840.50/3–1545: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

2714. The Soviet representative at the meeting this morning reaffirmed the Soviet Government’s desire to proceed with ECO but on EEC he took, on behalf of his Government, the native [negative?] position which we predicted in Embassy’s 2599, March 13, 8 p.m.

[Page 1434]

1. Borishenko showed anxiety to reach agreement on ECO as soon as possible but raised some questions concerning the last sentence of A (I) and concerning A (V). In the discussion some advance was made in clarifying the issues but in view of Borishenko’s difficulties in following a detailed discussion in English he asked for another meeting of the coal drafting committee before committing himself. There is still the possibility that difficulties may arise over the points mentioned in the second paragraph of Department’s 1943, March 13, 9 p.m.71 The drafting committee will meet tomorrow and the full committee next Wednesday. We hope to be able to clarify the position tomorrow.

2. On EEC Borishenko read the statement paraphrased as follows:

“Careful consideration has been given by the Soviet delegation to the documents which it has received regarding the setting up of a European Economic Committee and the proposed functions of the committee. The Soviet delegation is of opinion that the setting up of European Economic Committee is impracticable for a number of reasons particularly:

The European Economic Committee would be deprived of several functions and would be made into an inanimate organ by the proposed formation of an economic and social council at the forthcoming San Francisco Conference.
The delegation considers it most practicable to set up such specialized organizations as for example ECITO, UMA, ECO, for the coordination of the efforts of various separate economic problems.
The European Economic Committee, having regard to the existence of such international economic organizations as the international monetary fund, UNRRA et cetera, would isolate the European governments from a direct contact with these organizations and would handicap the work of these organizations.

The Soviet delegation suggests that the question of the setting up of an European Economic Committee be eliminated from further discussions in view of the foregoing.”

The exact meaning of (b) in the above text is not clear to us. We will ask Borishenko to retranslate.

3. For the United Kingdom Ronald expressed regret that there should be delay in setting up EEC but thought that the Soviet statement raised issues which would make it necessary for the delegations to consult their governments. He said that the United Kingdom were not clear how much discussion of the details of the scope and organization of economic and social council could take place in the very large meeting at San Francisco. They thought that plans would have to be worked out to cover much of the ground formerly covered by the League [of Nations] technical organizations and then it would have to be decided what additional specialized bodies would [Page 1435] be needed. There would be a vast field to cover and the United Kingdom thought it would probably be necessary to set up an interim body. In Ronald’s opinion it was improbable that the San Francisco meeting would reach the point of actually setting up regional committees of the Economic and Social Council.

4. We said that we appreciated the desire of the Soviet that nothing should be done to prejudice the proposed Economic and Social Council, and shared their faith that that council would become an effective body. We added that the sort of EEC that we desired would in no sense be competitive with, nor would it encroach on the jurisdiction of, the Economic and Social Council and its constituent groups. It was designed to deal with immediate emergency questions some of which already existed while others would arise before the structure proposed under Chapter IX of the Dumbarton Oaks plan could get into full working order. We considered that the proper concern of the Soviet for the place of the Economic and Social Council, with its constituent bodies, could be met by introducing amendments or additions to the statement on EEC, making it clear that EEC’s concern was only with immediate emergency economic matters and providing that its terms of reference and its whole position should be reconsidered when the Economic and Social Council came into existence. We then put forward the proposed change of title and additional paragraph which Mr. Clayton72 repeated to Penrose in last night’s telephone conversation and asked that when the national representatives present consulted their governments on the issues raised they should communicate these proposals to them. They all agreed to do this.

5. The French representative said that his Government was convinced of the need for prompt establishment of an EEC to deal with pressing questions that were already affecting France and other liberated Allies. He expressed complete agreement with the views expressed by the United States representative.

6. It was then agreed that discussions on EEC should be adjourned while the representatives consulted their governments.

7. In personal conversation after the meeting with Borishenko we got the impression that the Soviet would come to San Francisco with [Page 1436] detailed ideas as to the implementation of Chapter IX of the Dumbarton Oaks plan.

8. In view of Borishenko’s rigid instructions it seems unlikely that the Soviet position can be changed except by direct representations to the Soviet Government. Eonald suggests that such representations should be withheld for a few days in order to draw up an agreed list of points which he and the United States and French representatives consider would be most effective in supporting the idea of an EEC in representations to the Soviet Government. He is now engaged in drafting these points and will discuss them with us shortly.

Sent to Secretary of State 2714, repeated to Moscow as 98 and Paris as 151.

  1. Not printed.
  2. William L. Clayton, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. Mr. Clayton suggested to Dr. Penrose that it might be useful to re-name the organization “The Emergency Economic Committee for Europe”. Mr. Clayton suggested that the problem raised by the Soviet position described in London’s 2599, March 13, printed supra, could be met by inserting at the end of paragraph 3 of the EEC document the following two sentences:

    “The European Economic Committee shall deal with currently pressing economic problems of an emergency character and coordinate the work of special committees established to deal with such problems. When and as the Economic and Social Council contemplated in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals shall have been established, there should be reexamination of the work of the EEC and of its possible relationship to the Economic and Social Council.” (840.50/3–1345)