements recommended by it has been rejected or amended by the member-Governments.

Because the Commission has been a negotiating body its pace has varied. Speed of work has depended upon all three, later four, Governments [Page 293] being prepared to negotiate on a particular subject at a particular time, and on their being willing to make the adjustments and mutual concessions necessary to reach an agreed policy. The Commission has had periods of intensive work, and other periods when, either through indifference on the part of some one of the Governments or because of its reluctance to undertake commitments at a particular time, the Commission was unable to reach decisions. The E. A. C. has never failed to meet when any one Government had any matter to bring forward.

In general, the U. K. Government has made the most sustained effort to make the E. A. C. a center for arriving at agreement on major policy toward Germany. The support given by the U. S. Government has been uneven, partly because of the difficulties of formulating, within the Government, a unified policy towards Germany. Since joining the E. A. C. on November 27, 1944, the French Delegation has shown a desire to facilitate four-Power agreement and to avoid raising issues which might impede the work of the E. A. C. The Soviet Delegation has at times worked hard and cooperatively to reach agreement on a limited series of subjects, but it has never shown the range of initiative of other Delegations. Its ability to negotiate effectively has been restricted by rigid instructions and by an apparent absence of instructions over several extended periods.

Continuous contact of the four Representatives has enabled them to consider informally a range of problems considerably wider than that of the agreements which have actually been formalized, and to acquaint their Governments with the views of the other Governments on many aspects of the treatment of Germany. Messages exchanged with the State Department number approximately nine hundred and fifty. Mutual confidence, built up over many months of face-to-face dealing, has facilitated the removal of misunderstandings which might otherwise have led to serious difficulties in the work of the Allied coalition. The E. A. C. has perhaps been as useful in the misunderstandings which it has forestalled or removed as in the actual agreements which it has drafted.2

. . . . . . .

5. Organization of the European Advisory Commission.

The Commission consists of four Representatives, one appointed by each Government. Each Representative is assisted by Political, Military and other Advisers as directed by his Government. The U. S. Representative has had the assistance of a Political Adviser provided by the Department of State, and of Military, Naval and Air [Page 294] Advisers appointed by their respective Services. Final responsibility for the work of the U. S. Delegation rests with the Representative.

The E. A. C. has made use of a Secretariat, consisting of a Secretary-General and a small staff of interpreters and clerks, with its headquarters in Lancaster House, which is also the meeting-place of the Commission. Expenses, which have been negligible in amount, have been shared equally between the three, later four, Governments.

6. Work of the U. S. Delegation.

In addition to advising the U. S. Representative on matters under negotiation, the U. S. Joint Advisers have conducted a large amount of work in preparation for negotiation. In the absence of agreed directives from Washington concerning post-surrender policy toward Germany, the U. S. Joint Advisers surveyed the field in which Allied agreement would be useful in the immediate post-surrender period and prepared 36 draft directives, designed to provide agreed policy guidance to the Allied Commanders-in-Chief in Germany, and 5 draft agreements. After consideration by the appropriate authorities in Washington 24 draft directives and the 5 draft agreements were transmitted, with slight revisions, to the U. S. Representative, for circulation and negotiation in the Commission. In carrying on their work the Joint Advisers have held 76 formal meetings, many of which were also attended by U. S. civilian experts in London and by officers of the U. S. Control Groups for Germany and Austria, as the Advisers dealt with subjects of concern to them. In this work the Joint Advisers made full use of policy documents and studies made available to them by their respective Departments and Services. To assist in their work the Joint Advisers organized a Planning Committee, consisting of junior members of their staffs, which has held approximately 150 meetings. Through their initiative in the preparation of directives, the Joint Advisers helped to keep to the fore both in London and in Washington the need for developing a consistent U. S. policy for Germany.

Although the draft U. S. directives have not been negotiated in the E. A. C., principally because the Soviet Delegation, despite repeated promises and assurances, has never been instructed by its Government to proceed with their negotiation, they have met a number of important needs. Their circulation in the Commission has served to inform the other Allied Governments of U. S. policies toward Germany and has had a strong influence on the policies of those Governments. The draft directives also provided the U. S. Control Group for Germany with its first systematic guidance for preparatory planning and were incorporated, in large measure, in the General Directive for Germany, which, on instructions from Washington, was circulated to the E. A. C. for information, in May 1945.

[Page 295]

[Editor’s Note.—A second enclosure, giving a statistical report on the work of the Commission, a list of documents signed, and a partial list of papers circulated, is not printed.]

  1. See Department of State Bulletin, vol. ix, p. 308.
  2. For extracts from paragraph 4, omitted here, see documents Nos. 405 and 415.