Memorandum of Conversation 1
Subject: Examination of the Draft Relating to Prisoners of War and Civilians Liberated by the Soviet and Allied Armies.2
Examination of the Draft Relating to Prisoners of War and Civilians Liberated by the Soviet and Allied Armies
Article II paragraph 1.
Mr. Novikov requested that the words “undertake to follow all” be replaced by the words “at the same time take the necessary steps to implement.”
Article II, paragraph 3.
Mr. Novikov requested that the words “notifying the competent Soviet or Allied authorities” be replaced by “effected as a rule by agreement or in any case only after notification to the competent Soviet or Allied authorities.”
Mr. Novikov said that he would prefer the text of Article III of the Soviet draft.3 This reads as follows:
“3. The competent British and Soviet authorities will supply liberated Soviet citizens and British subjects with food, clothing, housing and medical attention both in camps or points of concentration and en route, and with transport until they are handed over to the authorities at the other side at places agreed upon between the sides on the following basis:
“(a) Ex-prisoners of war shall be provided with all forms of supply (stores and food) on a basis laid down respectively for privates, non-commissioned officers and officers.
“(b) Civilians will be supplied on a basis laid down for privates.
“The parties will not mutually demand compensation for these or other services which their authorities may respectively supply to liberated Soviet citizens or British subjects.”
It will be noticed that the Soviet draft makes no mention of UNRRA or other relief agencies and makes special provision of supplies to civilians.[Page 865]
In endeavoring to find a compromise the British suggested a draft omitting the first three lines of Article III (up to the parenthetical statement) and revise the last sentence of the first paragraph to read as follows:
“The standards of such food, clothing, housing and medical attention shall make distinction between military rank but shall apply to liberated civilians and liberated members of the respective forces.”
The Soviets explained that the reference to UNRRA was superfluous since there was nothing in the agreement which would bar UNRRA or any other relief agency from operating. They said they would refer the British re-draft to their Government.
The Soviets requested the insertion of the words “in agreement with the other party” twice after the words “liberty to use.”
The British wish to add the words “except for the cases of payment of Lira in Italy which shall be subject to future discussions” at the end of the second paragraph.
The Russians stated that they thought this insertion should read “except for the cases of payment of Lira,_______, and_______, in Italy, Rumania, and Bulgaria which shall be the subject of future discussions.”
The British pointed out that they had added a new sentence which had not as yet been approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This sentence which comes at the end of the article, reads as follows:
“Any liberated member of the respective forces who is unwilling to perform such will be exercised under similar supervision.”
In addition to the above comments, it was considered advisable to include an additional article reading to the effect that “the agreement enters into force upon signature.”
The British representative also stated that his Government desired to exchange notes with the Soviet Government concerning nationals of other countries, (Belgium, Holland, Poland), in British uniform who were liberated by the Russian armies.[Page 866]
The question also came up as to whether a tri-lateral or two bilateral agreements should be signed. The Russians indicated that they were prepared to sign either document.
It was suggested that a further meeting be called tomorrow at 3:30 p. m.4 and that endeavors be made to have the documents signed by Mr. Molotov, Mr. Eden and Mr. Stettinius no later than Sunday.
- Authorship not indicated, but Page has stated that this memorandum was drafted by him (telegram from Paris, September 15, 1954, 740.5/9–1554).↩
- The draft under discussion was the draft approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff on February 8, 1945 (ante, pp. 754–756).↩
- Ante, pp. 416–418.↩
- No minutes of such a meeting have been found.↩