740.00119 EW/4–1045: Telegram

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

856. Reurtel 1110 April 10. It is the Department’s view that participation on the Moscow Reparations Commission should not be [Page 1197] determined by the extent of the devastation suffered by a particular country. The U.S., the U.K., the USSR, and France are the four countries which will be responsible for the occupation and control of Germany. Since these four powers will be primarily responsible for the execution of the reparations program it seems appropriate that they should be responsible for the initial formulation of the program. Moreover, it does not seem to us that the inclusion of France in the Moscow discussions need place Yugoslavia and Poland in a “worse position than France” insofar as allocation of reparations are concerned if this was what Vyshinski meant to imply. On the contrary, it seems to us that there would be a far greater likelihood of discrimination in this regard if certain of the Allied countries not participating in the occupation of Germany were included in the discussions and others excluded on some arbitrary basis of differences in degree of devastation suffered.

The Department suggests that you discuss this question again with the Soviet Government on the basis of the considerations cited above.58

Lubin has requested us to advise you that he will not leave until you have decided that it would be advisable for him to do so.

  1. In telegram 1179, April 15, 11 p.m. (740.00119 EW/4–1545), Ambassador Harriman replied that Vyshinsky was not authorized to discuss the matter and that no useful purpose would be served by raising the question again, at least until a reply had been received to the letter sent on the basis of the Department’s telegram 816, April 7, 7 p.m., p. 1192.