Learn about the beta
Office of the Historian

Introduction

In February 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt conferred with Prime Minister Churchill at Malta in the Mediterranean, with Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin at Yalta in the Crimea, and again with Churchill at Alexandria in Egypt. Since these three conferences were thus closely related chronologically, it was initially decided to include the documentation of all three conferences in the present volume. No unpublished documentation could be found, however, for the Alexandria Conference, which consisted merely of a private conversation on February 15 between Roosevelt and Churchill. Apparently no record of this conversation was made either by or for the President, and no documents were prepared for, or were produced at, the Alexandria discussion. Accordingly, the present volume is limited in fact to the conferences at Malta and Yalta.1

The Malta Conference, which began on January 30 and lasted through February 2, consisted of a series of discussions designed primarily to coordinate American and British views on a number of important problems which were expected to come up with the Russians at Yalta a few days later. Most of the Malta discussions concerned military topics and centered around five meetings of the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff. The first four of these meetings were held at Montgomery House, in a suburb of Valletta, while the fifth, with Roosevelt and Churchill in attendance, was aboard the U. S. S. Quincy. There were also political discussions, one of which took place aboard H. M. S. Sinus, between Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., and the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden, together with their principal advisers.

President Roosevelt arrived at Malta on the morning of February 2 and participated during that day in discussions ashore and aboard the [Page XII]U. S. S. Quincy with Prime Minister Churchill and with the American and British Chiefs of Staff.

Most of the American and British representatives who participated in the Malta Conference proceeded by plane on February 3 to the Crimea, where the tripartite conference with the Russians took place from February 4 to February 11. Although the officially approved name of this meeting was “The Crimea Conference”, the term “Yalta Conference” has become so widely accepted that it has been used throughout the present volume. As a matter of fact, the conference did not meet in the city of Yalta itself. The American delegation was housed in Livadia Palace about two miles southwest of Yalta on the coastal road, and it was here that a majority of the conference meetings were held. The Soviet delegation occupied the Yusupov Palace, located several miles farther west in the village of Koreiz, while the British delegation was accommodated in the Vorontsov Villa at Alupka, about two miles beyond Koreiz. Although the names “Koreiz” and “Alupka” have been retained on those few documents in this volume on which they appear, the editors have used only the word “Yalta” as the designation of the conference site wherever such indication needed to be supplied.

Scope of Coverage

The editors have presented in this volume as definitive and comprehensive a coverage of the Malta and Yalta conferences as could be made at the present time. To achieve this purpose it was necessary to obtain much documentation that was never in the files of the Department of State, notably presidential and military papers.

A few papers pertinent to the Malta and Yalta conferences had been obtained by the Department of State from the White House, beginning as early as 1946. By 1950 all White House papers prepared by or for President Roosevelt had been sent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, New York. In order to facilitate the collection of source material for the present volume the Department of State in 1953 asked for the cooperation of the Roosevelt Library. The Director of this Library, with the approval of the Archivist of the United States, set up a special project to identify and microfilm for the editors of this volume all documents pertinent to these two conferences from the Roosevelt and Hopkins Papers in the custody of the Library.

Since the files of the Department of State contained very few papers on the military staff discussions at Malta and Yalta, the Department of State also obtained the assistance of the Department of Defense in locating and releasing documents from the military records of these conferences. This type of material consists of papers documenting the official position or advice of the War and Navy Departments on [Page XIII]politico-military subjects discussed at the international level, as presented by the civilian leaders of those departments and by the American Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff, together with instructions and interpretations on such subjects given to those departments by the President. In addition, a few other papers originating with or transmitted by military authorities have been included where appropriate to clarify references or to set forth information pertinent to the conferences which was given to the President or to his principal advisers. In the selection of military papers the emphasis has been placed upon those relating to subjects with significant implications for the foreign relations of the United States.

This volume, therefore, includes the relevant papers on the Malta and Yalta Conferences from the files of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, together with some papers obtained earlier from the White House. The conference documentation as a whole is not so complete as might be desired, since records of some of the conference discussions do not exist, and since there may be papers of significance among private collections to which access has not been granted.

