Truman Papers

Department of State Minutes

top secret

The sixth session of Foreign Ministers opened at 11:30 a.m. on July 23, 1945. Mr. Molotov was in the Chair.

Mr. Molotov first announced that he wished to state the questions which were up for discussion. They were:

Reparations from Germany and Italy;
Economic Principles Regarding Germany;
The Report of the Subcommittee on the Council of Foreign Ministers;
The Directive to the Allied Commanders-in-Chief in Germany;
Paper on Cooperation in Solving urgent European Economic Problems;
Perhaps Iran.

Mr. Eden pointed out that Iran was on the Big Three agenda.

Mr. Molotov agreed and suggested that it be passed over.

Mr. Molotov then suggested Tangier, and Mr. Eden agreed.

Mr. Molotov then suggested the proposed text of the invitations to China and France and added that the morning agenda would conclude with the preparation of an agenda for the Big Three. He asked whether there were any other questions. If so, they should be stated. He remarked that several questions now before subcommittees were not yet ready for discussion. These included the questions of Italy and Spain and several others.


Mr. Molotov then brought up the matter of reparations and circulated a paper containing the principal suggestions of the Soviet delegation on this matter. The first paper was entitled “Plan for Reparations from Germany.”1 He then mentioned the draft considered by the Commission regarding advance deliveries from Germany2 and submitted a Soviet draft.3 He stated that there were other reparations questions which could not be raised now. There was need for time to study them and consideration could be postponed until tomorrow.

Mr. Byrnes agreed that it was best to postpone consideration since documents had been received only now and time would be needed to study them.

Mr. Eden remarked that he was certainly not now prepared to comment on the Soviet proposals.

Mr. Molotov accepted this position but asked whether informal conversations could not be held on the matter in the present meeting.

Mr. Eden asked that the Economic Subcommittee work at the drafts.

Mr. Molotov agreed.

Mr. Byrnes agreed that the papers should not be considered during the present meeting.

Mr. Eden then asked about Molotov’s reference to informal conversations.

Mr. Molotov stated that the question of reparations is linked with other economic questions, such as war booty, and it would be a [Page 278] good idea to have informal exchanges of view. However, he is ready to accept any proposal.

Mr. Byrnes then asked for postponement until tomorrow and that there should be no informal conversations.

Mr. Molotov agreed.

Mr. Molotov then stated that the second question concerned economic principles, which was not finished yesterday. He stated his readiness to withdraw his amendment to paragraph 13 and hoped that his colleagues could agree on 18.4

Mr. Byrnes replied that it was the American position that paragraph 18 should remain in the document.

Mr. Eden agreed and pointed out that paragraph 18 is linked with paragraph 5 of the report of the Committee.

Mr. Molotov then made a statement regarding the paragraph mentioned by Mr. Eden. He maintained that the subcommittee report was not accurate. The present Conference should not discuss how to deal with German territory. He knew that the idea is to supply Germany as far as possible from territories where supplies were drawn before the war. However, heavy damage in some areas has radically changed the situation. He did not believe that it was possible for the Conference to know where conditions have changed and to what degree. This matter should be referred to the Council. It was the affair of our representatives and should be referred to them. They can deal with the questions specifically. He mentioned the opposing views of Stalin and Churchill on this matter and therefore concluded that nothing could be accepted as being generally binding. He wished to decide these matters by means of our representatives in Germany who if they did not agree could refer questions to their governments. If they attempted to write a paper applicable to Germany as it was before the war, the Soviet Union could not agree. He suggested that the question in paragraph 18 should not be decided either way at this meeting. There should be no binding decision taken at this time. It should be decided in accordance with future developments in Germany.

Mr. Eden doubted that it would help much to pass the question on to the Control Council. There were already differences of opinion in the Council on temporary problems on how to fuel Berlin. A temporary arrangement had been reached on this matter in order to tide it over this Conference.5 A common solution must now be found in order to meet the situation adequately.

Mr. Molotov insisted that if he did accept this suggestion, it would make no practical difference since all disagreements would [Page 279] remain. He pointed out that there are no figures on how much coal, food and other materials are available or are necessary. This must be decided by the Control Council when data is available. The Control Council at that time will be able to reach a common agreement or will refer the matter to their governments. If this article is accepted there would still be no practical solution. The question would still go back to the governments. He suggested that if agreement could not be reached, the matter be referred to the Big Three.

