Truman Papers

Thompson Minutes

top secret

Stalin announced that the withdrawal of the Soviet troops in Austria had begun today. He said that they would have to withdraw for a distance of about 100 kilometers and that the movement would be completed by July 24.

Mr. Churchill said that he was very gratified that Marshal Stalin had so quickly carried out his agreement.2

The President said that he was also appreciative.

Stalin replied that it had merely been their duty.

The President called upon Mr. Eden to present his report of the morning meeting of the Foreign Ministers.

Mr. Eden then read the following report:3

“The Foreign Ministers this morning had discussed the following subjects:

“1. The Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe.

“The meeting had before it a memorandum submitted by the United States delegation on July 21st.4 This memorandum dealt with three questions:

  • “1. The observation of elections in certain European countries.
  • “2. Facilities for press representatives in liberated and former Axis satellite states.
  • “3. Procedure of Control Commissions in Roumania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

“The British delegation expressed agreement with the United States memorandum.

[Page 245]

“The Soviet delegation was unable to agree with the proposal in regard to the observation of elections. As regards the second and third questions it was agreed that these should be referred to a subcommittee for discussion.

“The Soviet delegation undertook to provide a memorandum showing recent improvements in the status of the British and American representatives on the Control Commissions in Roumania, Bulgaria and Hungary.5 The Soviet delegation also agreed to prepare a memorandum showing the changes which they felt desirable in regard to the procedure of the Allied Commission in Italy.6

“2. German Economic Questions.

“The Foreign Secretaries had before them a report by the Economic Sub-Committee.7 The United States Delegation asked for discussion on reparations to be postponed to a subsequent meeting and the Soviet Delegation asked that discussion should be confined to the economic principles which had been agreed by the Sub-Committee. The Foreign Secretaries therefore decided to discuss the agreed principles and not the principles in dispute or reparations questions. It was agreed that reparations should figure as the first item on the Agenda of the Foreign Secretaries for their meeting on July 23rd.

“Paragraph 10 was slightly amended and agreed to. The wording of paragraph 13 is still under discussion.

“Paragraphs 11, 12, 14, 15, and 17 of the principles were agreed subject to agreement on the points remaining in dispute. Paragraphs 16 and 18 were reserved.”

Mr. Molotov interrupted to state that this was not accurate as paragraphs 13 and 18 remained.

Mr. Eden pointed out that he had said that paragraph 13 was still under discussion.

Continuing the reading of his report Mr. Eden said that the only other questions discussed were:

“3. Removal as Booty of Allied Industrial Equipment Especially in Roumania.

“A general discussion took place on this question on the basis of a memorandum submitted by the United Kingdom delegation on July 19th.8 No agreement was reached and the question was adjourned for further consideration.

“4. Agenda for the Plenary Meeting.

“The Foreign Secretaries agreed to recommend as the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting the following items:

  • “1. The Western Frontier of Poland (resumption of discussion).
  • “2. Trusteeship (adjourned from yesterday’s plenary meeting).
  • “3. Turkey (adjourned from yesterday’s plenary meeting).
  • “4. Partial change of the Western Frontier of the Soviet Union (proposal of the Soviet Delegation).9
  • “5. Persia (memorandum submitted by the United Kingdom delegation on July 21st).10

“Certain further topics were proposed for remission to the Foreign Secretaries’ meeting on July 22nd. These were as follows:

  • “Cooperation in solving immediate European economic problems (proposal of U. S. delegation).11
  • “Directive from heads of Governments for the control of Germany in accordance with the principles heretofore agreed (proposal of U. S. delegation).12
  • “Tangier (proposal of Soviet delegation).13
  • “Syria and Lebanon (proposal of Soviet delegation).14

“It is hoped that it may be agreed to refer these at once to the Committee of Foreign Secretaries without discussion at this stage by the plenary meeting.[”]

The President asked if the agenda as proposed was accepted.

Stalin said he had no objection.

Churchill said he did not know what the proposals were with regard to Syria and Lebanon. These matters affected the British very much. Only British troops were involved. They were ready to withdraw from Syria and Lebanon; they did not want anything there. There was difficulty in doing this at the present time as their withdrawal would be followed by the massacre of the French. He would like to know what was proposed before he made up his mind.