The editors have sought access to the private papers of individuals who attended the conferences. Certain of these persons have contributed useful comments and suggestions, and some have written memoirs which have been of great value in compiling this official record. Some papers have not become available for inclusion, among them the personal notes of Mr. James F. Byrnes, Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion at that time; the personal papers of Mr. W. Averell Harriman, Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time; and, more particularly, the papers of Mr. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., who was present as Secretary of State.

Organization of the Volume

The volume is divided into three major segments. Part I contains pre-conference background material; Part II presents the records of the conference at Malta; Part III consists of the records of the Yalta Conference.

The inclusion of the background material comprising Part I (Chapters 1–4) was necessitated by the fact that the annual Foreign Relations volumes for the years of World War II have not yet been published. Accordingly, the editors felt obliged to include in this volume a considerable quantity of pre-conference material in order to indicate at least the general outlines of the historical setting in which the conferences at Malta and Yalta took place. Chapter 1 of this pre-conference documentation shows how the arrangements were made for holding the conferences. Chapter 2 contains correspondence, memoranda, and Briefing Book papers showing the pre-conference status of [Page XIV]United States policy on the principal subjects discussed at Malta and Yalta. For most of these subjects, the documentation presented herein goes back no further than the autumn of 1944. Obviously a full historical coverage of these subjects will have to await the appearance of the Foreign Relations volumes for the years 1941–1945. Chapter 3 comprises excerpts pertinent to those conference subjects from the so-called Record (official diary) of Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., for the period from December 1, 1944, the day on which he took the oath of office as Secretary, to January 23, 1945, the day before he left Washington for the trip to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. (His records for the conferences themselves are not available.) Chapter 4 contains two high-level reports surveying the broad lines of Soviet policy on the eve of the conferences.

The records of the conferences themselves (Parts II and III) are organized as follows: (1) At the beginning of each conference (Chapters 5 and 7) there are presented those portions of President Roosevelt’s Log which pertain to the days of each conference.2 This furnishes an over-all calendar of events for the one day on which the President was in attendance at Malta and for all eight days of the conference at Yalta.

(2) Following the excerpts from the Log for each conference, there appear the minutes and related documents of Malta and Yalta respectively, arranged by meetings in chronological order (Chapters 6 and 8). The documents, regardless of their respective dates and subjects, have been placed after the minutes of the meeting to which they refer, or at which they were first discussed.

(3) For the Yalta Conference there are three additional chapters containing documents of a type not found for Malta. Chapter 9, entitled “Other Conference Documents”, contains papers which bear directly on Yalta discussions but are not closely enough related to any specific minutes to be included in Chapter 8. Chapter 10 presents literal prints of the English texts of the agreements signed at Yalta. Chapter 11 consists of such hitherto unpublished documents as could be found which were prepared by conference participants after the conference, describing factually certain of the proceedings at Yalta.

Categories of Conference Records

The records of the conferences themselves fall into three major categories: (1) minutes of international discussions in which American representatives participated with either the British or the Russians or both; (2) documents which figured in the international negotiations at the conferences; (3) intradelegation documentation relating to [Page XV]conference subjects. The scope of coverage in each of these categories is as follows:

(1) Minutes of International Meetings—Even with the addition of documents from the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, the official American record of the international discussions at these conferences contains some gaps. For Malta there are minutes (reproduced herein) of all the meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, but on the political side there are minutes for only one of the several meetings of the Foreign Secretaries and no American minutes of the Roosevelt-Churchill talks. With respect to the Yalta conference there are minutes of all international military meetings in which the United States Chiefs of Staff participated, and these are included in this volume. No records have been found, however, of the private Roosevelt-Churchill meetings. There are minutes or notes on most of the other political discussions but these are not so complete or definitive as might be desired. On this point the late Secretary of State Stettinius wrote as follows:

