Truman Papers

Thompson Minutes

top secret

Premier Stalin proposed that President Truman preside over the meetings.

Churchill seconded the proposal.

The President accepted it and inquired if it were proper for him to propose some items for the agenda.3

Stalin agreed.

Eden asked if all members would have the power to add to the agenda.

The President replied that they would. The President then took up the proposal for the establishment of the Council of Foreign Ministers and read the document on this subject (Attachment 14).

The President stated his second memorandum related to Germany. (The President did not read the proposed draft agreement in regard to Germany but handed it in for study. Attachment 2.5)

Churchill inquired if this meant they were not to give any consideration to these matters now.

The President replied that he was merely proposing items for the agenda.

Churchill proposed that the first item proposed by the President be referred to the meeting of the Foreign Ministers.

Stalin said he agreed but he was not clear about the inclusion of China in the Council. He said he supposed that it was contemplated that the Council would discuss European problems.

The President said that this could be discussed by the Foreign Ministers and then referred back to the meeting of heads of state.

[Page 53]

Churchill said it would be returned with the comments of the Foreign Ministers.

Reverting to the question of the policy with regard to Germany The President said he proposed that the Control Council should commence to function immediately in accordance with the agreement which had already been entered into.6 He said he was submitting a document containing the United States proposals on this matter.7

Churchill said that he had only just seen this document and that he could not express any opinion.

The President said he did not expect any expressions of opinion now.

Stalin remarked that he also had not studied the document.

Churchill said that this was such a wide subject that it was not appropriate for the Foreign Ministers but that the heads of state should study it and then discuss it.

Stalin said they could take it up the next day but that it might be well to let the Foreign Ministers study it.

Churchill said the Foreign Ministers would be busy enough with the other item that had been referred to them.

Stalin agreed.

The President then read the document on the implementation of the Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe8 (Attachment 39). Before reading the United States proposal in regard to policy towards Italy10 The President said that in view of the recent Italian declaration of war on Japan11 he hoped that it would be possible for this meeting to agree to support Italian entry into the United Nations Organization in recognition thereof. If this was acceptable he thought that the Foreign Ministers might be instructed to prepare a suitable declaration.

Churchill said that this was an important matter on which their positions were not the same. The British were attacked by Italy in 1940 at the time France was going down which was described by President Roosevelt as “a stab in the back”. The British fought the Italians for some time before the United States came in. At a most critical time we were obliged to send sorely needed troops to Africa and we fought two years on those shores until the arrival of the American forces. We also suffered very heavy Naval losses in the [Page 54] war with Italy in the Mediterranean. We provided 14 out of the 15 vessels which was the equivalent of the Russian share of the Italian fleet.

The President proposed to read the American document on this question.

Stalin intervened to suggest that the discussion be confined to the setting up of the agenda.

The President agreed.

Churchill said he was grateful to the President for opening up this discussion and for the positive contribution he had made in submitting his proposals which would have great advantage. He said, however, that the question must be given very careful consideration. He suggested that the President proceed to give his presentation now.

Stalin agreed.

The President then read the document on Italy (Attachment 412).

The President said he wished to state that he appreciated the honor of having been made Chairman of the meeting. He said he had come gladly to the Conference but that he had come with some trepidation because in the United States he had had to succeed a man who could not be replaced and one who was on the friendliest terms with both the Prime Minister and Premier Stalin. He said that he hoped he would merit the same friendship. The questions he had presented were of the highest importance but he wished it understood that he could add under [sic] other questions and that both of the other representatives could do the same.

Stalin said he agreed.

Churchill said he should like to express on behalf of the British delegation his gratitude to the President for undertaking the Presidency of this momentous Conference and to thank him for presenting so clearly the views of the mighty republic which he heads. The warm and ineffaceable sentiments which they had had for President Roosevelt they would renew with the man who had come forward at this historic moment and he wished to express to him his most cordial respect. He trusted that the bonds not only between their countries but also between them personally would increase. The more they came to grips with the world’s momentous problems the closer their association would become.

Stalin said that on behalf of the Russian delegation he wished to state that they fully shared the sentiments expressed by Mr. Churchill.

Churchill then proposed that they go to the simple question of the agenda and either deal with items or refer them to the Foreign Ministers. The agenda was not complete but they had a program. [Page 55] The British, of course, wished to add the Polish problem to the agenda.

The President said that he wanted the Prime Minister and Premier Stalin to add any questions to the agenda that they wished.