Molotov said that what they had in mind was that the Government of Syria had approached the Soviet Government. The Soviet Government had addressed a note on this matter to the United States, British and French Governments.15

Churchill inquired if a communication had been sent to China.

Molotov replied that it had not. He went on to say that they would like to have some information in the matter since it affected Soviet interests. He thought that a preliminary discussion could be held in the Foreign Minister’s meeting.

Stalin said that the Soviets had made no proposals with regard to the removal of the troops of any country.

Churchill said he persisted that the discussion be opened up at the present meeting.

The President suggested that the first three of the four topics proposed for remission to the Foreign Ministers be referred to them [Page 247] and that the fourth question relating to Syria and Lebanon be discussed by the Heads of Government at the next meeting.

This was agreed to.

Western Frontier of Poland

The President said that he had already stated the case so far as the United States was concerned.16

Molotov said that the Soviet delegation wished to place another matter on the agenda of the meeting today. They wished to make a statement with regard to the prisoner-of-war camp in Italy in which Soviet prisoners were held.

This was agreed to.

Churchill inquired if the camp were under British or American control.

Stalin replied that it was under British control.17

Churchill said that he had nothing to add to his statement on Poland.18

Stalin inquired if his colleagues had seen the statement made by the Polish Government.19

The President and Churchill said that they had read the Polish statement.

Stalin then observed that all delegations maintained their views which meant that the question remained unsettled.

The President proposed to proceed to the next question.

Churchill inquired if this meant that nothing would be done.

The President said that the question could be brought up again at any time while they were in session.

Churchill said that they must hope that the matter would be ripe for discussion sometime before their departure. It would be very unfortunate if they parted with an important question like this unsettled, leaving the matter to be discussed in the parliaments of the world.

Stalin then suggested that they comply with the request of the Polish Government.

Churchill rejoined that this was totally unacceptable.

Stalin asked why.

Churchill said he had given a number of reasons the day before, the chief of which were:

that it had been agreed that boundaries should be determined at the peace settlement.
that it was not advantageous to Poland to take so much German territory.
that it would rupture the economic position of Germany and throw an undue burden on the occupying powers.
that they would have a grave moral responsibility for the transfer of enormous populations. The British had accepted in principle the transfer of the population from the east of the Curzon line.20 He was bound to state, however, that he considered that to transfer a population of from 8½ to 9 million people would be wrong.
that the data on this subject was not agreed. The British information was that from 8 to 9 million Germans were in this area. The Soviet delegation said that they had already gone. This should be cleared up. The British did not now have any opportunity to know what the facts were but until they had some evidence to the contrary they would have to use their own estimates.

Churchill said there were other reasons for opposing the proposal but he did not wish to burden the Conference with them now.

Stalin said he was not undertaking to oppose Mr. Churchill’s views on all the points he had raised but there were two that were particularly important. With regard to the question of fuel, he said that Germany would have fuel in the Ruhr and the Rhineland. There was no great difficulty for Germany caused by the loss of Silesia for Germany’s main base for coal was in the west.

The second important point was the question of the transfer of populations. There were neither 8 nor 6 nor 3 million Poles [Germans] in this area. There had been several call ups of troops in this area and many of these people had been killed. Very few Germans had remained there and those who remained had fled before the Red Army. He said that this could be checked. They can arrange for representatives of the Polish Provisional Government to come to the Conference where they could hear what they had to say.

Churchill said he hesitated to support this proposal because of the views expressed by the President the other day with regard to representatives of the Yugoslav Government.21

Stalin then proposed that they let the Council of Foreign Ministers which was being set up call in the Polish representatives and hear them.

The President said he did not object.

Mr. Churchill pointed out that the Council would not meet until September 1.

Stalin said that all three parties would be able to collect information by that time.

Churchill said that this would merely transfer the difficulty from this Conference to the Council of Foreign Ministers. They were in a better position at this meeting to decide the matter.

[Page 249]

Stalin said that under the Crimean decisions22 they were bound to hear the Poles on the question of frontiers.

Churchill inquired if the President agreed to send this whole matter to the Council of Foreign Ministers.