“It would . . . have been better at Yalta to have had a stenographic record made of the discussions. The record then could have been distributed to and approved by each delegation and become the official record of the proceedings. There was, however, no single official record of the meetings, nor was there any stenotypist recording every word. Instead, each delegation kept its own minutes. Bridges, for instance, took notes in shorthand for the British, while Bohlen had the double task of interpreting and note taking for the United States. In addition, some members of the American delegation, at least, kept their own personal notes. Every noon at the foreign ministers’ meetings to discuss problems assigned by the three leaders, Edward Page of the American Embassy in Moscow served both as interpreter and as note taker for the American delegation. …”

“The military followed a different practice in keeping a record of their discussions. Although each of the three nations had its own representative taking notes, these three individuals cleared their versions with each other and with all the participants. In the case of the diplomatic discussions, this practice was unfortunately not followed. ...” 3

In view of this situation the editors decided to include in this volume all available minutes or notes on the international political discussions at Yalta. Thus for a majority of the political meetings at Yalta there will be found in this volume two or more accounts, generally in the form of minutes prepared by Charles E. Bohlen, Edward Page, or H. Freeman Matthews, or rough notes in abbreviated long-hand taken by Matthews or Alger Hiss.

(2) Documents Considered at International Meetings—This category comprises proposals, memoranda, and correspondence, of [Page XVI]American, British, or Russian origin, that were actually submitted or exchanged as a part of the international negotiations at the conferences. It also includes, of course, the international documents signed at Yalta. For both Malta and Yalta, documents of this type have been included for military, as well as political, subjects.

(3) Intradelegation Documentation—This type of documentation includes minutes or notes on discussions within the United States Delegation bearing directly on the subjects under negotiation at the conferences with either the British or the Russians or both. It also includes memoranda and correspondence on such subjects within the United States Delegation or between the Delegation and other officers of the United States Government. At Malta and Yalta there were frequent meetings of top civilian advisers with the Secretary of State or the President to discuss political subjects under negotiation at the conferences, but apparently no minutes of these discussions were prepared. Such notes as could be found on these discussions have been included, together with all significant intradelegation memoranda dealing with international conference subjects.

On the military side, minutes were regularly kept of the meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Malta and Yalta. Those portions of these minutes which relate to subjects under international negotiation at the conferences are included in this volume, together with such related documents as are not adequately summarized in the minutes themselves.

Unpublished Sources

Only a small proportion of the total documentation published in this volume was found in the indexed Central Files of the Department of State. Documents which came from those files are indicated by a file number, in the usual style of Foreign Relations. The great majority of documents in this volume came either from unindexed files (i. e., special collections) within the Department of State or from documentary collections outside the Department. These sources are indicated by brief headnotes above each document. The files and collections so indicated are described in the following paragraphs.

a. inside the department of state

1. Bohlen Collection—This collection consists of the Yalta minutes and documents collected by Charles E. Bohlen, then Assistant to the Secretary of State, who served as interpreter for the President at Yalta. It contains all the minutes of the plenary meetings at Yalta which were prepared by Bohlen. It also includes one memorandum of conversation dictated by Averell Harriman and the minutes of the meetings of the Foreign Ministers at Yalta which were taken by Edward Page, Jr., then Second Secretary of the American Embassy at Moscow, who served as interpreter for Secretary Stettinius. Also [Page XVII]in the collection are copies of the more important conference documents and one paper of British origin dating from Malta. The Bohlen Collection, while by no means complete, has been regarded by the Department and the White House as the nearest approach to an official American record of the Yalta Conference.

2. Hiss Collection—This collection consists of the notes and documents pertaining to Yalta which were collected by Alger Hiss, then Deputy Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs. The collection contains the original penciled notes taken by Hiss at a number of meetings at Yalta, together with a roughly chronological assortment of conference papers and United States Delegation working memoranda and notes prepared by Hiss and others at Yalta. The collection also contains one paper prepared at Malta, a few Yalta papers of British origin, and several papers prepared in the spring of 1945 which pertain to subjects discussed at Yalta. The original Hiss notes on the Yalta meetings have been printed in this publication as nearly facsimile as feasible. A number of memoranda prepared by Hiss at Yalta were not included in this particular collection but were found elsewhere in the UNA files of which this collection formed a part.

