Bohlen Collection

Bohlen Minutes
top secret


Dismemberment of Germany.
World Security Organization.
Zone of Occupation in Germany for France and French Participation in the Control Commission.

The President said in regard to the Polish question he wished again to emphasize that he was less interested in the tracing of the frontier lines than he was in the problem of the Polish Government. He said that he did not attach any importance to the continuity or legality of any Polish Government since he thought in some years there had in reality been no Polish Government. He added that before proceeding with the Polish question he understood that Mr. Molotov had a report on the meeting of the Foreign Ministers today.

Mr. Molotov then read the results of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting, as follows:

“Decisions Adopted at the Meeting of the Three Ministers of Foreign Affairs, V. M. Molotov, Mr. Stettinius and Mr. Eden

February 7, 1945.

“1. Regarding the Dismemberment of Germany.

(a) A. Y. Vyshinski, Mr. Cadogan and Mr. Matthews were entrusted with the preparation of the final draft of Article 12 of the instrument “unconditional surrender of Germany” having in view the insertion in the text of Article 12 of the word “dismemberment.”

(b) The study of the question of the procedure of the dismemberment of Germany was referred to a committee consisting of Mr. Eden, Mr. Winant and F. T. Gusev.

“2. Regarding the Zone of Occupation in Germany for France.

(a) The allotment to France of a zone in Germany to be occupied by French occupational forces has been agreed upon.

(b) As regards the question of the participation of France in the Control Commission, V. M. Molotov and Mr. Stettinius feel [it] desirable to refer the question to the EAC. Mr. Eden considers it necessary to discuss this question now and to give France a place on the Control Commission.

“3. Regarding the Reparations to be Exacted from Germany.

(a) It was agreed that in the paragraph one of the Soviet proposals mention should be made of sacrifices borne.

(b) It was decided that the residence of the Reparations Committee should be in the City of Moscow. It was agreed that the Committee should begin its work immediately upon the approval of the principles of the exacting of the reparations.

(c) It was decided that the discussion of the two documents relating to the matter of the reparations which have been submitted by V. M. Molotov, first, regarding the basic principles of exacting the reparations [Page 710] from Germany, and, second, regarding the organization of an Allied Reparations Committee, should be continued at the Crimean Conference.”1

The President said that we are all grateful for the productive work of the three Foreign Ministers.

The Prime Minister added that he joined the President in thanking the Committee for their fruitful work but he said that since he had only heard their report orally he would wish to study the English translation, although, except for one point, he felt that he would be in complete agreement.

The President inquired whether the document included Mr. Eden’s reservation on France, to which Mr. Eden replied in the affirmative.

The Prime Minister stated that the British Government was unconvinced by the argument that it would be possible to accord a zone to the French without participation in the Control Commission. If the French were given a zone without participation they would cause endless trouble. If we were strict in our zones, they might be lenient in theirs and vice versa. He felt that it was of the utmost importance that there should be uniformity in the treatment of Germany by the three or four Allies. He repeated that he felt the Control Commission for Germany would be a subordinate instrument as was the case in Italy, although we recognized that the German Commission would have more important tasks. He said he wished to make it clear that he did not consider that French participation in the Control Commission would give them any right to attend a conference such as this one, at least for the time being. He said he must state frankly that he found the arguments on the subject somewhat futile since it was obvious that France would accept no zone unless they were given participation in the Control Commission and he for one thought that they were right. He felt it was no good to refer the question to the European Advisory Commission which was a weaker body and particularly as France was represented on the Commission and only a deadlock could result with the French and British on one side and the Russians and Americans on the other. He therefore was of the opinion that the matter should be settled here, but it still required further study.

Marshal Stalin inquired whether the Prime Minister meant that it should be settled now or later.

The Prime Minister answered that it should be done now, but at some later stage of this Conference.

The President then observed that would it not be better to postpone it for two or three weeks instead of two or three days.

[Page 711]

The Prime Minister answered that he felt that once they had separated after this Conference it would be difficult to settle the question.

Marshal Stalin remarked that the three Governments had been able to settle a good many things by correspondence. Marshal Stalin then said that in the European Advisory Commission they could at least have the benefit of the French opinion which was not represented here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The President said that he agreed that France should not join this body but he was doubtful whether this would keep them quiet. He then suggested that they go on with the Polish question.