Stalin said it would be well for the three delegations to set forth the questions they wanted discussed. The Soviet delegation wished to add the question of the division of the German merchant fleet and Navy. Some correspondence had been exchanged on this subject13 and it was agreed that it should be discussed at this meeting. They also wished to add the question of reparations not only from Germany but also from Italy.

Churchill asked what about Bulgaria and Rumania.

Molotov said that was already taken care of.

Stalin then proposed the question of territories to be placed under trusteeship.

Churchill inquired whether Stalin was referring to areas in Europe or in general throughout the world.

Stalin replied that this could be discussed. The Soviets had already mentioned14 that they would like some territories of the defeated states.

The Soviet delegation also wished to raise the question of relations with satellite states.

Another question which the Soviet delegation wished to discuss was that of Franco Spain. The Spanish regime did not originate in Spain but was imported and forced on the Spanish people by Germany and Italy. It was a danger to the United Nations and he thought it would be well to create conditions which would enable the Spanish people to establish the regime they want.

Churchill said they were only discussing the agenda. He agreed that this item should go on the agenda.

Mr. Attlee said he would be very happy to see this item go on the agenda.

Stalin said that perhaps the question of Tangier should be brought up, as well as that of Syria and Lebanon.

Churchill said that Eden had pointed out to him that in the absence of the French this question could only be discussed provisionally.

Stalin said it would be interesting to clarify the views held by the three powers.

Stalin then added that he wished to propose a discussion of the Polish question. What they had in mind was the question of the present émigré Polish Government.

Churchill said it was most necessary that the Polish question [Page 56] should be discussed. As a result of the discussions since Yalta sensible progress had been made. He agreed that the question should be discussed and that the winding up of the former London Polish provisional government was part of that question. He was sure that Premier Stalin and the President would realize that Britain had been the home of the Polish Government and the base from which the Polish Armies were maintained and paid. He thought their objectives were the same but the British would have a harder task than the other two powers because they would have the details to handle. They did not wish to release large numbers of soldiers in their midst without making proper provision for them. He thought they could handle this problem in a satisfactory manner. It was important to continue to carry out the Yalta agreement15 and he, of course, attached great importance to the Polish elections in order that the will of the Polish people would be reflected.

Stalin said he had no other questions to add.

Churchill said they had already sent in their agenda.16 He wished, however, to suggest that the three Foreign Secretaries meet today or tomorrow to pick out the questions which were to be discussed at the next meeting. They knew the questions and knew which were prepared for discussion but it would be well to have a definite program. The Foreign Ministers could prepare the dinner better than they could themselves. The President and Stalin had no objection.

Churchill said that the broad presentation had been made and at the next meeting they would address themselves to the questions that were the most agreeable or perhaps he should say, the least disagreeable.

Stalin observed that in any event they could not escape the disagreeable ones.

He wished to know if they would proceed with their meeting this evening. Were there any matters they could take up before the Foreign Ministers had made their selection?

The President asked if there were any suggestions.

Stalin proposed that they discuss the question of the Council of Foreign Ministers and The President and Prime Minister agreed.

The President said he had submitted his views and a draft proposal.

Stalin said that the principles advanced by the American Delegation met with no objection on the part of the Soviet Delegation but they wished to question the inclusion of China if the Council is to deal with European problems.

The President pointed out that China was one of the permanent members of the Security Council which [it] had been agreed at San Francisco to set up.

[Page 57]

Stalin said that at Yalta a decision had been taken for regular meetings of the three Foreign Ministers.17 He wished to know if that was to be dropped now.

The President said he did not understand that the arrangements relating to the three Foreign Ministers was a permanent one.

Stalin replied that the arrangement was not permanent. It had been arranged that they were to meet several months later. He assumed that this was now dropped and also that the European Advisory Commission would now lapse.

The President pointed out that the Council of Foreign Ministers was being set up for a definite purpose.

Stalin said that they could deal with any other question. The Crimea decision should be regarded as having lapsed and in this case the European Advisory Commission would also lapse. These would be replaced by the Council of Foreign Ministers.

The President said that it was satisfactory to him to interpret it in this way.

Churchill said he had supposed that the three Foreign Ministers were to meet about every three months and that they would advise the three Heads of Governments on matters that are going on from day to day. He thought it was a complication, even though it might look like simplification, to bring in China. He was agreeable to China being represented and to the Foreign Ministers’ drawing up conditions of peace but day to day questions were very urgent. He questioned the advisability of bringing in from the other part of the world a country which had contributed little to the defeat of the enemy in Europe. It was easy to set up bodies that look well on paper but which do little in practice. Could not the future of Germany be decided without China?

