Executive Secretariat Files

Agreed Minutes2
top secret

Mr. Eden asked Mr. Stettinius if there were any points which he wished to raise.

Mr. Stettinius said that he hoped it would be possible for agreement to be reached between the British and American Delegations forthwith on the urgent question of—

1. Zones of Occupation in Germany

Mr. Stettinius thought that though there had been agreement between the Americans and British on the zones of occupation in Germany, there were still relatively minor points outstanding, notably in connexion with the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven. He thought it important to get agreement on these, particularly in view of the fact that the Russians might soon be in Berlin and have views of their own as regards the zones if our two Governments do not approve the carefully negotiated protocol.3

Mr. Eden said that he understood that there were only certain small points unsettled; he agreed that it was desirable to get these [Page 499] tied up forthwith and thought that these points could be cleared up by agreement with the military authorities forthwith.*

It was agreed that it would be most important for us to get the Russians to approve the protocols on control machinery4 and zones of occupation.

Mr. Stettinius next raised the question of zones for the French. The President was disposed to give the French a zone. This might include the southern part of the British zone and the northern part of the American, said Mr. Stettinius.

Sir A. Cadogan asked whether the Americans had had any indication from the French what zone they desired; he thought we should consult them before taking our decision. Neither the British nor the Americans had as yet had any such indication.

It was agreed that the approval of the Russians should be sought to the proposal that the Americans and British should agree on a zone with the French; it was also agreed that the French should be integrated into the control machinery.

2. Zones of Occupation in Austria

Mr. Eden raised the question of zones of occupation in Austria.

Mr. Matthews said that there had been general agreement as to the areas except as to exact extent of the Viennese zone.

Mr. Eden said that Sir William Strang had told the European Advisory Council5 that we favoured the American view on Vienna rather than the Russian. He was not sure, however, that apart from this issue there was in fact agreement as to zones.

It was recalled that the French had also asked for a zone in Austria.

3. Poland

Mr. Stettinius said that from the point of view of American public opinion it was extremely important that some equitable solution should be reached. It was impossible for the United States Government simply to recognise the Lublin Provisional Government. What seemed to be required was some kind of Council including all the relevant sections including M. Mikolajczyk. Failure to reach a satisfactory solution of this question at the forthcoming meeting would greatly disturb public opinion in America especially among the [Page 500] Catholics and might prejudice the whole question of American participation in the post war world organisation. He asked whether the British had any formula.

Mr. Eden agreed that the British too could not simply recognise the Lublin Provisional Government. M. Mikolajczyk had put forward a suggestion for a presidential council which would be chosen partly from London elements, partly from the Lublin Provisional Government and partly from elements in Poland. Of the latter he instanced the Archbishop of Cracow, M. Witos and M. Zulawski, a leader of the Socialist party. He thought that M. Bierut would be a member of the presidential council from the Lublin Provisional Government.

Sir A. Cadogan thought the Russians might be suspicious of a proposal which might seem to them rather complicated. He suggested that we should ask them to agree to a new interim Government and that we might suggest a presidential council as one method of securing this. We should avoid suggesting a fusion between the Lublin Provisional Government and the London Government.

It was agreed, upon the proposal of Mr. Stettinius, that the two Delegations should put up notes to the President and the Prime Minister in the above sense, bringing out in particular the point of the prejudicial effect on American opinion of failure to reach a satisfactory solution, and also that this would put in an impossible position all those in Great Britain most anxious to work in with Russia.6

The possibility was discussed of the Russians refusing to play.

It was agreed that a deadlock would be bad but that a simple recognition of the Lublin Provisional Government would be even worse.

4. Persia

Mr. Eden raised the subject of Persia. He said that the essential point was to maintain the independence of Persia which was still threatened by the pressure which the Russian Government had been maintaining for some time on the Persian Government, mainly in connexion with the oil concession which the Persian Government had declined to give them. He suggested that an offer might be made to the Russians for the withdrawal of troops gradually and pari passu, after the Governments had agreed that the supply route through Persia was no longer required, which might be about June. He was obliged, however, to make a reservation that our military might feel it necessary to retain certain troops for the protection of the vital oilfields in southern Persia.

[Page 501]

Mr. Matthews pointed out that in this case the Russians would insist on maintaining troops in the north.