Mr. Eden admitted the truth of Mr. Molotov’s contention to the effect that agreement on this principle would not solve the practical problems of coal and food. On the other hand, this principle would constitute a good basis upon which the Control Council could make decisions; otherwise, there would be no basis to guide them.

Mr. Molotov replied that the Soviet Union could not accept now because of differences in conception of the German problem. He suggested that the question be studied in a business-like fashion for several weeks or for several days.

Mr. Byrnes inquired whether Mr. Molotov would object to a statement of general principles to the effect that in the absence of a specific reason, supplies would as far as possible be drawn from the same areas as before the war. He pointed out that the statement actually says “so far as practicable.” Such a statement would be a guide to assist the Control Council in their determinations of such questions. If we simply referred the matter to them Mr. Byrnes feared that they would be unable to decide and would only send the question back to their governments.

Mr. Molotov replied that he could not agree now because he had no data. Time was needed. When the study had been made the matter might be reconsidered. He suggested reference to the Big Three, and all agreed.

Mr. Molotov then raised the question of the relative priority of exports and reparations. He asked for consideration of the Soviet draft6 which he distributed and inquired whether his suggestion was clear.

Mr. Byrnes replied that the American position is clear. It is the position of the United States that there will be no reparations until imports in the American zone are paid for. There can be no discussion of this matter. We do not intend, as we did after the last war, to provide the money for the payment of reparations.

Mr. Molotov gave an example of the sense of his suggestion. He supposed the possibility that 2 million tons of coal would be produced, and the total requirements for internal use, export and reparations would amount to 2,200,000 tons. In this case he suggested [Page 280] that exports and reparations be reduced 10 per cent to make up the difference. It would mean that both exports and reparations would be little less and that over a period of a year’s time the situation might be balanced. If during the whole year there was still a shortage of 10 per cent, all three factors, including internal consumption, would be reduced 10 per cent.

Mr. Molotov considered this to be a simple and fair solution. He stated that if production were increased over the figure set the reparations amount would not change. This would mean a surplus either for internal use or for export as the Control Council should decide. He asked whether this was not a fair arrangement.

Mr. Eden stated that it seemed to him that either imports should be a first charge or reparations should be a first charge or that as now suggested they should have an equal status. He considered it certain that if exports were not sufficient to cover imports someone must make deliveries without payment therefor.

Mr. Molotov replied that imports could be reduced.

Mr. Eden pointed out that the Soviet Union had agreed to a minimum import program which must be fulfilled and which cannot be cut to meet reparations.

Mr. Molotov thought that shortages in coal exports might be compensated by increased exports of other commodities.

Mr. Byrnes remarked that he had stated his position. Imports must be a first charge and not a dollar will be paid on reparations until imports are paid for.

Mr. Molotov then made another suggestion. Such German exports as had been agreed to by the Control Council should have a first priority. On other exports reparations would have first priority. All exports approved by the Control Council would be carried out in the first instance.7 He suggested that if the Foreign Ministers were unable to agree, that the matter be referred to the Big Three.

Mr. Eden asked for permission to clarify the situation. He pointed out that the Control Council has agreed to a minimum export program. If this program is cut in any way it can only be done at the expense of someone, say the miners who are producing coal. In order to avoid such a situation someone must bring in supplies without payment. Therefore, imports must be a first charge.

Mr. Molotov stated that this was not quite clear to him and asked Mr. Eden to repeat the statement.

Mr. Eden did so.

Mr. Byrnes stated that if we lessened food supplies we lessened production.

[Page 281]

Mr. Molotov suggested the possibility of cutting internal consumption.

Mr. Byrnes stated that we have started with a program of minimum import needs and it was therefore impossible to reduce internal consumption in order to provide for reparations.

Mr. Molotov pointed out that he had made the suggestion that where the Control Council had approved imports they would be a first charge although they might possibly affect reparations.

Mr. Eden stated that everything must be approved by the Control Council.

Mr. Molotov gave another example of his meaning. Say the Control Council had decided on the export of 500,000 tons of coal at a time when it was planned to produce 2,000,000 tons. Suppose the British then wanted to export 700,000 tons. His suggestion would mean that the 500,000 tons would be a first charge and the supplementary 200,000 tons would be subject to reparations needs. To summarize, the exports approved by the Control Council for the payment of imports is to be a first charge. In other cases reparations have priority. In the example cited the 500,000 ton exports would have priority but the 200,000 additional would be subject to a reparations priority. However, if the Control Council agreed that the 200,000 tons should be exported in order to pay for imports then they would also have priority over reparations. He again suggested reference of the matter to the Big Three.

