740.00119 (Potsdam)/5–2446

No. 525
Briefing Book Paper
top secret

Russian Participation in European Economic Organizations


It is recommended that we endeavor to obtain agreement from the Soviet Government to participate fully in the Emergency Economic Committee for Europe (EECE), European Coal Organization (ECO), the European Central Inland Transport Organization (ECITO), and the United Maritime Authority (UMA), including designation of representatives to cooperate in the day-to-day activities of these organizations.


The Soviet Union has declined to participate in three temporary advisory organizations established to meet urgent economic problems in Continental Europe, namely, EECE, ECO, and ECITO. Negotiations leading to the establishment of these agencies were undertaken in the fall of 1944. Every effort was made to obtain Soviet participation. Failing this, the three bodies were finally set up during May 1945. Likewise, the Soviet Government has indicated an unfavorable attitude toward UMA.

The normal economic relationships of the liberated areas have been disrupted by the war. Provision of the minimum essentials of life and the beginning of industrial reconstruction require cooperation among the Allies and the control authorities in enemy countries. Indigenous resources must be developed and utilized. Coal must be mined and shipped to start the wheels of industry turning. If goods are to move in necessary quantities, the transport system of the whole continent must be coordinated. The new agencies have an essential task to perform. But without Soviet participation, their effectiveness will be limited. For if the Soviet Union does not join in these organizations, it is unlikely that Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia will participate. Furthermore, the absence of nonparticipating governments will make it extremely difficult to deal with problems relating to Germany and Austria, and no consideration of European economic problems, particularly coal and transportation, can ignore the enemy countries.

The United Maritime Authority is an interim organization established to assure the orderly employment of available shipping to the maximum common benefit during the period following the fall of [Page 793] Germany and not more than six months after the general termination of hostilities. Accession to the Authority carries no long-range post-war implication or obligations. Neutral (Sweden) as well as United Nations have joined. The Soviet Union has not hitherto been invited to join, but has manifested indications of an unfavorable attitude. However, it would appear to be of general advantage for the Soviet Union to accede to the Agreement1 since this will facilitate the handling of Soviet requirements for shipping space in excess of the capacity of the Soviet fleet (a substantial part of which consists of vessels transferred under Lend-Lease), and will also simplify the handling of several related problems, particularly with respect to the immediate use of vessels falling into United Nations’ hands through the events leading up to and including the surrender of Germany. Even if the Soviet Union decides not to join the UMA, it is most desirable that an effort be made to remove the evidently unfavorable attitude toward that Authority held in Moscow by an explanation of its real nature and purposes.

The reasons given by Russia for her nonparticipation in these various organizations have varied in each case. With respect to the EECE, she took the position that no economic group, even of a temporary emergency nature, should be set up until after the conclusion of the discussions at San Francisco on the Economic and Social Council. With respect to the ECO, she insisted that reparation deliveries should have priority over any discussion of other uses of German coal. Objection was also made to a proposal that members should furnish the ECO with essential information and that their representatives should be authorized to act for them without delay. Principally due to disagreement on the issue of Polish representation, the Soviets have not participated in recent discussions concerning the ECITO. Their delegation in London, however, has informally indicated that the present agreement2 has substantially met the objections which they had to earlier drafts. In respect to UMA, the unfavorable attitude of the Soviets apparently has been due to concern that they might not be able to maintain their position in negotiations relating to problems with which they have had little experience, and also due to the fact that the Polish Government-in-Exile was one of the original signatories of the Agreement on Principles by which UMA was established.

  1. Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1722; 61 Stat. (4) 3784.
  2. For the text of the agreement, as signed on September 27, 1945, see Executive Agreement Series No. 494; 59 Stat. (2) 1740.