The Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) to the Secretary of State 1
I urge that consideration be given to a recommendation to the President that he make a proposal along the following lines at his forthcoming meeting with Marshal Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill:
- There shall be established forthwith a Provisional Security Council for Europe to supervise the reestablishment of popular government and the maintenance of order in the liberated states in Europe and in the German satellite states, pending the establishment of the proposed general international organization of the United Nations.
- The Provisional Security Council for Europe shall be composed of representatives of the Governments of the U. S. S. R., the United Kingdom, the United States and France.
- The Provisional Security Council for Europe shall remain in continuous session. On the motion of any one of its members the Council will consider the situation in any of the countries over which it shall have provisional jurisdiction. In case of necessity, the Provisional Security Council may arrange itself to meet in or to send special representatives to convene in any country where difficulties are occurring or are threatened.
- If there is doubt concerning the status of the government in a liberated country or in a satellite country, the Provisional Security Council for Europe may, in its discretion, inquire into the situation. The Provisional Security Council for Europe shall have the authority to require in such a case the establishment of a coalition government, broadly representative of all elements in the population. Such a [Page 94] coalition government shall be constituted under the direct supervision of the Council or a panel of special observers representing each of the four countries.
- The coalition government thus established shall be regarded as a provisional or care-taker government which, with the support of the provisional Security Council and the four countries represented thereon, shall maintain public order, take such emergency measures as may be required to care for the population and to make arrangements for a free election to be held on a date which in the judgment of the Provisional Security Council for Europe is a satisfactory date.
- This free election shall take place under such national and local supervision of the Provisional Security Council for Europe as may in the Council’s judgment be necessary. This free election shall take the necessary form as to determine the type of government for the country and the choice of the leaders of the government.
- The Governments of the U. S. S. R., the United Kingdom, the United States and France should agree to recognize the governments formed following the free elections described in the foregoing paragraph.
- The Provisional Security Council for Europe shall deal with questions involving actual or potential threats to the peace and aggression in Europe until the establishment of the security council of the United Nations organization; the Provisional Security Council for Europe shall thereupon cease to exist.
It is hoped that the proposed Provisional Security Council for Europe could be established immediately. This would involve exchanges with the French Government in addition to consultation between the Big Three.
It would be exceedingly helpful but not indispensable to have the announcement of the Provisional Security Council for Europe accompanied by a statement that real progress had been made as between the Big Three in settling the remaining 10% of unfinished business at Dumbarton Oaks and that it was expected that a conference of the United Nations would be held at an early date.
It is hoped that the Provisional Security Council for Europe could deal at once with the situations in Greece and Poland. The Soviet Government might well look with favor on the idea of the establishment of the Provisional Security Council for Europe but be reluctant to have it deal with Poland. It would be desirable for every possible effort to be made to induce the Soviet Government to agree to the Provisional Council’s dealing with Poland.
We have a pretty clear idea of the Soviet objectives in Eastern Europe. We know the terms of their settlement with Finland. We know that the three Baltic States have been re-incorporated into the Soviet Union and that nothing which we can do can alter this. It is not a question of whether we like it; I personally don’t like it although I recognize that the Soviet Government has arguments on its side. The point is it has been done and nothing which it is within the power [Page 95] of the United States Government to do can undo it. We know that the Russians will insist on the annexation of a substantial portion of East Prussia and a boundary with Poland roughly in accordance with the Curzon line.2 The Soviet Union has already re-incorporated Bessarabia into its territory. The Soviet Union may insist on minor adjustments in its boundaries with Rumania.
I would favor using any bargaining power that exists in connection with the foregoing matters to induce the Russians to go along with a satisfactory United Nations organization and the proposed Provisional Security Council for Europe to deal with Poland, Greece and other trouble spots. I would favor our agreeing to accept as a fact the re-incorporation of the three Baltic States into the Soviet Union and our recognition of these areas as Soviet territory. This would involve our withdrawing recognition from the three diplomatic representatives of those countries in the United States.
I would favor our agreeing at the appropriate time to accept the transfer of that portion of East Prussia to the Soviet Union which that country insists on having. I would likewise favor our agreeing to accept as a fact at the appropriate time, the Curzon line as a frontier between Poland and the Soviet Union, and to agree to announce publicly such acceptance.
The recognition of the return of Bessarabia to the Soviet Union should present no difficulties to us.
We must have the support of the Soviet Union to defeat Germany. We sorely need the Soviet Union in the war against Japan when the war in Europe is over. The importance of these two things can be reckoned in terms of American lives. We must have the cooperation of the Soviet Union to organize the peace. There are certain things in connection with the foregoing proposals which are repugnant to me personally, but I am prepared to urge their adoption to obtain the cooperation of the Soviet Union in winning the war and organizing the peace. By acting on these things, we may be able to work out a regime which will obtain the cooperation of the Soviet Union for the rest of Europe and the rest of the world. There are good arguments from the Soviet point of view in favor of all of these proposals. I am willing to sponsor and support the Soviet arguments if it will save American lives in winning the war and if it will save the rest of Europe from the diplomacy of the jungle which is almost certain to ensue otherwise.
If the proposals set forth in the foregoing paragraphs should be adopted as the policy of the United States Government, a program should be undertaken immediately to prepare public opinion for them. This would involve off-the-record discussions with Congress, with [Page 96] outstanding newspaper editors and writers, columnists and radio commentators.
Deputy Director, Office of European Affairs
- Copies were sent to Matthews, Pasvolsky, Dunn, and Grew. The text here printed is from the signed orignal.↩
- For the origin and a description of the “Curzon Line,” see Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. xiii, pp. 793–794.↩