The President said that doing this would not prevent further discussion at this meeting. They could not agree now and he proposed that they take up something else.

Stalin said he continued to urge that they adopt the decision that the Council of Foreign Ministers should call representatives of the Polish Provisional Government to hear their point of view on the frontier question.

Churchill inquired how this could be decided in that way when it was a question which had to be decided at the peace conference.

The President pointed out that the Council of Foreign Ministers would not take a final decision. Their discussions would, however, be helpful.

Stalin said that this was correct.

Churchill said he would regret that this grave matter should be sent to a body of less importance.

Stalin rejoined that they should then invite the Poles to come to this meeting.

Churchill said he would prefer this because the matter was urgent. He added however that the Poles would ask for more than he could accept.

Stalin pointed out that if they invited the Poles, the Poles would not be able to accuse the Big Three of not hearing them.

The President said he did not see the urgency of the matter. It would be helpful to have a preliminary discussion and the matter would not finally be settled until the peace conference.

Churchill said that with great respect he wished to explain the urgency of the matter. If the settlement of the question were delayed the present local situation would be consolidated. Poles would be digging themselves in and taking effective steps to make themselves the sole masters of this territory. The longer the problem waited the more difficult it would be to settle it. They should at least see where they stood. There was no use of Poles coming to London when the great powers did not even know the broad outline of where they stood. Meanwhile the whole problem of food remained unsettled and the burden of feeding fell upon them. He pointed out that the British zone had the largest concentration of people and the smallest supply of food of any other zone. He suggested that they suppose that the Council of Foreign Ministers having heard the Poles could not agree, which was a possibility, and said that in this case there [Page 250] would be indefinite delay. The matter could not then be settled until there was another meeting of the Heads of Government. He was anxious to meet the practical difficulties which Stalin had put forward yesterday and which had resulted from the movement of troops. He was ready to suggest a compromise solution to cover the provisional period, that is, the period between the present time and the final conclusion of peace. He had in mind a line which might be drawn east of which the territory would be occupied by the Poles as a part of Poland. West of that line they would be working as agents of the Soviet Government which would be dealing with the zone in accordance with the agreement which had been reached with regard to the zones of occupation in Germany. He had had several talks with Marshal Stalin since the Tehran meeting and they were broadly in agreement on the line of the Oder.23 Of course the matter could not be so simply expressed. The difference between Marshal Stalin and himself was that the British did not want to go so far as the Soviets but they agreed that the Poles should have a large amount of territory. He said that when he referred to the line of the Oder he was using an expression which had been used when they had discussed the matter two years before. This was a very rough description but the British had a line which they were prepared to submit for the consideration of the Conference.

To adjourn until September and then have long discussions with the Poles would leave the matter unsettled by which time winter would be upon them. He thought that they should have some agreement on principle. He would like the Council of Foreign Ministers to meet and consider the matter on something like a general understanding between the three powers. Otherwise they would be left with all of their difficulties unsolved and after several months had elapsed a solution would be virtually impossible. He repeated that the line of the Oder was an approximate line and that it would be necessary to look at a map to see the line which the British had in view. He urged that they persevere in considering this matter. He inquired what would be the situation in Berlin if this matter were referred to the Council of Foreign Ministers. Berlin had obtained a portion of its coal from the Silesian mines. This was an important matter for the British. What would happen if the Governments were of the same opinion in September?

Stalin interrupted to say that it was Zwickau in Saxony from which Berlin drew its coal. He suggested that they let the Ruhr [Page 251] supply the coal, but he thought that Zwickau would be enough. He said there was good coal there and that they made briquettes out of brown coal.

Churchill pointed out he had only said that a portion of the Berlin coal came from the Silesian mines.

The President then read the pertinent portion of the Yalta Declaration concerning Poland’s western frontier.24 He said that this agreement had been reached between President Roosevelt, Marshal Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill. He was in complete accord with it. His point was that Poland had been assigned a zone of occupation in Germany and that there were now five occupying powers. They could agree to assigning a zone to Poland but he did not like the manner in which Poland had occupied a zone without any discussion of the matter between the three powers concerned. He appreciated the difficulties mentioned by Churchill and Stalin and he also had these difficulties in mind. The main problem was that of their occupation of Germany. That was his position yesterday, that was his position today, and that would be his position tomorrow.

