Bohlen Collection

Page Minutes
top secret


Points Still Before the Foreign Ministers.
Dumbarton Oaks matters.
Report by Sub-Committee on Form of Invitations and other Details of Arrangements for United Nations Conference.
Questions Relating to the Yugoslav Frontiers.
The Polish Question.
Dumbarton Oaks.
[Page 803]

1. Points still before the Foreign Secretaries.

Mr. Stettinius, who presided, stated that he thought it might be helpful to have a general review of the unfinished items. He stated these were as follows:1

The Report of the February 8 Meeting on Dumbarton Oaks Matters.
This report was modified in principle by general agreement at yester day’s plenary session.
Report by the Sub-Committee on the Form of Invitations and Other Details of Arrangements for the United Nations Conference.
The American Delegation desired to submit a paper on this matter today.2
The plenary session yesterday referred the Polish question to the Foreign Secretaries.
Questions Relating to the Yugoslav Frontiers.

After a brief discussion it was decided to touch upon the Polish question first.

2. The Polish Question.

Mr. Stettinius stated that he would like briefly to comment upon one important point which had not been previously raised. There had been quite a struggle in the United States on American participation in the World Organization. From the standpoint of psychology and public opinion the Polish situation was of great importance at this time to the United States. He hoped with all his heart that the Polish question could be settled before the Crimean Conference broke up.

Mr. Stettinius then read the following statement:3

“After further consideration I agree with Mr. Molotov’s statement that the question of the creation of a Presidential Committee should be dropped and am therefore prepared to withdraw our suggestion on that point.

“I believe that, with this change, our three positions are not far apart on the substance of the governmental question. Mr. Molotov spoke of the reorganization of the Polish Government. The British formula suggests the establishment of a fully representative ‘Provisional Polish Government’ and we speak of the formation of a ‘Government of National Unity.’ All three agree that only the Poles themselves can definitely decide this. All three agree that this government should be composed of members of the present Polish Provisional Government and in addition representatives of other democratic elements inside Poland and some Polish democratic leaders from abroad.

[Page 804]

“The following formula might therefore be considered:

“That the present Polish Provisional Government be reorganized into a fully representative government based on all democratic forces in Poland and including democratic leaders from Poland abroad, to be termed The Provisional Government of National Unity’; Mr. Molotov, Mr. Harriman and Sir Archibald Clark Kerr to be authorized to consult in the first instance in Moscow with members of the present Provisional Government and other democratic leaders from within Poland and from abroad with a view to the reorganization of the present government along the above lines. This ‘Government of National Unity’ would be pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as practicable on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot in which all democratic parties would have the right to participate and to put forward candidates.

“When a ‘Provisional Government of National Unity’ is satisfactorily formed, the three Governments will then proceed to accord it recognition. The Ambassadors of the three powers in Warsaw following such recognition would be charged with the responsibility of observing and reporting to their respective Governments on the carrying out of the pledge in regard to free and unfettered elections.”

Mr. Molotov stated that he would like to obtain a copy of the text of the statement in the Russian language, as he did not feel prepared to reply to the oral statement.

Mr. Eden said that he had some preliminary remarks on Mr. Stettinius’ proposal. He must tell his colleagues frankly of his difficulties in this matter. Many people thought that the Poles had been harshly treated by the British readiness to acquiesce in a frontier on the Curzon Line. He himself had been troubled for some time because, quite apart from the merits of the case, it might become a cause of difficulty between the Soviet Government and the British.

As regards the Lublin Provisional Government, it was possible that he might be quite wrong but he thought it was a fact that hardly anyone in Great Britain believed that the Lublin Government was representative of Poland. He should have thought that that view was widely held in the rest of Europe and in the United States of America. It was for that reason that the document4 which he had put forward the previous day had avoided all mention of adding to the Lublin Government and had stressed that a new start was necessary.

If agreement were reached here, this would involve a transfer of recognition from the London Government to the new Government. The British Government should have to abandon recognition of the London Government and such abandonment would be much easier for it if it were not made in favor of the existing Lublin Government but in favor of a new Government.

The British Government had considerable Polish forces fighting with it—about 150,000 at present—and these forces would increase as [Page 805] more Poles were liberated or escaped from Switzerland. It naturally desired very much to carry them along in any settlement. The task would be easier if a fresh start were made.

