840.811/7–2545

The Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs ( Riddleberger ) to the Secretary of State 2

Memorandum to the Secretary

Subject: Free and unrestricted navigation of international inland waterways.

The Sub-Committee on inland waterways met on July 27 at which time the American and British representatives presented draft proposals, copies of which are attached herewith.3 While the British and American drafts are cast in somewhat different form, they both incorporate essentially the same ideas and agreement can no doubt be quickly reached on them providing the Soviet member was willing to go along.

The Soviet representative presented no memorandum and stated that his delegation had not expected this question and was not sufficiently informed to present a statement. He said it would be necessary to obtain more information from his Government before the Soviet views could be made known to the Committee. Furthermore he doubted that the Committee could extend its mandate to include the Kiel Canal and the “Straits” without referring the question to the Foreign Ministers. To this objection the United States member pointed out that the Straits had been the subject of a lengthy discussion in the Big Three meeting4 and that the Kiel Canal was in any case under the jurisdiction of the Control Council for Germany; the Sub-Committee had been established after this discussion and therefore we thought that these subjects could be properly included. [Page 454] The British member agreed. The Soviet representative said that he would take up these points with Mr. Molotov. The remainder of the discussion was devoted to explanatory comment by the American and British representatives on their respective drafts, largely in reply to questions by the Soviet representative. The Sub-Committee adjourned with a promise by the Soviet representative to discuss the question again when his delegation had received the information it required which he hoped would be by July 29.

The Soviet representative has not called back on this question and our efforts to get in touch with him have been fruitless. I have the impression that the Soviets do not desire to discuss this question at this time and I doubt if we shall make any progress unless pressure is applied to the Soviet delegation at a higher level.

  1. Printed from the ribbon copy, which is unsigned.
  2. For the United States proposal, see documents Nos. 758 and 1373, post. For the British proposal, see documents Nos. 759 and 1375, post.
  3. See ante, pp. 256258, 303305.