Stalin said that if they were not bored with the question of frontiers, he would like to make a further statement. He also proceeded on the basis of the Crimean Conference decision. The exact character of this decision was that after the Government of National Unity was formed in Poland they were bound to receive the opinion of the Polish Government on the question of Poland’s western frontiers. There were two possibilities. One was to approve the Polish proposal and in this case it would not be necessary to call in the Poles. If they did not approve the Polish proposal, they could hear the Poles and then settle the question. He thought it was expedient to settle the matter now. As they were not in agreement with the Polish Government’s proposals they should hear their representatives. The view had been expressed that it would not be worthwhile to hear the Poles now. Then, they should send the matter to the Council of Foreign Ministers.

He wished to remind Mr. Churchill as well as others who were at the Crimea that the view held by the President and Churchill with regard to the western frontier and with which he did not agree was that the line should begin from the estuary of the Oder and follow the Oder to where the Eastern Neisse joins the Oder. He had insisted on the line of the Western Neisse.25 The plan proposed by President Truman and Prime Minister Churchill left the town of Stettin on the German side as well as Breslau and the region west of Breslau. [Page 252] (At this point Stalin walked around the table and showed the President this line on a map). The question to be settled was that of the frontier and not that of a temporary line. They could settle the matter and they could put it off, but they could not ignore it.

Churchill said he agreed that they could not settle the matter without the Poles, unless, of course, they accepted the Polish proposal.

Stalin said that with regard to the President’s observation that a fifth country had been brought in to occupy Germany and that he was displeased by the manner in which Poland had been brought in, he wished to state that if the President thought that anyone was to blame it was not just the Poles—circumstances and the Russians were to blame.

The President remarked that he agreed and said that this was what he had been talking about.

Churchill said he withdrew any objection to the Poles coming here and to their attempting to reach some kind of practical solution which could last until the matter was finally settled at the peace conference.

The President said he agreed that they could come here and be heard by the Foreign Ministers. He did not wish to go into the matter.

Stalin remarked that this was satisfactory.

Churchill said that the Foreign Ministers should then report to the Big Three.

This was agreed to.

Churchill inquired as to who would issue the invitation.

Stalin said that it should be issued by the Chairman.26

This was agreed to.


Molotov said that the Soviet proposals had been submitted in writing.27 He said that the statement made by the Soviet Delegation arose as a result of the San Francisco Conference. The trusteeship system had been settled in principle by the Charter.28 There was now the question of specific territories. It would not be possible to give a detailed consideration of the matter at this conference, but they could make some progress. He said that in the first place they could discuss Italy’s colonies in Africa and the Mediterranean. [Page 253] They had put forward two alternative proposals. These could be referred to the meeting of Foreign Ministers. Secondly, there was the question of territories under mandate from the League of Nations.

Eden inquired what ones he had in mind and pointed out that there were only a few left to England and France.

Molotov replied that it was a question worthy of the attention of the three Governments in accordance with the decision that had been taken at the San Francisco Conference. He said he thought they should also exchange views on the question of Korea.

Churchill said he was ready to exchange views on any subject, but if they reached no agreement there would simply have been an interesting discussion. His impression was that the case of the existing mandates had been dealt with at San Francisco.

The President then read Article 77 of the proposed Charter of the United Nations which deals with the question of trusteeships. He said that he took it that it was under section 2 of this Article that the Soviet Government wished to discuss this matter. He was ready to agree to refer it to the Foreign Ministers.

Churchill said they had agreed to the project brought up at San Francisco and nothing more. He said that if the matter was in the hands of the World Organization he doubted if expressions of opinion around this table would be the best way to deal with it.

The President said it was just as appropriate to discuss this matter as it was to discuss Poland or anything else.

Churchill observed that Poland was not being dealt with by the International Organization.

The President rejoined that it would be.

Molotov said that his point was that the matter should be given some preliminary consideration. The final decision should be taken at the peace conference, the same as the case of Poland.

Churchill said that their position had been settled secretly at Yalta29 and publicly at San Francisco and that it was not capable of being changed.

The President remarked to Churchill that the British position was amply protected by another Article of the Charter30 and that he did not see why it could not be discussed.

