740.00119 E.W./4–1045: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

1110. In conversation with Vyshinski49 this afternoon I told him that Lubin and his staff were ready to leave for Moscow but were awaiting word as to the British plans. Our latest information indicated that the British would be ready to leave around first of May. I then informed him that I had written Mr. Molotov today a letter50 [Page 1195] in accordance with Department’s 816, April 7, 7 p.m. regarding the extension by the Soviet Government of an invitation to the French and expressing our views regarding Yugoslav and Polish participation at this time and that of other interested nations.

Vyshinski said that although he had not been authorized to discuss this question formally with me it was his feeling that the time had come to invite the Yugoslavs and the Poles to Moscow to participate in the reparations discussions. They had suffered more and therefore had greater rights. I said that we believed that there would be difficulty with other western European nations if all were not invited at the same time. I referred to Norwegian and Dutch losses during the war, especially shipping, to their contribution to the war effort and stated that we did not wish to differentiate between Germany’s enemies. Vyshinski maintained that Poland had suffered most and had made a greater contribution to the war effort than Norway and the Netherlands. He stated that “he believed his Government would insist that Poland and Yugoslavia should not be placed in a worse position than France” in so far as reparations were concerned.

I stated the question of Polish participation at this time involved political considerations and said that I hoped that the Soviet Government would not press for Polish participation until the next new Polish Government had been formed. Vyshinski maintained that because of the proximity of Poland to Germany it could be of great help in the reparations discussions; in any event they would not hinder them. He made it quite clear that the Soviet Government would press for Polish and Yugoslav participation in the discussions.

I emphasized the importance of the four nations now participating in the EAC first coming to agreement on the basic questions of reparations such as the amount and character before bringing into the discussion other nations. I pointed out certain overlapping questions as between the Reparation Commission and the European Advisory Commission.

From this conversation I cannot say whether the Soviet Government will extend an invitation to the French unless the Yugoslavs and Poles are included.51 Under these circumstances I strongly recommend that Lubin does not leave Washington until these matters are settled to our satisfaction.

  1. Andrey Yanuareyevich Vyshinsky, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  2. Letter not printed; copy in the Moscow Embassy files is dated April 9, 1945.
  3. Telegram 1317, April 23, 5 p.m., from Moscow, reported that Assistant Commissar for Foreign Affairs Maisky said that the Reparations Commission would have the composition decided on at the Yalta Conference, i.e., the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union (740.00119 EW/4–2345).