860F.01/3–2245: Telegram

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

866. I called on Dr. Beneš this afternoon.18 Masaryk19 was also present. He explained the two subjects that were occupying his attention in Moscow, the first with the Soviet Government regarding foreign affairs and the second with his own political groups regarding the reorganization of his Government. In the first category he explained that the Soviets had maintained the principles of their previous agreements. Czechoslovakia, when the Germans were forced out, would exercise authority over the pre-Munich boundaries, leaving to the peace settlement of relatively small territorial adjustments at the expense of Germany and Hungary. The question of Ruthenia would also be settled after the war depending largely on the will of the people. He did not seem to be particularly exercised over the possibility of losing Ruthenia but if it were to be done he wanted to be satisfied that the people who wished to go to Czechoslovakia would have that privilege. I should not, however, give the impression that he was acquiesing in a decision to this effect. Soviets have agreed to continue to arm the Czechoslovakian Army, now four or five divisions, up to ten divisions. Beneš stated that Stalin had said “we will give you the arms and you the blood”, later, however, Beneš admitted that supplies requisitioned by the Red Army in Czechoslovakia would be offset against the military equipment furnished by the Russians. Beneš says he also has an agreement from the Soviets to furnish Czechoslovakia with some supplies such as seed, transport equipment, et cetera, to start the wheels of economic life. These supplies will be paid for by Czechoslovakia depending upon how soon and in what condition her industries may be on liberation. I did not ask him how [Page 428] much of the military and civilian supplies were to be American lend-lease or items similar thereto, but certainly this is a matter that should be watched. Stalin further agreed with Beneš’ proposal that about 2 million of the 3 million Germans within Czechoslovakian territory should be transferred to Germany and similarly about 400,000 of the 600,000 Hungarians. Arrangements have further been made regarding the use of Galatz20 for transport of supplies including UNRRA, although the Czechs evidently must provide their own transport from there on. Czechoslovakian Danubian craft now in Hungary are to be returned to Czechoslovakia. Dr. Beneš said also that the Soviets agreed that this outlet to the Black Sea should be assured to Czechoslovakia after the war. Molotov also agreed to the ship coming to Galatz that is to sail from England on the 26th of March with the international diplomatic corps and Czechoslovakian officials, travelling to Czechoslovakia. Molotov explained to Dr. Beneš, as had Churchill,21 the decisions of the Crimea Conference regarding Germany, including the discussions on dismemberment.22 Beneš explained to Molotov that he was ready to accept the decisions of the three principal Allies but that they must understand that it would be their obligation to maintain the dismemberment. He said that Molotov had agreed to the representation of the Czechoslovakian Government in Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria. He hoped to receive soon reparations from Hungary. He assumed there would be no difficulty in regard to the transit of the UNRRA delegation because the head of the delegation was to be a Russian but I asked him to confirm that before he left Moscow. In regard to the San Francisco Conference23 he had told Molotov that Masaryk would go to the Conference and would raise no objections to the Dumbarton Oaks24 proposals although he knew a number of small nations were going to press strongly for modifications.

In connection with the reorganization of the Czechoslovak Government these discussions were going on between the party leaders he had brought with him from London, the members of the Slovakian [Page 429] National Council25 recently coming from Slovakia for this purpose and the Czechoslovak Communist leaders who had been living in Moscow. He explained that while in London he exercised a great deal of personal control whereas now he was adopting the constitutional attitude of the President, ready to receive the proposals of the party leaders which he would accept or reject as he considered proper. He is planning to recognize the Slovak National Council and to give home rule to Slovakia. He expects that the Communists will end up with about 4 out of 16 ministerial posts, two from Slovakia and two from Bohemia, but this had not been definitely determined.

I expect to see Beneš again before his departure in about a week. He was buoyant as ever and appeared to be quite satisfied with his discussions so far but I did not have the time to discuss with him any of the matters which I have reason to believe are giving him concern.

  1. President Beneš and a party of Czechoslovak Government officials left London by air on March 11 and arrived in Moscow on March 17, where they were received with high honors. On March 19, Beneš paid a visit to Marshal Stalin. On March 21 and 24, Beneš had meetings with Foreign Commissar Molotov. Telegram 1023, April 3 from Moscow, reported receipt of a note from Molotov containing information on the Beneš visit. The first three and last paragraphs of Molotov’s note were published practically verbatim in the Moscow press on April 1 while the fourth paragraph stated that the Czechoslovak and Soviet Governments had concluded an agreement concerning the reciprocal payment of expenses for the maintenance of the Soviet and Czechoslovak military units during the war and an agreement which defined the utilization of captured war materials in Czechoslovakia. (860F.01/4–345)
  2. Jan Masaryk, Czechoslovak Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. The Rumanian Danube River port of Galati. Rumania was under occupation by the Soviet Army.
  4. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  5. For the decisions of the Conference, see Report of the Crimea Conference, issued as a communiqué February 11, 1945, Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 968, and the Protocol of the Proceedings of the Crimea Conference, February 11, ibid., p. 975.
  6. For documentation regarding the United Nations Conference at San Francisco, April 25–June 26, 1945, see vol. i, pp. 1 ff.
  7. For documentation regarding conversations at Dumbarton Oaks, August 21–October 7, 1944, on international organization, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, pp. 713 ff.
  8. On September 1, 1944, Slovak Communists and Democrats participating in the uprising against the pro-German puppet government of Slovakia and its German allies formed a Slovak National Council which proclaimed itself the representative of legislative and executive powers in Slovakia and the directing organ of military resistance against the Germans and their allies.