Council of Foreign Ministers

Mr. Molotov stated that there was a final draft on the establishment of the Council of Foreign Ministers.8 He had no comment and after asking for comment asked that the draft be considered as approved.


Mr. Molotov then raised the subject of trusteeship and asked for comments on the Soviet draft.9 He pointed out that the Soviet draft deals in the first place with the Italian colonies and suggested that a definite determination be made of the future status of these colonies. If they are to be separated from Italy, a joint trusteeship under the United States, United Kingdom and the Soviet Union should be established.

Mr. Eden pointed out there were two problems in regard to the Italian colonies. The first problem is whether Italy lost the war or not. The British have said that Italy has no right to get her colonies back but have not gone beyond that point. The British believe that this question should be considered in connection with the settlement [Page 282] of a peace treaty by the Council of Foreign Ministers. When our minds are made up whether colonies go back to Italy or not, then it is probable that the United Nations organization would decide on the form of trusteeship, if any.

Mr. Byrnes pointed out that the American position had been stated by the President yesterday afternoon.10 At the President’s suggestion it was tentatively agreed that the conclusion of the peace treaty with Italy would be the first business of the Council of Foreign Ministers.11 As a result the Foreign Ministers and their governments must determine the disposition of the colonies and the Trieste boundaries and any other decisions in regard to Italian territory. Mr. Byrnes did not see how the Conference could decide what territories should be taken from Italy and what trusteeships should be established. It is true that the Charter12 provided that there can be an agreement as to trusteeships. The colonies referred to by the Soviet Union are now in the custody of the United Kingdom. If there was an agreement between them the matter could be considered here; but there is no agreement and there can be no disposition until peace is concluded. Mr. Byrnes did not see how the conference could decide this question.

Mr. Molotov stated that he would like to make a statement. Eden had publicly stated in Parliament several times the British position.13 Therefore their position can be clearly seen; but it has not been disclosed to the Allies, The colonies are now in the custody of the British Army. Under these conditions there was ground to believe that the British might wish to express an opinion. If they do not wish to do so now perhaps they will later. The trusteeship question had been raised in San Francisco and even in Moscow by the United States. Mr. Molotov had no doubt that the American Government has considered this question. He hoped that the United States Government would give an expression of its views to the Allies. The Soviet Government will express their views. If the matter is not to be discussed now, he would agree. That is why the Soviet Government had suggested discussion in the Council of Foreign Ministers. The matter will be referred to the first meeting in London.

Mr. Byrnes stated that the United States had presented both at Dumbarton Oaks14 and at San Francisco its general views on trusteeships. However, it did not state its views on specific colonies. The [Page 283] Council of Foreign Ministers at its first meeting would pass on this and must necessarily make a decision regarding the disposal of the colonies. If it was determined that the colonies or some of them were to be taken from Italy, it was proper and necessary to decide the question of administration.

Mr. Eden added that the British Government has not yet decided whether some or all of the colonies should be taken from Italy. He agreed that this should be discussed in the Council of Foreign Ministers in the London meeting at the time they drew up the peace treaty with Italy. Until then it was not worth while to talk about trusteeships. However, he thought that the new world organization should decide this question.

Mr. Byrnes asked whether it was agreed that this question would not be disposed of here.

Mr. Molotov then suggested that the Soviet memorandum be referred to the Council of Foreign Ministers for consideration at its first meeting in London.

Mr. Eden remarked there was no point in referring the Soviet memorandum since the first task of the Council will be the preparation of peace terms for Italy and the matter would come up automatically.

Mr. Molotov stated that he of course fully agreed. However, the question of the western frontiers of Poland was a question to be considered by the Council of Foreign Ministers in their preparation of peace treaties. Despite this the matter is being dealt with now. In any event, Mr. Molotov asked that note be taken of the fact that the matter would be raised in the first meeting of the Council.

Mr. Byrnes stated that this is fully understood.

Directive to Allied Commanders-in-Chief in Germany

Mr. Molotov stated that the next subject up for discussion was the proposed directive to Allied Commanders-in-Chief in Germany.

Mr. Byrnes stated that this paper15 was proposed because in the opinion of the American representative on the Control Council16 it was desirable to have such a directive issued giving instructions to the Commanders in each zone to carry out whatever agreement was reached at this Conference. Therefore, he suggested that the matter be referred to a committee in order that the Soviet and British Delegations could make any suggestions they desired regarding the proposal. The directive would simply give the Commanders instructions from their Heads of State and each Commander would have the same instructions.

