Memorandum by Mr. Charles E. Bohlen, Assistant to the Secretary of State for White House Liaison, of a Meeting at the White House, Thursday, March 29, 1945, 11:45 a.m.

Present: The President, Secretary of State, Mr. Grew, Mr. MacLeish, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Bohlen, and Admiral Leahy

1. Issuance of Statement Regarding two Soviet Republics

The Secretary told the President that the news of the Yalta agreement concerning the two Soviet republics had been published and that in order to avoid dangerous and misleading interpretations it was his advice that some statement should be issued. He said that Mr. MacLeish had some clear ideas on the subject and he would ask him to tell the President about them. Mr. MacLeish then briefly outlined the short statement which he had in mind, namely, that the Soviets had raised the question at Yalta and announced their intention to propose at San Francisco the admission of these two republics as initial members of the organization and that the British and American representatives had signified their willingness to support this proposal. The final decision, however, on this complicated question would be made by the Conference. The President authorized Mr. MacLeish to work with Mr. Daniels49 in drawing up the proposed statement to be shown to him before issuance.

2. The Presidents Plans in regard to the San Francisco Conference

The President said he had been thinking over the question of the best time for him to come to San Francisco—whether at the beginning to open the Conference, at the end, or at some other time. He said, that Mr. Early had suggested that if the Conference ran into real difficulties it would be quite dramatic for him to go out there and “wave the magic wand”. The President said, however, that he was dubious of this proposal since there was no certainty that he would be able to “wave the magic wand” and resolve the difficulties. He asked the Secretary’s advice on this point. The Secretary’s reply was that in his opinion it would be preferable for the President to come out and open the Conference and welcome the delegates to the United States. The President said he agreed with this and said he thought he would do just that.50 He said that his present plans were to return from Warm Springs sometime around the middle of April and leave for San Francisco on the 20th. He said he had splendid accommodations fixed up for him at Oakland and he would remain on his private car and only leave it to go to the Conference and make his [Page 167] address. He added that he thought in his speech he would draw on history and would recount the words of the New York Convention in ratifying the Constitution. He said the wording of the ratification expressed “full faith and confidence that the Constitution would be amended to include a bill of rights”. He said he thought he would use this as an analogy in addressing the Conference and point out how it had been necessary to change the United States Constitution from time to time and that the world charter which the Conference was called upon to draw up could likewise be changed and improved, but that the main thing was to get it started and let it develop. At the Secretary’s suggestion the President asked Mr. MacLeish to prepare the first draft of a fifteen minute speech for him and send it down to Warm Springs.51 Mr. MacLeish then left to work out with Mr. Daniels the proposed statement on the two Soviet republics.

3. List of Consultants to San Francisco Conference

The Secretary explained to the President that numerous requests were being received from various American organizations that their representatives should participate in the San Francisco Conference, He said that after most careful study the Department had drawn up a list of organizations which could send one man each to San Francisco in a completely unofficial capacity as consultants or observers. These representatives would have no connection with the United States delegation which would be the only body authorized to speak for the United States but would have an opportunity to present their views to the United States delegation. He said that several Congressional members of the delegation thought that even this arrangement would make for a great deal of complication but were prepared to accept it if the President approved. The President went over the list and asked a number of questions about the organizations listed and inquired whether their representatives would have the right to appear before and participate in committees. The Secretary said they would not have this right and could only express their views to the United States delegation. Mr. Grew explained that a special liaison office would be set up for this purpose. The President approved the list submitted by the Secretary and the general procedure outlined and asked that he be furnished the names of those representatives of the other Government departments who had been designated as observers. In reply to the question as to whether he had told Rabbi Wise that the Zionist organizations could send representatives the President said that he thought they would have the same right as anybody else.

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4. Messages to the Prime Minister

The Secretary then put before the President the draft of the two messages to the Prime Minister52 which the President read with close attention and asked a number of questions on various points. He finally approved and signed both messages without change. (Mr. Bohlen has copies of these messages which he is holding for the Secretary.)

C. E. Bohlen
  1. Jonathan W. Daniels, Administrative Assistant to President Roosevelt.
  2. A White House memorandum of April 9 to the Secretary of State indicated the President’s approval of the Secretary’s suggestion that he address the first plenary session at 4:30 on the afternoon of April 25 (500.CC/4–945).
  3. President Roosevelt was informed by the Secretary in a memorandum of April 7 that Mr. MacLeish would have a draft speech ready by April 12 and would send it to him promptly (500.CC/4–645).
  4. See telegram 729 from President Roosevelt to Prime Minister Churchill, March 29, vol. v, p. 189, and footnote 58, ibid., p. 190.