It was recalled that both Americans and British had a grievance against the Russians in that British and American companies had proceeded quite far in their applications for oil concessions in South Persia and that their negotiations had been arrested by the ham-handed procedure of the Russians in demanding a concession in the north which raised political issues.

It was agreed that for the three Powers to appear to default on the specific undertakings in the Tehran Declaration7 would have repercussions elsewhere, for instance in connexion with Dumbarton Oaks,8 and that it was important to try to get the Russians to agree (a) to the principle of gradual pari passu withdrawal and (b) that the Persian Government were entitled to decline to negotiate oil concessions as long as foreign troops were in occupation of their territory.9

5. Warm Water Port for Russia (Straits and the Far East)

Mr. Stettinius said that the President had in mind the question of Russian interests in a warm water port. He enquired whether the British had any indication as to what the Russians wanted.

Mr. Eden said that the Russians certainly wished to revise the Montreux Convention.10 We had told them that they should put their ideas on paper. We had no clear indication of what they had in mind but it might be that they would wish for a regime for the Straits similar to that of the Suez Canal which would enable their warships to pass from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean in time of war.

Mr. Eden continued that the Russians would be wanting a good many things, that we had not very much to offer them, but that we required a great deal from them. He felt, therefore, that we ought to arrange to put together all the things we wanted against what we had to give. This would apply to the Far East also. In his view if the Russians decided to enter the war against Japan they would take the decision because they considered it in their interests that the Japanese war should not be successfully finished by the U. S. and Great Britain alone. There was therefore no need for us to offer a high price for their participation, and if we were prepared to agree to their territorial demands in the Far East we should see to it that we obtained a good return in respect of the points on which we required concessions from them.

[Page 502]

In the course of discussion the views were put forward that the Russians would certainly want the lower part of Sakhalin and transit rights in southern Manchuria.

6. China

The desirability of unity being achieved between the Kuomintang and the Communists was raised, and reference was made to the President having some doubts as to whether the British desired this unity.

Mr. Eden could not account for this idea having arisen; we were most anxious that unity should be secured.

Mr. Stettinius said that he had not heard the report.

It was agreed that the military situation had improved somewhat, partly through the diversion of two divisions from Burma to China, and partly through the reopening of the Burma Road.

Mr. Stettinius urged that the British, Soviet and American Governments make every effort to bring about agreement between Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists.

7. Emergency High Commission for Europe

Mr. Stettinius referred to the two papers on this subject which Mr. Bohlen had communicated in London to Sir A. Cadogan.11 He asked Mr. Hiss to explain briefly their purpose.

Mr. Hiss said that the essential purpose was to secure unity of approach between the three Big powers to the manifold difficulties that must arise in liberated territories in Europe. The proposed High Commission would be a temporary body functioning until the World Organisation was set up. It would not include Germany, which was handled by the European Advisory Council; but in any case the scope including the psychological approach was different.

Mr. Stettinius stressed that the Commission would be composed of four members, i. e. by the inclusion of the French, or possibly more.

Mr. Eden made it clear that the British were much attracted by the proposal.

Mr. Matthews said that its presentation to the Russians would require considerable care, as the question of Poland was involved.

Mr. Eden foresaw that one difficulty would be to find members of the Council who would be able to take responsibility for decisions of importance—the Russians would find this particularly difficult. Apart from this there was the further difficulty that responsibility for such decisions vis-à-vis their own public opinion must rest with the Foreign Secretaries of each country, who could neither be permanently in session in a foreign country, nor delegate their duties beyond a certain measure.

[Page 503]

Mr. Stettinius shared this view, but explained that the intention had been that the members of the proposed Council would refer to their home Governments before the Council took decisions of importance.

Mr. Eden raised the further point of the relation between the Council and quarterly meetings of the Foreign Secretaries to which he attached importance. It was felt that it should not be impossible to work [out?] an arrangement combining both plans.

There was some discussion as to the title of the body. It was felt that some title must be found which would not wound the susceptibilities of the smaller Allies and at the same time would not seem to cut across the duties of the European Advisory Council and the Allied Control Commissions in certain enemy countries. It was thought that Mr. Matthews’ suggestion of “Liberated Areas Emergency Council” deserved consideration.

Mr. Stettinius stressed that the proposal must still be regarded as informal and unofficial as the President had not yet approved it. The President had indeed some misgiving that its adoption might prejudice the prospects of the World Organisation which was the question of paramount importance.