3. Matthews Files—The files accumulated in the office of H. Freeman Matthews, then Director of the Office of European Affairs. These voluminous files contain a number of Yalta papers not in other collections. They also contain the original penciled notes taken by Matthews at six plenary meetings and four Foreign Ministers’ meetings at Yalta. The Matthews notes on the plenary meetings had been transcribed by Matthews into smooth minutes and these have been reproduced in this volume. The rough notes on the Foreign Ministers’ meetings, which Matthews had not transcribed, are reproduced; in this volume as nearly facsimile as feasible.

4. UNA Files—The files of the Bureau (Office) of United Nations Affairs (now the Bureau of International Organization Affairs). These files contain a voluminous collection of documents regarding the establishment of the United Nations and related subjects.

5. Executive Secretariat Files—These files provided the only copy that could be found in the Department of State of the Yalta Briefing Book.

6. L/T Files—The files of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Treaty Affairs.

7. EE Files—The files of the Office (Division) of Eastern European Affairs.

8. EUR Files—The files of the Bureau (Office) of European Affairs.

9. Moscow Embassy Files—Certain files of the American Embassy at Moscow for the period 1936–1950 which are now in the Department of State.

[Page XVIII]

10. EAC Files—The files of the United States Delegation to the European Advisory Commission, now in the Department of State.

11. FEC Files—The files of the Far Eastern Commission, now in the Department of State.

b. outside the department of state

1. White House Files—From these files there was obtained a copy of the booklet containing the Log of the President’s trip to Malta and Yalta.

2. J. C. S. Files—The files of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. These files provided not only Joint Chiefs of Staff material but also Combined Chiefs of Staff documentation. The approval of the British Chiefs of Staff, along with that of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, was obtained for the declassification of Combined Chiefs of Staff documentation.

3. Defense Files—The files of the Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries of War and Navy and other relevant files.

4. Treasury Files—The files of the Department of the Treasury. One pre-Yalta paper printed in this volume was obtained from these files.

5. Roosevelt Papers—The papers of President Roosevelt in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, New York. The Roosevelt Papers were particularly valuable for the heads-of-government correspondence, most of which was not in the files of the Department of State.

6. Hopkins Papers—The papers of Harry L. Hopkins, located in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, New York. A few notes written by Hopkins to the President during plenary meetings at Yalta were found. There were no other Yalta papers of a unique nature, since Hopkins was too ill at Yalta to participate fully in the conference.

Published Sources

In addition to the Department of State Bulletin, the two official publications listed below were found to be the most convenient sources for citations to previously published documents referred to in this volume:

Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation 1939—1945

  • Department of State Publication 3580 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1949). Hereafter cited as “Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation”.

A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941–49

  • Senate Document No. 123, 81st Congress, 1st Session (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1950). Hereafter cited as “Decade”.

The most authoritative unofficial publications containing basic data on the conferences at Malta and Yalta are the following books, [Page XIX]which were written by conference participants or from the papers of participants:

James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (New York: Harper and Bros., 1947). Hereafter referred to as “Byrnes”.

Winston S. Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1953), volume VI of the series The Second World War. Hereafter referred to as “Churchill”.

John R. Deane, The Strange Alliance: The Story of Our Efforts at Wartime Cooperation with Russia (New York: The Viking Press, 1947). Hereafter referred to as “Deane”.

Ernest J. King and Walter Muir Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1952). Hereafter referred to as “King”.

William D. Leahy, I Was There: The Personal History of the Chief of Staff to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Based on His Notes and Diaries Made at the Time (New York: Whittlesey House, 1950). Hereafter referred to as “Leahy”.

Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York: Harper and Bros., 1948). Hereafter referred to as “Sherwood”.

Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Roosevelt and the Russians: The Yalta Conference (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1949). Hereafter referred to as “Stettinius”.