He had one other comment which concerned a personality. It had been said that there was considerable opposition to Mr. Mikolajczyk in the Lublin Government. He was not convinced of that. But in any case the presence of Mikolajczyk in a Polish Government would do more than anything else to add to the authority of that Government, and to convince the British people of its representative character.

Mr. Molotov stated that while the American document was being translated he wished to make some comments. Although he could not, of course, go farther than what Marshal Stalin had said yesterday, he recalled that the President had stated that the Polish situation was temporary and could not last for a long time. In the Russian opinion the most important question was the holding as soon as practical of general elections in Poland. These elections would give a basis for a permanent Government and do away with all the difficulties that were facing the Allies at the present time. Marshal Stalin had referred to the provisional period as lasting perhaps one month, whereas the Prime Minister had mentioned two. In any event, it would be a short interval. However, at the present time it was not only a question of Poland but also the rear of the Red Army. Even for a short period, it was essential to the Soviet Union, the United States and the United Kingdom to take this military situation into consideration. If there were any obstacles in the rear of the Red Army an impossible situation would arise. That was why Mr. Molotov had suggested yesterday that the reorganization of the Polish Government should be on the basis of the present Lublin Government with democratic elements from within and without the country added to it.

With respect to Mikolajczyk, Mr. Molotov stated that it might be a mistake to say that he was unacceptable. The Poles themselves must decide this. Conversations must be held with the Poles in and out of Poland. Perhaps the Mikolajczyk question was not as acute as it appeared. However, it could not be cleared up in the Crimea without consulting the Poles. Furthermore, reorganization of the Polish Government could not be undertaken without speaking to the Poles. The Moscow Commission made up of the British and American Ambassadors and Mr. Molotov would have serious tasks to perform. They should discuss the entire question with the Poles and make clear to them the basis reached in the Crimea on the Polish question.

Mr. Eden said he entirely agreed with Mr. Molotov in respect to his remarks on the importance of the Polish elections. However, he [Page 806] felt sure that British opinion would agree that if the elections were controlled by the Lublin Government they would not be free elections or represent the will of the Polish people.

Mr. Stettinius stated that he supported Mr. Eden’s views in full in this respect.

After a brief interruption, Mr. Molotov, on reading a translation of the American proposal, stated that he would be unable to give a final answer to the new American considerations until he had consulted Marshal Stalin. He hoped to be able to do this by four o’clock. However, at the present time, he would like to make a few preliminary comments.

Firstly, it would be inadvisable to place too much emphasis on the formula of the question of the Polish Government before consulting the Poles themselves. He still believed that the new Polish Government should be created on the basis of the Lublin Government. If the three Foreign Ministers agreed to this in principle, it would not be difficult to find a formula.

Secondly, it might be better to leave out reference to the Allied Ambassadors in Warsaw since this reference would undoubtedly be offensive to the Poles as it would indicate that they, the Poles, were under the control of foreign diplomatic representatives. The Ambassadors would, of course, see and report as they desired. In the last analysis the question of a formula was not important—the question of an agreement on the fundamental issues was more so.

Mr. Eden stated that the three Allied Governments considered that a new situation would be created by the complete liberation of Poland by the Red Army. This would call for the establishment of a fully representative provisional Polish Government which could be more broadly representative than was possible before the liberation of Poland. This Government should be comprised of members of the Lublin Government and other democratic leaders in Poland and abroad.

Mr. Eden felt that this Government should be called the Provisional Government of National Unity.

Mr. Molotov continued to stress the advisability of forming the new Government on the basis of the Lublin Government. Otherwise an unstable situation would be established in the rear of the Red Army. This Government would include other representatives from Poland and from without the country.

Mr. Stettinius maintained that it would be preferable to start with an entirely new Government and stated that unless the Foreign Ministers could get away from the words “existing Polish Government”, no agreement could be reached on this question. He suggested that Mr. Molotov give consideration to a formula which would state [Page 807] that the Polish Government should be based upon the old and also on the democratic leaders which will be brought in.

Mr. Molotov maintained that it was very difficult to deal with the Poles and that a serious situation would arise if a period should be created in which there were no Government in Poland. The authority of the present Lublin Government would be undermined. He maintained that if the American or British proposals were adopted everything would be standing in the air and a period of instability would be created in Poland.