Mr. Matthews pointed out that if the idea fructified some public announcement would be necessary as regards it and certain other kindred subjects.

Mr. Stettinius said that the ideal result of Argonaut would be two declarations, one bringing to birth the World Organisation and the other in regard to the Emergency High Commission. American public opinion keenly anticipated a satisfactory declaration as regards the World Organisation in the course of the next week, and if this were not forthcoming its prospects would be seriously jeopardised.

It was agreed that in view of the informality of the proposal the Prime Minister should be advised not to raise the question of the Emergency High Commission with the President.

8. Germany

Some discussion followed on the future of Germany. It was felt that both the political and economic aspects needed working out by some international body.

Mr. Stettinius enquired whether this was not in the province of the European Advisory Council and there was agreement that it was.

Mr. Eden summed up that with the Russians so close to Berlin it was urgently necessary to reach tripartite agreement.

that a common political and economic policy in Germany was required,
that no individual nation should take action without the agreement of the others, and
that the European Advisory Council was the body in which detailed arrangements should be worked out.

Other questions requiring study would be the transfer of population and prisoners of war.

It was agreed that a note should be drafted embodying the views of the two Governments for the use of the President and the Prime Minister at Argonaut.12

9. Dumbarton Oaks

Mr. Eden said that he liked the President’s proposal for overcoming the difficulty as regards voting by the Big Powers.13

Mr. Matthews stressed that its adoption was virtually essential to the creation of the World Organisation.

Sir A. Cadogan agreed that it would hardly be possible to secure the latter with anything less.

At Mr. Stettinius’ request Mr. Hiss briefly described the American proposal. It distinguished between cases involving Enforcement and cases dealt with by Discussion. For the former unanimity in the part of the Great Powers would be necessary, whereas for the latter parties to the dispute, whether Big Powers or small, would not be entitled to vote. He stressed that this proposal, which had been described as a compromise, in effect was not so, but was actually the preferred solution of the United States Government.

Sir A. Cadogan endorsed this and agreed that this point should be made plain to the public.

Mr. Eden agreed.

It was agreed (1) that two types of documents were required; first, a document setting out the American proposal which would be the document to be presented to the Russians; and secondly, brief and clear explanations of it for the information of the President and the Prime Minister; and (2) that if approved it would be for the President to present the plan formally at Argonaut both to Marshal Stalin and to Mr. Churchill.14

Points arising in the event of agreement being reached on Dumbarton Oaks plan.

(a) Position of France and China

It was agreed that the French and Chinese Governments should be consulted as soon as agreement was reached, and if the Russians concurred [Page 505] that the French should be invited to be the Fifth Power sponsoring the plan. The United States Government would be responsible for communicating the documents to and obtaining the concurrence of both the French and Chinese Governments.

(b) The invitations to other States to be present at the eventual United Nations Conference should be issued jointly in the name of all five Governments and by each of them individually. It was realised that the Russian Government might raise some objection to this in connection with China.

10. Polish-German frontier

Mr. Eden said that the apparent desire of the Lublin Provisional Government to secure for Poland large additional sections of Germany involving eight million persons was causing him some anxiety. He thought that Poland was entitled to East Prussia and part of Upper Silesia, and certain other territories up to the Oder.

Mr. Matthews said that that was the American view and referred also to the inclusion of the eastern tip of Pomerania. He stressed also the American view that the transfer of populations should be gradual and not precipitate.

Sir A. Cadogan thought that agreement in principle between the Americans and British on this point might be registered now. This was agreed to.

11. Austro-Yugoslav frontier

Mr. Eden referred to the fact that British troops under the proposed zone arrangement would be responsible for the Austrian frontier with Yugoslavia, and that one could not exclude the possibility that Marshal Tito would wish to occupy part of Austrian territory which was claimed for Yugoslavia. The position would be safeguarded if the three Big Powers were to tell Marshal Tito that the frontiers must remain as they are until the Peace Treaty, at which claims of parties concerned would be settled.

Mr. Stettinius expressed concurrence in this procedure.

12. Conduct of the Russians in Eastern Europe

It was pointed out that there were two main questions on which we had reason for complaint in regard to Russian conduct (a) in connexion with the Control Commissions and (b) in connexion with the British and American oil interest in Roumania.

