Truman Papers

No. 713
Text Approved by the Heads of Government1

Approved Proposal for the Establishment of a Council of Foreign Ministers

(1) There shall be established a Council composed of the Foreign Ministers of Great Britain, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, France, and the United States.

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(2) The Council shall meet at London and its first meeting shall be held on ________.2 Each of the Foreign Ministers shall be accompanied by a high-ranking deputy duly authorized and capable of carrying on the work of the Council in the absence of his Foreign Minister. He will likewise be accompanied by a small staff of technical advisers suited to the problems concerned and to the organization of a joint secretariat.

(3) As its immediate important task, the Council would be authorized to draw up, with a view to their submission to the United Nations, treaties of peace with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary3 and to propose settlements of territorial questions outstanding on the termination of the war in Europe. The Council shall be utilized for the preparation of a peace settlement for Germany to be accepted by the Government of Germany when a government adequate for the purpose is established.

For the discharge of each of these tasks the Council will be composed of the members representing those States which were signatory to the terms of surrender imposed upon the enemy State concerned. For the purposes of the peace settlement for Italy, France shall be regarded as a signatory to the terms of surrender for Italy.

Other members should be invited to participate when matters directly concerning them are under discussion.4

(4) Whenever the Council is considering a question of direct interest to a State not represented thereon, such State should be invited to send representatives to participate in the discussion and study of that question. It is not intended, however, to fix hard and fast rules but rather to permit the Council to adapt its procedure to the particular problem under consideration. In some cases it might desire to hold its own preliminary discussions prior to the participation of other interested States. In other cases the Council might desire to convoke a formal conference of the States chiefly interested in seeking a solution of the particular problem. It is so authorized.

  1. Attachment 1 to the minutes of the Fourth Plenary Meeting, July 20. See ante, p. 165.
  2. Blank in the original.
  3. It is clear from document No. 712 and from the Rapporteur’s report (ante, p. 158) that this passage should read “Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Finland”.
  4. It appears from the Rapporteur’s report (ante, p. 158) that the following subparagraph has been omitted at this point: “Other matters may from time to time be referred to the Council by agreement between the States members thereof.”