Mr. Stettinius pointed out that the present Polish Government would continue until the new Government was formed.

Mr. Molotov maintained that the Poles would know that negotiations were proceeding on a change in government and that the present government would not endure. This would create a situation which might well cause difficulties for the Red Army.

Mr. Stettinius stated that Mr. Eden’s formula avoided this situation.

Mr. Molotov, however, adhered to his former position of insisting that the new Polish Government be formed on the basis of the Lublin Government. He maintained that the matter would have to be discussed with the Poles themselves before any decision could be reached.

Mr. Stettinius inquired as to Mr. Molotov’s reactions with respect to the name of the new Polish Government.

Mr. Molotov replied that this could be taken up at a later date.

Mr. Stettinius stated that under present circumstances it would probably be best to report to the plenary session that the Foreign Ministers had discussed at length the Polish Government question on the basis of the memorandum submitted by the American Delegation and that although they had not yet reached an agreement on the matter they had decided to continue discussions at a later date.

Mr. Harriman asked Mr. Molotov to consider a redraft of the American formula which would contain the words “based on the old and also on other democratic elements from outside and inside Poland.”

Mr. Molotov’s reaction to this suggestion was negative. He appeared to prefer the wording “based on the old government and with the calling in of representatives . . . “5

3. Reparations.

Mr. Stettinius stated that Mr. Molotov had presented to him through Mr. Vyshinski and Mr. Maisky a document on the principles of exacting reparations payments from Germany. He wished now [Page 808] to present some counter proposals which were fundamentally based on the Soviet principles. He then read the following statement:6

  • “1. Reparations are to be received in the first instance by those countries which have borne the main burden of the war and have suffered the heaviest losses and have organized victory over the enemy.
  • “2. Setting aside for the moment the use of German labor by way of reparations, this question to be considered at a later date, reparations in kind are to be exacted from Germany in the two following forms:
    • “(a) Removal in a single payment in [after] the end of the war from the national wealth of Germany located on the territory of Germany herself as well as outside her territory (equipment, machine-tools, ships, rolling stock, German investment abroad, shares of industrial, transport, shipping and other enterprises in Germany, etc.) these removals to be carried out chiefly for the purpose of military and economic disarmament of Germany.
    • “These removals are to be completed within two years of the end of the war.
    • “(b) Annual deliveries of commodities during ten years after the end of the war.
  • “3. The total of German reparations in the form of removal from her national wealth as well as in the form of annual deliveries of commodities after the end of the war shall be the first subject of study by the Moscow Commission. In this study the Commission will take into consideration the effect of whatever common steps ought to be taken for the elimination or reduction of output of various important German industries, from the standpoint of the total decentralization of Germany. The Commission should take into consideration in its initial studies the Soviet Governments suggested total of twenty billion dollars for all forms of reparation.”

Mr. Maisky pointed out that Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the American proposals were acceptable. However paragraph 3 should be more fully clarified. In order to do so he suggested that the Moscow Commission accept the total of $20,000,000,000 “as a basis” for its studies. The final figures arrived at by the Commission might be a little more or less than $20,000,000,000; however, the Soviet Delegation urged that this figure be accepted as the basis.

Mr. Eden stated that the Prime Minister was strongly against stating a figure in the basic principles, even as a basis.

Mr. Molotov stated that the Soviet Delegation was thinking only of the Soviet Union. Mr. Maisky’s Commission had done good work— it had only one defect, that of minimalism.

Mr. Stettinius urged that the question of setting a figure be left to the Commission. He continued that he of course could not commit the United States but that he felt that Mr. Maisky’s figure was reasonable.

[Page 809]

Mr. Molotov inquired whether it would be agreeable to mention only the reparations, in the amount of ten billion dollars, which would go to the Soviet Union.

As a counter-proposal Mr. Stettinius suggested that it merely be stated that 50% of the total sum of reparations collected which would be not specified would go to the Soviet Union.

Mr. Molotov stated that he did not object to this suggestion; however, the exact percentage might be a little more or less than 50% of the amount collected. He again stressed the importance of including a figure in the statement.

Mr. Eden said that his Government well understood the suffering and need of the Soviet Government and would not be niggardly in the apportionment of reparations. However, he would like the Commission to do its work and ascertain the total amount of German reparations.