Molotov said that he had learned from the foreign press that Italy had lost its colonies once and for all. The question was “who had received them and where had this matter been decided.”

Churchill replied by referring to the heavy losses which the British had suffered and the victories which the British army had achieved by conquering alone all of the colonies of Italy except Tunis.

[Page 254]

The President inquired “all?”

Molotov pointed out that Berlin had been conquered by the Red Army.

Churchill replied that when he referred to the Italian colonies he meant those of Libya, Cyrenaica, and Tripoli. They had conquered these at a time when they were under heavy attacks and were without help, at least during the early part.

Stalin replied that no one denied this.

Churchill continued that they were not expecting gain out of this war. They had suffered terrible losses. Their losses had not been so heavy in human life as those of their gallant Soviet allies. They came out of the war, however, a great debtor to the world. There was no possibility of their regaining naval equality with the United States. During the war they had built only one capital ship and had lost ten or twelve. In spite of the heavy losses they had suffered, they had made no territorial claims—no Koenigsberg31—no Baltic states—nothing. It was, therefore, having acted with complete rectitude, that they approached the question of the Italian colonies. With regard to these colonies Mr. Eden had said he regarded Italy as having lost these colonies,32 but that meant that Italy had no claim of right to these colonies. This did not preclude the peace conference from considering that some of these colonies should not be [should be?] restored to Italy. He did not say he favored that proposal but it was entirely open for discussion in the Council of Foreign Ministers when they were dealing with the peace with Italy and, of course, in the final peace settlement as well. Having visited Tripoli and Cyrenaica, he had seen reclamation work done by the Italians which was of an admirable character. While they did not declare themselves in favor of restoration, neither did they say that it was precluded from discussion. At present the British held these colonies. Who wanted them. If there were claimants they should put forward their claims.

The President said that the United States did not want them nor did the United States want a trusteeship over them for ourselves. We had enough poor Italians to feed.

Churchill said that they had wondered if any of these colonies were suitable as a place of settlement for the Jews, but those with whom they had discussed the matter had not been interested. He said, of course, the British had great interests in the Mediterranean and that any marked alteration in the status quo in the Mediterranean would need long and careful examination.

Molotov said that the Soviet proposal[s] had been submitted in writing and that they would like the Conference to consider them.

[Page 255]

Churchill said he did not see what their Soviet allies wanted. Did Stalin wish to put forward a claim to one of these Italian colonies.

Stalin replied that they would like to learn whether the meeting would consider whether Italy would lose her colonies and that in such an event they could decide to what states they would be transferred for trusteeship. If it were premature to deal with the matter, they could wait.

Churchill said he had not considered the possibility of the Soviet Union desiring to acquire a large tract of the African shore. If that were the case it would have to be considered in relation to many other problems.

Stalin said that at San Francisco the Soviet delegation had stated that they were anxious to receive mandates for certain territories, in a communication to Secretary Stettinius.33

Churchill said that the British did not seek territory.

Stalin repeated that the question was who would receive the colonies.

Churchill said they would have to decide if they should be taken, as they had a right to do, and then to decide to whom they would be assigned to under trusteeship. This question belonged to the discussion of the peace treaty. The ultimate administration belonged to the United Nations Organization.

Stalin inquired if Mr. Churchill was suggesting that the present conference was not competent to settle this question.

Churchill replied that it was not competent to settle the matter; that was for the peace conference. Of course, if they agreed here, that would facilitate matters.

Stalin said they were proposing not to settle the matter but to consider it.

Churchill rejoined that they were considering the matter now.

Stalin inquired then why he objected to the Soviet proposal to have it discussed.

Churchill said he was not objecting, that if Stalin could say what he wanted, he, Churchill, would address himself to the question.

Stalin said the matter did not lie with him. The question was set forth in the Soviet paper.

The President pointed out that the Soviet proposal was for the Foreign Ministers to discuss the matter and he had no objection on his part.

Churchill said he also had no objection but pointed out that they were throwing much work on the Foreign Ministers. He said there were many more urgent matters to discuss here. They had decided [Page 256] that the question of the Italian peace terms were [was] to have priority at the first meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers. He was against burdening the present meeting of the Foreign Ministers but the matter could be put on their agenda for consideration after they had disposed of more urgent business.