While much information is contained in these books that is not in the official record, it would be neither feasible nor appropriate to reproduce such material in this volume. Citations have been made to these books, however, for statements of fact which are specifically supplementary to, or at variance with, the official record as presented herein. A few other unofficial but authoritative books which touch on aspects of the pre-conference negotiations have also been cited at appropriate points in this volume.

Testimony given in congressional hearings by participants in the Malta and Yalta conferences has also been studied for factual additions to the record, and citations to such statements have been made at appropriate points in the volume.

Editorial Treatment

In the documents presented in this volume the editors have corrected only obvious typographic errors. All permissible variations in spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been retained as in the original text. The data appearing in the headings and subscriptions of the original documents (place, date, addressee, method of transmission, and classification) have been harmonized by the editors into a reasonably standard pattern in the headings as printed herein. Any substantive titles appearing on the original documents have been retained.

The classification of the document (top secret, secret, confidential, or restricted) is included in the printed heading if such information appears on the document itself. It should be noted, however, that in 1944 and 1945 many documents were not given any formal classification, [Page XX]although they were handled as if classified and were in some instances so marked subsequently. The editors have endeavored to reproduce in this volume the original classification of the document (if any), disregarding subsequent modifications thereof. In instances in which the classification was stamped rather than typed on the text copy, it is possible that this classification was applied subsequently and did not appear on the document as originally prepared.

Most of the minutes and notes presented in this volume contained lists of participants for each meeting reported on. In order to avoid the useless repetition of such lists and to harmonize differences in spelling, the editors have compiled a single list of the names of participants for each meeting of each conference. A complete list of persons mentioned in the volume will be found on pages xxv–xxxviii, with indications as to whether they were present at Malta, at Yalta, or at both places during the time of the conferences.

All telegraphic instructions of the Department of State are issued over the name of the Secretary or Acting Secretary, although in many cases the name of the Secretary or Acting Secretary is actually signed by an appropriate official of lower rank who subscribes his own initials. In the telegrams printed in this volume, such initials have been retained as a part of the signature, with a bracketed indication in each case of the identity of the signing officer. Similarly, in the case of those third-person communications which are customarily initialed rather than signed, the initials have been retained, together with a bracketed indication of the name of the initialing officer.

In accordance with the customary practice in the Foreign Relations series, a limited number of omissions are made in order (1) to avoid giving needless offense to other nationalities or individuals, (2) to protect defense information in accordance with Executive Order 10501, and (3) to condense the record, as, e. g. by eliminating items that are merely repetitious, or not germane. All deletions have been indicated by marks of ellipsis (three or seven dots) at the appropriate points in the documents as printed.

A consolidated list of abbreviations, symbols, and code names will be found immediately following this introduction. A list of papers will be found beginning on page xxxix.

  1. According to the President’s Log for February 15, 1945, the conversation with Prime Minister Churchill at Alexandria took place aboard the U. S. S. Quincy from 12:25 to 3:56 p. m., with an interruption for lunch at which the President was host to seven guests. (For description of the Log, see post, p. 459.) Fleet Admiral Leahy says that the luncheon “was a pleasant social gathering in the President’s cabin and I do not recall that affairs of state intruded into the conversation” (I Was There, p. 327). The meeting is also mentioned by Churchill in his The Second World War, vol. vi, Triumph and Tragedy, p. 397, and by Sherwood in Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 872. The only indications of the substance of the Roosevelt-Churchill conversation at Alexandria appear to be those contained in a White House press release dated February 20, 1945 (Department of State Bulletin, February 25, 1945, vol. xii, pp. 259–291) and in an address by Churchill in the House of Commons on February 27, 1945 (Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th ser., vol. 408, cols. 1285–1286). According to these sources the conversation dealt with the prosecution of the war against Japan and the coordination of Anglo-American policy in Italy.
  2. For description of the Log, see post, p. 459.
  3. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Roosevelt and the Russians: The Yalta Conference (New York, 1949), pp. 103104.