740.00119 (Potsdam)/8–945

No. 737
Memorandum by the Executive Secretary of the Central Secretariat (Yost)1
top secret

Berlin Conference


Soviet Policy

The Soviet proposal on this question2 involved a rather general reference to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the whole question of trusteeship as envisaged in the United Nations Charter. They specified in their proposal particularly the disposition of the Italian colonies in the Mediterranean and in Africa and the treatment of League of Nations mandates. They also referred in the discussion to the disposition of Korea. They referred to the letter sent to Mr. Stettinius at San Francisco3 stating that the Soviet Union was desirous of being assigned trusteeships under the Charter. In the discussion at the Conference they did not, under questioning by Churchill, lay specific claim to particular territories but limited themselves to insistence that the matter be discussed by the Council of Foreign Ministers. They made it quite clear, however, that if it was decided by the Council that any Italian territories were to be placed under [Page 637] trusteeship they would expect to be given some share in these trusteeships. They finally consented to the decision of the Conference as recorded in the Protocol being limited to the reference to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the question of the disposition of Italian colonies,4 but it was clear that they continued to cherish their original proposal.

British Policy

Churchill took the position that the question of the assignment of territories to trusteeship was one for the United Nations Organization. He consented to the reference to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the question (1) as to whether or not Italy should lose her colonies and (2) whether the states represented on the Council might recommend to the United Nations Organization that territories taken from Italy should be placed under trusteeship. He made it perfectly clear, however, that he would not be inclined to support an extension of Soviet influence in the Mediterranean and Africa through the participation of the Soviet Union in trusteeship administration of former Italian colonies. The British also were unsympathetic to any discussion of placing under trusteeship former League mandates now under British or French administration.

  1. Printed from the ribbon copy, which is unsigned. For the minutes of the discussions summarized in this memorandum, see ante, pp. 252256, 550551.
  2. Document No. 733.
  3. Document No. 734, enclosure 1.
  4. See document No. 1383, section xi (x).