Stalin proposed that the matter be referred to the Foreign Ministers.

Churchill added the reservation “provided it does not delay more urgent business.”

Stalin said that such a reservation was not acceptable.

Churchill said that if they insisted he would give way.

It was agreed that the matter be referred to the meeting of Foreign Ministers.


Churchill said this was not the first time he had discussed this matter with Marshal Stalin.34 It became important because of the admitted need to modify the Montreux Convention.35 He had agreed with the Marshal in these discussions that insofar as the British Government was concerned they favored revision. Revision could only be made by agreement with the signatories with the exception, of course, of Japan. He had also frequently expressed his readiness to welcome an arrangement for the free movement of Russian ships, naval or merchant, through the Black Sea and back. He, therefore, opened the discussion on the basis of a friendly agreement. At the same time he wished to impress on Marshal Stalin the importance of not alarming Turkey. Undoubtedly Turkey was very much alarmed by a strong concentration of Bulgarian and Soviet troops in Bulgaria;36 by continuous attacks in the Soviet press and radio; and, of course, by the turn which the conversations between the Turkish Ambassador37 and Mr. Molotov had taken in which modifications of Turkey’s eastern frontier were mentioned, as well as a Soviet base in the Straits.38 This led Turkey to fear for the integrity of her empire and her power to defend Constantinople. He understood, however, that these were not demands on Turkey by the Soviet Government but that the Turks had asked for an alliance and then Molotov had stated the conditions for such an alliance. He quite saw that if Turkey asked for an offensive and defensive alliance, [Page 257] this would be the occasion when the Soviets would say what improvement they wanted in the Turkish situation. However, the Turks were alarmed by the mention of these conditions. He did not know what had happened beyond these conversations. What he should like to know was the present Russian position on the subject.

Molotov said that he would circulate a letter to the President and Churchill giving the point of view of the Soviet Government on this question.39 He would like to explain the origin of the matter. The Turkish Government had taken the initiative through the Turkish Ambassador in Moscow and had proposed an alliance. This question had been brought up before their Ambassador in Ankara40 and again in Moscow at the end of May by the Turkish Ambassador. Early in June he had had two conversations with the Turkish Ambassador. In reply to the Turkish proposals he had stated that the Soviet Government had no objection to a treaty of alliance subject to certain conditions. He pointed out the fact that in doing so they should settle their mutual claims. On the Soviet side there were two. The conclusion of a treaty of alliance meant that they undertook each to defend the frontiers of both states. He had pointed out that there were several sections of their frontiers which they considered unjust. In 1921 a portion of their territory had been torn from Soviet Armenia and Soviet Georgia.41’ He pointed out that he was bound to settle this question before the conclusion of a treaty of alliance.

The second question was that of the Black Sea Straits. The Soviet Union had repeatedly let their allies know that they could not regard the Montreux Convention as a correct arrangement and that they were not satisfied with it. The rights of the Soviet Union under this Convention were equal to those of the Japanese Emperor. It seemed to them that this did not correspond to the present situation. On behalf of the Soviet Government he had presented certain proposals which had been set forth in the Soviet paper which he was now circulating.42 At the same time, he had pointed out to the Turks that if both of these issues were settled the Russians were ready to conclude an alliance. He had also informed the Turks that the Soviet Union was prepared to settle any questions which the Turks raised on their side. He had added that if the Turkish Government were not prepared to settle these two questions the Soviet Government was prepared to make an agreement on the Straits alone between the Black Sea Powers.

[Page 258]

Churchill said that this was an important document which went far beyond the conversations between Eden and himself and Stalin and Molotov.43

Molotov said that the treaty of alliance with Turkey had not been under consideration at that time.

Churchill inquired whether the words “proper regular procedure” in paragraph one of the Soviet paper meant that all signatories except Japan would be consulted. He repeated [that] different questions were raised in this paper, when a Russian base in the Straits was asked for; also by the proposal that no one had anything to do with the Bosporus and the Dardanelles except Russia and Turkey. He was certain that Turkey would never agree to this proposal that was being made.

Molotov said that similar treaties had existed in the past between Russia and Turkey.