Mr. Eden stated that he was a little puzzled regarding the need for this directive. He pointed out that they had had before them [Page 284] principles on [of?] agreement in the handling of Germany. The political principles had been approved.17 They were based on an American draft18 which he considered to be extremely well set up. He had assumed that these principles would go to the British Commanders in order to guide them. He thought that this would be enough. The proposed discussion [directive?] covers to some extent similar grounds [sic]. Some things are left out and some added. Some very good things had been left out.

Mr. Byrnes stated that his purpose is to have the matter referred to a committee in order that past and future agreements of the Conference could be put into a directive from the Heads of States to the Commanders. We should transmit to each Commander everything decided at this Conference. This should be done before the Conference ends.

Mr. Molotov believed that there was some point in Mr. Eden’s remarks. The proposed directive repeats what has been said in the document on political principles plus some economic. He asked whether it was advisable to have two wordings on the same points a ad stated that he did not know how to solve this difficulty. If the purpose is to give additional direction, the Soviet Government might consider; but decisions have already been taken on political directives and are to be taken on economic matters. These would be sent to the Commanders and the advantage of the directive is not clear.

Mr. Byrnes agreed that the language should be the same. His only idea was to make certain that the Commanders would know what had been decided at this Conference. He suggested the appointment of a committee to incorporate the language previously approved plus any that may be approved in the future, into a directive. Either we can do this or let the Commanders read about it in the press or perhaps they could be sent a copy of the communiqué. Army people generally want written directives and General Eisenhower has asked for this.

Mr. Eden thought General Eisenhower might not have known that we had adopted a set of political principles based on the draft submitted by the United States. Mr. Eden agreed entirely that the directives given to the Commanders must be written and the British had intended to send their Commander all agreed principles. Mr. Eden suggested that before agreements were communicated to the Commanders, France should be consulted in order that the directive should be uniform in all four zones.

Mr. Byrnes agreed to this proposal and restated his desire for [Page 285] some machinery to send to the Commanders whatever was decided at the Conference.

Mr. Eden asked whether consideration would be given to bringing France in line.

Mr. Molotov agreed and inquired about the composition of the subcommittee.

Mr. Byrnes named Mr. Murphy and Mr. Riddleberger.

Mr. Eden named Mr. [Sir William] Strang and Mr. Harrison.

Mr. Molotov named Mr. Gusev and Mr. Sobolev.

Cooperation in Solving Urgent European Economic Problems

Mr. Molotov stated that the next question concerned cooperation in solving urgent European economic problems.19 He thought it advisable to establish a subcommittee to consider this matter.

Mr. Byrnes agreed that this was the best thing to do.

Mr. Molotov named Mr. Arutunian and Mr. Goroshenko.

Mr. Eden named Mr. Brand and Mr. Phillips [Coulson].20

Mr. Byrnes suggested that the matter be referred to the Economic Committee [Subcommittee].

Mr. Molotov replied that this committee was not suitable.

Mr. Byrnes then named Mr. Clayton and Mr. Pauley.


Mr. Molotov then raised the question of Iran.

Mr. Eden stated that this would be considered at another time.


Mr. Molotov then brought up the question of Tangier.

Mr. Eden stated that there was to be a preliminary discussion of this matter in Paris soon and that we would welcome Soviet participation in the discussion.21 He stated that he was in entire agreement with the principles contained in paragraph 1 of the Soviet draft22 to the effect that the Zone should remain international and that steps should be taken to put an end to Spanish occupation. It was to consider how best this could be done that the suggestion was made that the meeting should be convened in Paris. Mr. Eden stated the hope that all governments signatory to the Act of Algeciras23 would meet before final decisions were taken. He did not feel that the four powers could ignore the interests of the small powers. He hoped that a full conference could meet before long. He did not think that it [Page 286] was right for the Conference to consider the subject since there was to be a meeting soon and the French have considerable interest in the matter. The position of Spain would of course have to be considered in the Paris meeting.

Mr. Molotov asked what was suggested.

Mr. Eden replied that he suggested an early Paris meeting between the representatives of the three powers here and the French.

Mr. Molotov suggested the adoption of paragraph 1 and agreement that the four powers would meet.

Mr. Eden replied that he must say that he had told the French that the British would not join in a settlement of the Tangier situation without the French.

Mr. Byrnes asked whether it was agreed that the four powers should work out an agreement. He stated his assumption that Mr. Eden would prefer no publicity in the press.

Mr. Eden wondered whether such a paradise was possible.

