740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1845

The British Chargé (Balfour) to the Secretary of State

His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and under instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs98 has the honour to recall that the protocol of the proceedings of the Crimea Conference99 contained the following passage:

“The study of the procedure for the dismemberment of Germany was referred to a Committee consisting of Mr. Eden (Chairman) Mr. Winant and M. Gousev. This body would consider the desirability of associating with it a French representative.”1

As Mr. Byrnes2 will be aware the first informal meeting of the Committee took place on March 7th last. Mr. Eden and the United States and Soviet Ambassadors discussed terms of reference for the Committee. These were finally settled at the beginning of April. The second informal meeting of the Committee was held at the Foreign Office on April 11th last, when it was agreed to ensure that if [Page 368] any of the three representatives had proposals or suggestions to put forward, these would be communicated to his colleagues. No further meetings have taken place and no proposals have been put forward.
In the course of discussion of a memorandum submitted by the Soviet delegation on the administration of the Ruhr,3 Marshal Stalin remarked at the 11th plenary meeting at Potsdam on July 31st last that, whereas previously the three Heads of the three Governments had rather favoured the idea of dismembering Germany after the war, more recently their views seemed to have been modified.4 In his proclamation of May 9th last to the Soviet people Marshal Stalin said that the Soviet Union “did not intend either to dismember or to destroy Germany”.
Mr. Bevin agrees with Marshal Stalin that the views previously held have been modified. This seems to him to be confirmed by the general trend of the Berlin Conference and in particular by the agreement concluded there on “the principles to govern the treatment of Germany in the initial control period” which prescribes, amongst other things, uniformity of treatment of German civilian population, treatment of Germany as an economic unit and, subject to a general policy of decentralization, the establishment of certain essential central German administrative departments.
Mr. Balfour is instructed to inquire whether the United States Government agree that in the light of the above circumstances there is no need for the Committee set up at the Crimea Conference to proceed with the work allotted to it.
His Majesty’s Government are addressing similar inquiry to the Soviet Government.
  1. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from July 27, 1945, succeeding Anthony Eden.
  2. For text of the Protocol of the Proceedings of the Crimea Conference, February 11, 1945, see Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 975.
  3. ibid p. 978.
  4. James F. Byrnes became Secretary of State on July 3, 1945.
  5. For text of the Soviet proposal of July 30, 1945, on the Ruhr industrial district, see Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, p. 1000.
  6. Ibid. p. 522.