Marshal Stalin stated that he had received the President’s letter2 containing the suggestion that they summon here from Lublin two representatives from the Lublin Government and two representatives from other elements of Polish public opinion and that in the presence of these four Poles they should endeavor to settle the question of a new interim government for Poland which would be pledged to hold free elections when conditions permitted. He said he noted that there were three personalities from London, namely, Mr. Mikolajczyk, Mr. Grabski and Mr. Romer, who had been mentioned by the President as possible members of this new government. He said he had received the President’s letter only an hour and a half ago and he had endeavored to reach the Lublin Poles by telephone but had been informed that they were away in Cracow and Lutz [Łódz?]. He had attempted to ascertain their opinion. As to the others, he was not sure that they could be located in time for them to come to the Crimea and he mentioned in this connection especially Vicenta Witos and Sapieha.3 The Marshal added that Mr. Molotov has worked out some proposals on the Polish question which appeared to approach the President’s suggestions, but that these proposals were not typed out. He suggested, therefore, that they proceed to the consideration of the Dumbarton Oaks proposal and he would ask Mr. Molotov to state the views of the Soviet Government.

Mr. Molotov said that yesterday we have heard Mr. Stettinius give a full report and explanations of the President’s proposals and that this report and explanation had been satisfactory and had made the issue clear to the Soviet Delegation. He said that they had always also followed closely Mr. Churchill’s remarks on the subject. He added that after hearing Mr. Stettinius’ report and Mr. Churchill’s remarks, which had clarified the subject, the Soviet Government felt that these proposals fully guaranteed the unity of the Great [Page 712] Powers in the matter of preservation of peace. Since this had been the main Soviet purpose at Dumbarton Oaks and they felt that the new proposals fully safeguarded this principle, he could state that they were entirely acceptable and that they had no comments to offer. He felt that there was full agreement on this subject. Mr. Molotov said that there was one question raised at Dumbarton Oaks, mainly [namely?] that of participation of the Soviet Republics as initial members of the World Organization. He said the Soviet views were known as were those of the British and American Governments. He said the Soviet views were based on the constitutional changes which had occurred in February of last year and he did not think that this Conference should ignore this request.

It was not the Soviet intention to raise the question in the same form as had been done at Dumbarton Oaks, but they would be satisfied with the admission of three or at least two of the Soviet Republics as original members.4 These three Republics were the Ukrainian, White Russian and Lithuanian and he felt that three or at any rate two should have the right to participate as original members. He said that it was superfluous to explain the size, population and importance of the Ukraine, White Russia or Lithuania or their importance in foreign affairs. He said that as these three Republics had borne the greatest sacrifices in the war and were the first to be invaded by the enemy, it was only fair, therefore, that these three or at any rate two be original members. He said that the Soviet Government put these proposals before the President and the Prime Minister and hoped that they would be accepted.

The President then inquired whether Mr. Molotov meant members of the Assembly.

Mr. Molotov replied “yes,” that they should be included among other members of that body. The Dominions of the British Commonwealth have gradually and patiently achieved their place as entities in international affairs. He said he felt that it was only right that three, or at least two, of these Soviet Republics should find a worthy place among the members of the Assembly. Their sacrifices and contributions to the war earned them this place. He said in closing that he wished to repeat that he fully agreed with the President’s proposals and withdrew any objections or amendments but would request that three, or at least two, of the Soviet Republics mentioned above be given a chance to become equal members of the World Organization.

The President said he was very happy to hear from Mr. Molotov the agreement of the Soviet Government to his proposals on voting [Page 713] in the Council. He felt that this was a great step forward which would be welcomed by all the peoples of the world. He said that he thought the next step was to consider the question of summoning a conference to organize the setting up of the World Organization. He said he thought that this conference could take place at the end of March, although it might be physically possible to do it within the next four weeks. He added that he had been greatly interested in what Mr. Molotov had said in regard to the participation of the Soviet Republics. He added that the British Empire, the USSR and the United States were very different in structure and in tradition. The British Empire, for example, had many large units, such as Canada, Australia, etc. The USSR had a different national structure. The United States had one language and one Foreign Minister. He felt, therefore, that Mr. Molotov’s suggestion should be studied, particularly in the light of the possibility that if the larger nations were given more than one vote it might prejudice the thesis of one vote for each member. He mentioned that certain countries are large in area, though small in population and referred in this connection to Brazil which he said was smaller than the USSR but larger than the United States. On the other hand, there were some countries that were small in area but large in population, such as Honduras and Haiti. He also mentioned the fact that there were a number of nations associated with the United Nations, such as Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Iceland, and others, which had broken relations with Germany but which were not at war.5 He concluded with the statement that he felt that the important thing was to proceed with the plans for a conference to set up the World Organization and that the question of the admission of countries not members of the United Nations could be considered either at that time or after the organization was in operation. He said he suggested, therefore, that the question raised by Mr. Molotov should be studied by the Foreign Ministers who might also make recommendations as to the time and place of the conference and as to what nations should be invited.