Churchill asked if he meant the question of a Russian base in the Black Sea Straits.

Molotov replied that he meant treaties which provided for the settlement of the Straits question only by Turkey and Russia. He referred to the treaties of 1805 and 1833.44

Churchill said he would have to ask his staff to look up these ancient treaties and added that he had only pointed out the difference between these proposals and those which had earlier been discussed. He said that the British were not prepared to push Turkey to accept these proposals.

Stalin said that they had not discussed the proposals before but had only had conversations.

Molotov said that they had proposed to submit the matter to the June meeting of the Foreign Ministers which had not taken place.45

Churchill said that he stood by his conversations with Stalin in which he, Churchill, expressed the willingness to press for the revision of the Montreux Convention side by side with Stalin. That agreement still stood, but he felt quite free with regard to these new proposals.

Stalin said: “Yes,” he was free.

[Page 259]

The President said he was not ready to express an opinion and suggested that they defer consideration of the question.

This was agreed to.

The President said that they were sending a telegram to the Polish Government46 and as the matter was sure to leak out he suggested that they prepare a communiqué.47

Churchill inquired whether it would mention the purpose of the visit.

Stalin said it would be better not to mention the purpose of the visit, but it made no difference to him whether they issued a communiqué or not. Stalin thought it better not to release the whole text of the invitation.

The President said he agreed.

Molotov said that the Soviet Delegation would send in its proposal with regard to Koenigsberg in writing.48

Treatment of Soviet Prisoners in a British Camp in Italy49

Molotov said that the camp referred to was camp no. 5 which was located near Rimini. He said that this camp, which was under British authorities, contained Ukrainians. The first statement they had received from the British stated that there were about 150 prisoners in this camp. When their representatives came to see the camp they found that there were 10,000.

Churchill inquired from whom they had obtained these figures and on what date.

Molotov said he would give particulars.

Churchill said that the British did not make false statements.

Molotov said that he understood that the British had formed a whole division of twelve regiments of these Ukrainians with officers selected from those who had been in the ranks of the German army. When their representatives had visited this camp they had found that 665 persons stated their willingness to return to their native country.

Churchill said they welcomed inspection by the Russians of all of their camps. Perhaps some of these persons were Poles. In any event, he would have an investigation made and obtain a report.50

[Page 260]

Molotov replied that there were only Ukrainians in the camp. He added that they had received a telegram from General Golikov, who was in charge of the repatriation of Soviet prisoners, only today.

