740.00119 (Potsdam)/8–845

No. 833
Memorandum by the Executive Secretary of the Central Secretariat (Yost)1
top secret

Berlin Conference Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland

Soviet Policy

A number of aspects of Soviet policy toward these countries were brought out during the Conference. Stalin indicated that the basic objective of his policy in this regard was to separate these countries permanently from Germany. The first method for accomplishing this aim had of course been the use of force but he felt that if the Allies confined themselves to the use of force alone these countries might ultimately be driven back into the arms of Germany. He therefore maintained that in order to detach these countries permanently from Germany it was necessary to forget thoughts of revenge and to take all appropriate measures to bring these countries into free collaboration with the Allies.

As far as their present governments are concerned, the Soviet position was that these governments are “democratic” and are such as to have fulfilled the Yalta Declaration on Liberated Areas. (Light is shed on this characterization by Stalin’s remark that “if a government is not Fascist it is democratic”.) Stalin on one occasion referred to them as “closer to the people” than the present Government of Italy. Molotov maintained that in all these governments the Communist Party formed only a small minority. The Soviets urged at great length that these governments be recognized either at once or in the very near future by the United States and Great Britain. They were unwilling to accord to Italy more favorable treatment in the easing of the armistice terms and other matters than to Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland, which they claimed had made a greater contribution to the Allied war effort.

The Soviets took the position that it was superfluous and undesirable for the Great Powers either to supervise or to observe the elections in those countries. They stated that the elections in Finland had been “free and unfettered” and that it therefore followed that they would also be so in the other three countries. The Soviets agreed that it was desirable, in view of the termination of the war, to revise the procedures of the Control Commissions in these countries [Page 737]but stated that the proposals which their representatives on these Commissions had just put forward2 constituted a satisfactory revision. They would not admit that United States and British representatives in these countries had been unduly restricted in the past and in fact Stalin described Churchill’s catalog of their difficulties as “all fairy tales”.

The Soviets agreed that termination of the war also would make it possible for Allied press representatives to have greater facilities in these countries but were not willing to take action in this regard beyond the statement contained in the communiqué that the Conference “had no doubt” that these greater facilities would be extended.3 They were furthermore unwilling to support the same facilities for Allied radio representatives as for Allied press representatives.

British Policy

The British policy on this question as presented at the Conference was closely parallel to United States policy.

  1. Printed from an unsigned carbon copy. For the minutes of the discussions summarized in this memorandum, see ante, pp. 150155, 169, 172175, 228232, 324328, 357364, 461463, 513514, 520, 554557, 575576.
  2. See document No. 309, printed in vol. i, and documents Nos. 796 and 797, ante.
  3. See document No. 1384, section x.