The Prime Minister said he would like to express his heartfelt thanks to Marshal Stalin and Mr. Molotov for this great step forward which he felt would bring joy and relief to the peoples of the world. On the question of membership of the Soviet Republics, he said this had been put before us for the first time. He said he must agree with the President that the United States and the British Empire were different, that during the last twenty-five years the Self-Governing Dominions have taken their place in world affairs and have worked for peace and, if he might say so, for the furtherance of Democratic [Page 714] processes. The Dominions had come into the war when Great Britain declared war against Germany, knowing full well the weakness of Great Britain at that time. Great Britain had had no means of forcing them into this decision and into which [sic] they knew they could not often be consulted on major matters. He said that Great Britain could not agree to any organization which would reduce the status of the Dominions or exclude them from participation. That is why, Mr. President, the Prime Minister said, he had great sympathy with the Soviet request. His heart went out to mighty Russia which though bleeding was beating down the tyrants in her path. He said he could understand their point of view, as they were represented by only one voice in comparison with the British organization which had a smaller population, if only white people were considered. He was glad, therefore, that the President had made an answer to the Soviet proposal which in no way constituted a final negation. He added, however, that he could not exceed his authority and as he had just heard this proposal he would like to discuss it with the Foreign Secretary and possibly communicate it to London and he asked Marshal Stalin to excuse him as he could not give a precise answer today.

The President remarked that his recommendations had been somewhat different. He had merely meant that the Foreign Ministers should study the question as well as that of the time and place of the conference and who should be invited.

The Prime Minister said that he did not disagree with the President’s suggestions but he felt that the Foreign Ministers had already had a good deal of work thrust upon them. He said he must speak frankly and say that he foresaw difficulties in attempting to hold a meeting as soon as March. The battle would be at its height and more soldiers would be involved than at any time of the war. British domestic problems would be very pressing and their Ministers, including the Foreign Secretary, would be greatly occupied in Parliament. He also wondered whether the state of the world and in Europe in particular was not such as to make very difficult a meeting of all of the United Nations. He doubted whether any representatives at such conference would be able to have behind them the full thought of the vital forces of their countries.6

The President observed that he had only in mind a meeting to organize the setting up of the world organization, and that the world organization itself would probably not come into being for from three to six months after the conference.

[Page 715]

The Prime Minister said that he had in mind the fact that some nations in March would still be under the German yoke and would be represented by governments in exile whose authority in regard to their own people would be questionable. Other countries would be starving and in misery, such as Holland. France would be there with a loud voice. There would be other countries represented there who had not suffered at all in the war and who had not lost a man. He wondered how such a gathering could really undertake the immense task of the future organization of the world.

The President repeated his proposal, namely, that the Foreign Ministers could consider (1) the Soviet proposal regarding membership, (2) the date and place of the conference, and (3) what nations should be invited.

The Prime Minister said he had no object[ion] to the Foreign Ministers discussing this point but he said he must emphasize that this was no technical question but one of great decision. With this qualification, he agreed to the President’s proposal.

Marshal Stalin remarked that the Foreign Ministers will not make decisions but merely report to the Conference.

There was a short intermission at this point.

The Prime Minister said that he proposed that the Foreign Ministers should consider the question of Iran and other matters of perhaps secondary importance but which should be considered.

The President and Marshal Stalin agreed.7

The President then said, jokingly, that he hoped that forestry would be one of the points considered since he had not seen a tree in his visit last year to Tehran. He went on to say that he thought Iran was a good example of the type of economic problem that might confront the world if we are to bring about expansion of world trade and greater exchange of goods. He said that Persia did not have the purchasing power to buy foreign goods, and if expansion of world trade was to occur measures must be considered for helping those countries like Persia that did not have any purchasing power. He mentioned that before the advent of the Turks, Persia had had plenty of timber and thus plenty of water and her people had been reasonably prosperous, but that he personally had never seen a poorer country than Persia was at the present time. He therefore very much hoped that the new world organization would conduct a world-wide survey with a view to extending help to countries and areas that did not have sufficient purchasing power, either in cash or in foreign exchange.

The President added that there was a parallel, he thought, in [Page 716] Europe in that certain countries had adequate supplies of power, such as coal and water power, and those countries had cheap and abundant electric power, whereas other countries within fifty miles had neither. He felt that this situation was wrong. He mentioned that in the Soviet Union and its various republics consideration had been given to the problem of a country as a whole, and in the United States the TVA had the same idea. He mentioned that in the region of the TVA electric current was sold at the same price throughout the area. He concluded that, having said his piece, he would now refer to Mr. Molotov for his proposals in regard to the Polish question.