It was generally felt that while the position on the Control Commission for Roumania was now more satisfactory it was important to insist with the Russians that before the Commissions took action there must be prior consultation with the Americans and British. Should the Russian Government feel obliged to take any unilateral action on [Page 506] military grounds, not covered in the Armistice, this should be taken on their sole responsibility and in the name of the Soviet Government.

It was agreed that the British Delegation should draw up a paper15 which would include Hungary specifying the points on which dissatisfaction was felt with the Russian conduct in Eastern Europe. This paper, if the American Delegation concurred in it, would serve for presentation by Mr. Eden to M. Molotov at some meeting between the three Foreign Secretaries.

13. Civil Supplies

Mr. Eden raised this question and Mr. Stettinius said that he understood that Admiral Land had submitted a paper on the subject. It appeared that the British and American civil authorities were in agreement but it remained to persuade the American military.

It was understood that the next stage would be for the matter to be discussed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and if agreement were not reached by them, between the President and the Prime Minister.

14. Prisoners of War

Sir A. Cadogan said that he understood that the Russian Delegation at Argonaut would include an official who would be prepared to discuss this subject. There were in effect two questions, (a) the treatment of Allied civilian and military prisoners of war who were liberated by the Russians and (b) our own treatment of Russian prisoners of war who came into our hands.

It was agreed that the procedure for handling this with the Russian expert should be discussed by the American and British experts who were present at Cricket .

15. Anglo-American warning to Germany about Allied prisoners of war

Mr. Matthews said that the State Department were disposed to agree with the text proposed by the Foreign Office16 but that the United States War Department had some views on the subject.

It was agreed that the timing of any statement would be important and that the proper time would be when the German collapse seemed imminent or when some German outrage was threatened.17

[Page 507]

16. Treatment of major War Criminals

Mr. Eden said that when this was discussed at Moscow in October Marshal Stalin had disagreed with our view favouring some summary executions and had said that some form of judicial procedure was necessary.18 The Prime Minister was still considering what the British attitude on this subject would be.

  1. The source text for the minutes here printed is a mimeographed paper, slightly amended in pen and ink, and dated February 2, 1945, which states that it is the “Agreed Record” of the meeting. Authorship is not indicated, although the paper is evidently of British origin. It bears the caption “(This Document is the Property of His Britannic Majesty’s Government)” and the notation “Copy No. 38”. Attached to this copy is an identical copy numbered 39; and covering both copies is a memorandum from Dixon to Matthews dated at Yalta February 6, 1945, which reads: “I enclose three copies of the agreed record of the Foreign Secretaries’ meeting at Cricket on February 1st.” On August 13, 1954, Matthews wrote of these minutes: “I think the authorship is probably British and that I personally went over them” (640.0029/8–1354).
  2. Ante, pp. 118123.
  3. The outstanding points were cleared up at lunch with General of the Army Marshall and Field Marshal Brooke, and telegrams were despatched to the Foreign Office and the U. S. Embassy in London with a view to the European Advisory Council being informed of the approval of their Governments of the proposed zones of occupation in Germany. [Footnote in the source paper. See the Foreign Ministers-Chiefs of Staff luncheon meeting, February 1, 1945, post, pp. 514515.]
  4. Ante, pp. 124127.
  5. European Advisory Commission. See ante, p. 110, footnote 1.
  6. Post, pp. 508511.
  7. The text of the Declaration regarding Iran, which was signed by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin at Tehran under date of December 1, 1943, is printed post. pp. 748749.
  8. See ante, pp. 340341.
  9. See ante, pp. 330331.
  10. See the section entitled “The Turkish Straits,” ante, pp. 328329.
  11. See ante, pp. 98100.
  12. It appears that separate American and British papers were drafted pursuant to this agreement. The British paper is printed post, pp. 511512. The American views on the treatment of Germany were included in a memorandum drafted at Malta on February 2 but presented to the President at Yalta on February 4. See post, pp. 567569.
  13. Ante, pp. 5860.
  14. See post, pp. 660661.
  15. Post, pp. 513514, 889890.
  16. Not printed.
  17. For the warning to Germany by Truman, Churchill, and Stalin, released on April 23, 1945, see Department of State Bulletin, April 29, 1945, vol. xii, p. 811.
  18. See ante, p. 400.