The President suggested that the question of the meeting of the three Foreign Ministers be passed over for the time being as this was another matter and they were now discussing his specific proposal.

The President then read Annex I to Attachment I.18

Stalin said they had the duty to prepare for the peace conference. The war was over in Europe and it would be for this Council to deal with the effect of this fact. The Council could also give them a hint as to the date.

The President said that he agreed that the date might be fixed when we felt that it could be successfully concluded.

Churchill said that there did not seem to him to be any difficulty in reconciling the objects they were pursuing. We ought to set up a peace conference. We ought not to replace the two useful bodies which have been set up, namely, the Three Foreign Ministers and [Page 58] the European Advisory Commission, which brings in France. It was a matter of the selection of the body to be used. He would be sorry to see these existing organisms destroyed. They can co-exist. Until the Japanese were defeated, he saw difficulties in China’s having an important voice in settling the tangled problems of Europe—the volcano from which war springs. He saw no useful purpose in including the Chinese in the European settlement. China was far away and did not see questions the way they did. Perhaps while the Council is sitting, we would receive better news from the Far East. He suggested that the world peace treaty be settled by the Five Powers but that European problems be dealt with by the Four Powers directly concerned and that the meeting of the three Foreign Ministers and the European Advisory Commission be continued. He did not see that China could give us good advice on handling the Rhineland question. It would have only an intellectual interest in the matter.

The President said we might have to settle that problem here too.

Stalin said that perhaps the question of the Council could be referred to the Foreign Ministers.

The President observed that he had no objection to China being excluded from the Council.

Churchill said he saw difficulties in a Power having full representation when its interests were not directly concerned.

The President said the question was referred to the Foreign Ministers.

Stalin observed that they would have nothing to do as all questions would be discussed by the Foreign Ministers.

Churchill suggested that the Foreign Ministers look into the question of there being four or five members of the Council. Stalin interrupted to say “Or three members?”

Churchill also suggested that the Council be confined to questions of peace and that meetings of the three Foreign Ministers and the EAC be continued. The Foreign Ministers would also pick out what questions were to be discussed at the meeting of the Heads of States.

Stalin inquired whether it was a question of a peace treaty or a peace conference.

Churchill said the Council would prepare a plan for the peace which would be submitted to the Three Heads of States.

Stalin inquired as to the time.

Churchill replied that this would depend on the progress which the Council made and upon the course of events.

Stalin suggested that the Foreign Ministers discuss the extent to which it was necessary to preserve the EAC and the meetings of the three Foreign Ministers.

The President said there should be something which they could [Page 59] discuss tomorrow and upon which they could arrive at a decision. He proposed that they meet at four instead of at five o’clock and that they now adjourn.

Stalin agreed that they adjourn but there was one question he could raise now: Why does Churchill refuse to give Russia her share of the German fleet?

Churchill exclaimed “Why?” and went on to say that he thought that the fleet should be destroyed or shared. He observed that weapons of war are horrible things.

Stalin said, let’s divide it. If Mr. Churchill wishes, he can sink his share.

The meeting adjourned.19

  1. Concerning the agenda, see vol. i, pp. 156245.
  2. Document No. 711, post.
  3. Document No. 852, post.
  4. i. e., the agreement signed at London, November 14, 1944, as amended by a further agreement signed at London, May 1, 1945. For texts, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 3070; Department of State, United States Treaties and Other International Agreements, vol. 5, pt. 2, p. 2062. Text of the agreement of November 14, 1944, also in Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 124.
  5. Document No. 852, post.
  6. For the text of this declaration, see document No. 1417, post, section v.
  7. Document No. 745, post.
  8. Document No. 1089, post.
  9. See vol. i, document No. 242.
  10. Document No. 1089, post.
  11. See vol. i, documents Nos. 386 (footnote 2) and 143.
  12. At the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco. See enclosure 1 to document No. 734, post.
  13. See document No. 1417, post, section vi.
  14. See particularly vol. i, document No. 179, attachment 1.
  15. See document No. 1417, post, section viii.
  16. Attachment to document No. 711, post.
  17. At 6:55 p.m. See Log, ante, p. 13. The following manuscript notes by Truman appear on a separate page following the record of this meeting:

    “Reparations, Italy, Bulgaria, Rumania, Austria

    “Spain. Franco Regime should be ended

    “Poland its Government in England

    “Above are Russian added topics

    Churchill suggests minister[s] of foreign affairs prepare things to consider”.