Mr. Molotov stated that the Soviet delegation was not endeavoring to supersede the work of the Commission but only to give it guidance.

Mr. Stettinius inquired as to what price levels the Soviet Government had in mind.7

Mr. Molotov replied that reparations should be based on 1938 prices since destruction had been in pre-war values.

Mr. Stettinius inquired whether the Soviet Government also had in mind additions of 15% to 20%.

Mr. Molotov said that this was likely.

Mr. Stettinius inquired as to the effect of the dismemberment of Germany on payment of reparations.

Mr. Maisky replied that it would not have any effect on the removal from the national wealth of Germany of German equipment located inside and outside of the country at the termination of the war. It might affect annual payments in the post war years. However, the Soviet Government had taken this into consideration in drawing up its report.

After some discussion the Soviet and American Delegations reached agreement on the wording of the third point to the effect that the Reparations Commission should consider in its initial studies as a basis for discussion suggestion of the Soviet Government that the total sum of the reparations in accordance with the points (a) and (b) of the preceding paragraph should be twenty billion dollars and that 50% of it should go to the Soviet Union,

Mr. Eden stated that he would be obliged to await instructions from his Government.

[Page 810]

4. Dumbarton Oaks.

Mr. Stettinius presented copies of the draft invitation (see attached)8 to the Dumbarton Oaks [United Nations] Conference and stated that it was his understanding that the United States would consult with China and France before the invitations were issued on the Dumbarton Oaks matters which had been discussed in the Crimea.

Mr. Molotov and Mr. Eden agreed to this.

It was pointed out that some differences existed in the invitation submitted at the meeting and a former draft.9 It was suggested that the invitation be referred back to the sub-committee which would report as soon as possible to the Foreign Ministers.10 He explained that he had placed the draft before the meeting in order to get the Foreign Ministers’ consideration of the general principles at this stage so that time could be saved. Without decisions of the Foreign Ministers the sub-committee could not complete its work.

It was also agreed that the paragraph relative to trusteeships should be omitted from the invitation and that the five governments which would have permanent seats on the Security Council should consult each other prior to the conference on the subject of territorial trusteeships and independent areas. This would be done on a diplomatic level.

Mr. Stettinius explained that he did not contemplate any detailed discussions on particular islands or territories but wished to establish the right of the organization to deal with the problem of trusteeships and to set up some machinery.

Mr. Molotov and Mr. Eden indicated agreement.

5. Iran.

Mr. Stettinius inquired whether Mr. Eden wished to bring up the subject of Iran.

Mr. Eden stated that he had submitted a paper on this question.11

Mr. Stettinius remarked that the American Delegation was in entire agreement with the British position, as stated by Mr. Eden yesterday.

Mr. Molotov pointed out that the Soviet Delegation had not had time to give study to Mr. Eden’s paper. The subject was consequently no longer discussed.

6. Yugoslavia.

Mr. Molotov referred to the unstable situation in Yugoslavia and to the Subasic-Tito agreement.12 He stated that he could not understand [Page 811] the British desire to supplement this agreement when steps had not been taken to put the original agreement into force. He proposed that the original agreement be executed and that following this subsequent questions be discussed.

Mr. Eden maintained that the amendments to the agreement which had been suggested by the British Government were reasonable in nature and provided for a more democratic Yugoslavia.13 He could see no harm in the application.

Mr. Molotov continued to maintain that no useful purpose would be served by the submission of supplementary agreements until the original agreement had been effected.

Mr. Stettinius suggested that representatives of Mr. Molotov and Mr. Eden be appointed to draw up a statement on the Yugoslav situation. The British and Russian Ministers agreed to this proposal. Mr. Molotov stated that it would be desirable to state that it had been agreed at the Crimean Conference that the Subasic-Tito agreement should be fully executed.

  1. The memorandum from which Stettinius spoke at this point is printed post, pp. 814815.
  2. See post, pp. 808, 816.
  3. Post, pp. 815816.
  4. Post, pp. 869870.
  5. Points appear in the original.
  6. See also post, p. 816.
  7. See post, p. 816.
  8. Post, p. 817.
  9. Post, p. 818.
  10. Post, p. 819.
  11. Post, pp. 819820.
  12. Ante, pp. 251254.
  13. For the text of the British proposal, see post, p. 821.