Mr. Byrnes then asked whether the Soviet Union wanted an announcement.

Mr. Eden stated that it would be unwise to make an announcement that we are going to the French capital in order to decide the Tangier question. Also, there were the other signatories of the Act to be considered. It is enough that we here agree to have conversations.

Mr. Molotov stated that the Soviet Union would not insist on an announcement. He suggested agreement among the Foreign Ministers without publicity that we accept paragraph 1 of the Soviet paper and that we will meet in Paris.

This was agreed to.24

Invitations to China and France

Mr. Molotov brought up the subject of the proposed invitations to China and France. He suggested that after the words “members of Council” there should be added the words “by agreement between them.” After looking at Mr. Byrnes’ draft he agreed that it was all right without this change.25

Agenda for Big Three

Mr. Molotov then asked for consideration of an agenda for the Big Three.

Mr. Byrnes intervened to suggest that a time should be set for sending the invitations to China and France. He remarked that if they were sent now they might become known to the press. He suggested [Page 287] sending the invitations the day before the issuance of the communiqué and the end of the Conference.

Mr. Eden thought that there should be a little more notice than one day in order to give a chance for an answer to be received. He suggested 48-hour notice.

This was agreed to.

Agenda for Big Three

Mr. Molotov again asked for the formulation of an agenda for the afternoon Big Three meeting. He stated that there would be:

Syria and the Levant

Mr. Molotov mentioned the question of reparations from Germany and Italy, but it was agreed that this should not go on the agenda but should be discussed in the next day’s meeting of the Foreign Ministers.

Mr. Molotov also raised the question of economic principles but this was put over until the next day.

Mr. Byrnes then brought up the fact that the question of the admission of Italy into international organizations and the exclusion of Spain from them had been referred to a committee,26 which had not yet reported. He understood that part of the paper had been agreed to and suggested that the committee report back if it was unable to agree. There had been a suggestion that there would be two separate papers and then a proposal that they be combined into one paper. At the present time they were incorporated in one paper.27 He thought that this matter might be disposed of.

Mr. Molotov asked what suggestions Mr. Byrnes had.

Mr. Byrnes replied that he suggested that the matter be acted on now and disposed of. He understood that there was no difficulty about the matter except whether there should be two papers or one. He was willing to take either.

Mr. Eden suggested the drafting committee have one more try and that otherwise the matter would be considered tomorrow.

Mr. Molotov stated that it was not entirely a question of whether there should be one or two documents.

Mr. Byrnes then asked for a report from the subcommittee either for or against the paper tomorrow.

Mr. Eden then circulated a note by the Prime Minister on the Greek situation.28

The meeting then adjourned.

  1. Document No. 920, post.
  2. It has not been determined what draft is here referred to.
  3. Document No. 921, post.
  4. Cf. ante, pp. 233234. The paragraphs 13 and 18 referred to are in the attachment to document No. 863, post; paragraph 5 is in document No. 863 proper.
  5. See vol. i, document No. 433.
  6. Document No. 872, post.
  7. Cf. document No. 873, post. The Rapporteur’s report (post, p. 290) indicates that Molotov put forward as an alternative an actual draft.
  8. Document No. 714, post.
  9. Document No. 733, post.
  10. See ante, pp. 253255.
  11. See document No. 714, post.
  12. Of the United Nations (Treaty Series No. 993; 59 Stat. (2) 1031).
  13. See ante, p. 239, footnote 2.
  14. Concerning the general nature of the Dumbarton Oaks conversations referred to, see Harley A. Notter, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, 1939–1945 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949; Department of State publication No. 3580), p. 301. No provisions regarding trusteeship were included in the proposals agreed upon at Dumbarton Oaks; ibid., appendix 43, p. 611.
  15. Document No. 870, post.
  16. General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  17. Document No. 856, post.
  18. Document No. 852, post.
  19. See document No. 1161, post.
  20. The Rapporteur’s report (post, pp. 291 and 301) names Coulson as the second British member. There was no Phillips on the British Delgation.
  21. See vol. i, pp. 9801009, and documents Nos. 1350, 1352, 1353, and 1357, post.
  22. Document No. 1356, post.
  23. Signed April 7, 1906. For text, see Treaty Series No. 456; 34 Stat. (3) 2905; Foreign Relations, 1906, pt. 2, p. 1495.
  24. See document No. 1383, post, section xvi (xv).
  25. See document No. 1383, post, section i.
  26. See ante, pp. 150, 159.
  27. Presumably document No. 729, post.
  28. Document No. 1066, post.