Meeting adjourned.51

  1. See ante, p. 176.
  2. Cf. ante, pp. 240243.
  3. Document No. 748, post. For the text of the Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe, see document No. 1417, post, section v.
  4. See document No. 796, post.
  5. Such a memorandum was apparently never circulated.
  6. Documents Nos. 863 and 902, post.
  7. Document No. 837, post.
  8. Document No. 1020, post.
  9. Document No. 1330, post.
  10. Document No. 1161, post.
  11. Document No. 870, post.
  12. Document No. 1356, post.
  13. See document No. 1341, post.
  14. For the substance of the Soviet note of June 1, 1945, to the United States, see vol. i, document No. 636.
  15. See ante, pp. 207215.
  16. For a continuation of discussion on this subject, see post, p. 259.
  17. See ante, pp. 210213.
  18. Document No. 1146, post.
  19. See the map facing p. 748 in vol. i. For the origin and a description of the Curzon Line, see Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. xiii, pp. 793794.
  20. See ante, p. 129.
  21. See document No. 1417, post, section vi.
  22. See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 203; Arnold and Veronica M. Toynbee, eds., Survey of International Affairs, 1939–1946: The Realignment of Europe (London, 1955), pp. 184, 186; Edward J. Rozek, Allied Wartime Diplomacy: A Pattern in Poland (New York, 1958), pp. 275, 277, 287. Concerning the various lines for the western frontier of Poland mentioned in this discussion, see the map facing p. 1152, post.
  23. See document No. 1417, post, section vi.
  24. Concerning the discussion of the western frontier of Poland at the Yalta Conference, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, pp. 669, 716718, 777, 898899, 905906.
  25. See document No. 1147, post. Leahy states (I Was There, p. 408) that he thinks it was during the discussion of Poland at this meeting that Churchill mentioned the rights of Catholics in Poland and Stalin replied, “How many divisions has the Pope?” This same remark, however, had been attributed to Stalin in connection with the Tehran Conference. See Time, December 27, 1943, p. 46. Bohlen, in an interview with Department of State historians on April 18, 1956, stated that he had heard this anecdote long before World War II and that, at least so far as plenary meetings of the wartime conferences were concerned, it was apocryphal.
  26. Document No. 733, post.
  27. i. e., the Charter of the United Nations (Treaty Series No. 993; 59 Stat. (2) 1031).
  28. See document No. 1416, post, section i.
  29. The reference is presumably to article 79.
  30. Cf. document No. 1020, post.
  31. Concerning Eden’s statements on this subject in the House of Commons, see ante, p. 239, footnote 2.
  32. See document No. 734, post, enclosure 1.
  33. See footnote 43, post.
  34. Regarding the regime of the Turkish Straits, signed at Montreux, July 20, 1936 (League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clxxiii, p. 213). Text of the substantive provisions also in Harry N. Howard, The Problem of the Turkish Straits (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1947; Department of State publication No. 2752), p. 25.
  35. See documents Nos. 457, 459, 685, 686, 691, 693, 699, and 700, printed in vol. i, and document No. 1072, post.
  36. Selim Sarper.
  37. See vol. i, document No. 684.
  38. The reference is apparently to document No. 1369, post.
  39. Sergey Alexandrovich Vinogradov.
  40. See vol. i, document No. 683.
  41. Document No. 1369, post.
  42. The conversations referred to took place at Moscow in October 1944. See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 328; Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, p. 242.
  43. Texts of the pertinent passages of the treaties referred to (the Treaty of September 23, 1805, and the Treaty of Unkiar Eskelessi of July 8, 1833), together with the texts of other treaties relating to the Straits in the period from 1774 to 1936, are printed in Howard, The Problem of the Turkish Straits, pp. 14 ff.
  44. i. e., the meeting agreed upon at the Yalta Conference. See document No. 1417, post, section viii.
  45. Cf. ante, p. 252. For the text of the message referred to, which was transmitted to Warsaw by way of the American and Polish Embassies at Moscow, see document No. 1147, post.
  46. No communiqué announcing the issuance of an invitation to a Polish Delegation to come to Potsdam has been found. The Cohen notes (post, p. 268) indicate that the idea of issuing a communiqué was dropped.
  47. Document No. 1020, post.
  48. Cf. ante, p. 247. See also document No. 1164, post.
  49. See document No. 1165, post.
  50. At 7:50 p.m. See Log, ante, p. 18.

    Stimson’s diary entry for July 23 contains the following information relating to this meeting:

    “At ten-fifteen Ambassador Harriman arrived and he and McCloy, Bundy, and I had a talk over the situation, Harriman giving us the information of yesterday afternoon’s meetings. He commented on the increasing cheerfulness evidently caused by the news from us [cf. ante, p. 225], and confirmed the expanding demands being made by the Russians. They are throwing aside all their previous restraint as to being only a Continental power and not interested in any further acquisitions, and are now apparently seeking to branch in all directions. Thus they have not only been vigorously seeking to extend their influence in Poland, Austria, Rumania, and Bulgaria, but they are seeking bases in Turkey and now are putting in demands for the Italian colonies in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. He told us that Stalin had brought up yesterday the question of Korea again and was urging an immediate trusteeship. The British and the French are refusing to consider a trusteeship on Hong Kong and Indo-China, and I foresee that if that is continued the Russians will probably drop their proposal for trusteeship of Korea and ask for solitary control of it.

    “At eleven o’clock I went down to the ‘Little White House’ to try to see the President or Byrnes.… When I got there I found Byrnes out, and I asked for the President who saw me at once.… I then told him of matters that came up in the conference with Mr. Harriman this morning which I just referred to, … We had a brief discussion about Stalin’s recent expansions and he confirmed what I have heard. But he told me that the United States was standing firm and he was apparently relying greatly upon the information as to S–1. He evidently thinks a good deal of the new claims of the Russians are bluff, and told me what he thought the real claims were confined to.”