Mr. Molotov then read his proposals in regard to the Polish question, as follows:

It was agreed that the line of Curzon should be the Eastern frontier of Poland with a digression from it in some regions of 5–8 kilometers in favor of Poland.
It was decided that the Western frontier of Poland should be traced from the town of Stettin (Polish) and farther to the South along the River Oder and still farther along the River Neisse (Western).
It was deemed desirable to add to the Provisional Polish Government some democratic leaders from Polish émigré circles.8
It was regarded desirable that the enlarged Provisional Polish Government should be recognized by the Allied Governments.
It was deemed desirable that the Provisional Polish Government, enlarged as was mentioned above in paragraph 3, should as soon as possible call the population of Poland to the polls for organization by general voting of permanent organs of the Polish Government.
V. M. Molotov, Mr. Harriman and Sir Archibald Clark Kerr were entrusted with the discussion of the question of enlarging the Provisional Polish Government and submitting their proposals to the consideration of the three Governments.

After reading the proposals, Mr. Molotov said he would like to add that they had attempted to reach the Poles in Poland by telephone but they had been unable to do so and it was apparent that time would not permit the carrying out of the President’s suggestion to summon the Poles to the Crimea. He said he felt that the proposals he had just put forward went far toward meeting the President’s wishes.9

The President replied that he must say he felt progress had been made in the light of Mr. Molotov’s suggestions. He said there was just one word he did not like and that was “émigré”. He said he did not see any necessity to go to émigrés since you could find enough Poles in Poland for the purpose. He repeated what he had said yesterday, namely that he did not know any of the Poles in the [Page 717] Poland government in London and he knew only Mr. Mikolajczyk. He concluded by saying he would like to have an opportunity, with Mr. Stettinius, to study Mr. Molotov’s proposals, to which Marshal Stalin agreed.10

The Prime Minister said he shared the President’s dislike of the word “émigré”. The word had originated during the French revolution and meant in England a person who had been driven out of a country by his own people. He said in the case of the Poles this wasn’t true, since they had left their country as a result of the brutal German attack. He therefore preferred in place of the word “émigré” to refer to them as “Poles temporarily abroad”. He said in regard to the second point of Mr. Molotov’s proposals he would always support the movement of Polish frontiers to the west since he felt they should receive compensation, but not more than they can handle. He said it would be a pity to stuff the Polish goose so full of German food that it got indigestion. He said he felt that there was a considerable body of British public opinion that would be shocked if it were proposed to move large numbers of Germans, and although he personally would not be shocked he knew that that view existed in England. He said he felt if it were confined to East Prussia, six million Germans probably could be handled quite aside from moral grounds, but the addition of the line west of the Neisse would create quite a problem in this respect.

Marshal Stalin remarked that most Germans in those areas had already run away from the Red Army.

The Prime Minister said this, of course, simplified the problem, and in regard to the question of space in Germany for these deported persons he felt that the fact that Germany had had six to seven million casualties in this war and would probably have a million more would simplify that problem.

Marshal Stalin replied that the Germans might well have one or possibly two million more casualties.

The Prime Minister said that he wasn’t afraid of the problem of transfer of populations provided that it was proportioned to the capacity of the Poles to handle it and the capability of the Germans to receive them. He felt, however, that it needs study, not only in principle but as a practical matter. He said he had one other comment. In the Soviet proposal some reference should be made to other democratic leaders from within Poland itself.

Marshal Stalin agreed and the words “and from inside Poland” were added at the end of paragraph 3 of the Soviet statement.

[Page 718]

The Prime Minister then concluded that he agreed with the President that it would be well to sleep on this problem and take it up tomorrow, but he did feel that some progress had been made.

At the President’s suggestion the meeting was adjourned until four o’clock tomorrow afternoon.

  1. Text of report also in the Hiss Collection.
  2. For the text of this letter, see post, pp. 727728.
  3. See post, p. 989.
  4. For a facsimile of a note which Roosevelt passed to Stettinius at this point, see Stettinius, p. 174.
  5. It appears that the note of Hopkins, post, p. 729, was passed to the President at about this point.
  6. It appears that the notes of Hopkins and Roosevelt, post, p. 729, were written at about this point. For a facsimile of a note regarding Stimson’s views on this subject which Stettinius passed to Roosevelt at this time, see Stettinius, p. 177.
  7. For a facsimile of a note regarding a TVA for Europe which Hopkins passed to Roosevelt at this point, see Stettinius, p. 179.
  8. The words “and from inside Poland” were added at the end of this paragraph in the subsequent discussion.
  9. For a facsimile of a note suggesting that the Soviet proposal on Poland be referred to the Foreign Ministers, which Hopkins passed to Roosevelt at this point, see Stettinius, p. 185.
  10. For a facsimile of a note regarding boundaries, which Stettinius passed to Roosevelt during this discussion, see Stettinius, p. 183.