Memorandum by Mr. Charles E. Bohlen, Assistant to the Secretary of State for White House Liaison, to the Secretary of State
The following is a list of questions which Mr. Molotov may raise or which you might wish to raise depending upon the course which the discussions take:44
- Implementation of the Crimea Agreement on liberated areas in Rumania.45
- Implementation of the Crimea Agreement on liberated areas in Bulgaria.46
- Need for improvement of the American position on Allied Control Commissions in satellite states.
- Failure of the Soviet Government to provide facilities for the entry of UNRRA and Red Cross personnel into Poland and the Balkans.
- Failure of the Soviet Government to satisfy our requirements for full advance information concerning transfers to third countries of supplies furnished to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease or supplies of Soviet origin similar to Lend-Lease materials.47
- The implementation of the Crimea Agreement regarding the exchange of liberated prisoners of war and civilians.48
- The Kravchenko case.49
- The Soviet request for a six billion dollar loan.50
- Forthcoming meeting of the Separations Commission in Moscow.51
1. Implementation of the Crimea Agreement on Liberated Areas in Rumania.
At the end of February a political crisis developed in Rumania, largely as a result of a campaign by the Left-wing parties under Communist leadership, aided by measures taken by the Soviet military authorities [Page 833] and encouraged by Soviet radio and press propaganda. After some disorders took place in Rumanian cities Vyshinski52 arrived in Bucharest and forced the King53 to dismiss Premier Radescu and to accept a government headed by Groza54 and including only representatives of the left-wing parties together with a few opportunist politicians formerly associated with the historic parties, which were now excluded from the government. Vyshinsky’s direct intervention took place without consultation with American and British representatives. The Groza Government has been in office since March 6. Developments since that date have not changed our view that it is an unrepresentative minority government and that the political situation should be stabilized.
Exchange of Views Between the United States and Soviet Governments.
During the crisis we made known our views to the Soviet Government on several occasions. Ambassador Harriman presented three notes referring to the Declaration on Liberated Europe, requesting the Soviet views, and suggesting consultation. In its replies the Soviet Government stated that the action taken was made necessary by the Radescu Government’s failure to fulfil the armistice terms55 and by the intolerable situation existing in the rear of the Red Army. On March 14 we formally proposed tripartite consultation under the provision of the Yalta Declaration calling for concerted Allied policies to assure in the former Axis satellites interim governments broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population. The British Government agreed to the proposal. Mr. Molotov rejected it, however, saying that no consultation was necessary since the Groza Government represented the democratic forces in the country and had restored order. His note also implied that no action in the former satellite states on the part of the three Governments was required under the Yalta Declaration because Allied Control Commissions were operating there.
The Present American Position.
The Department has made clear to the Soviet Government that we take seriously our responsibilities under the Yalta Declaration, and that these responsibilities call for genuinely tripartite consultation and action on broad political matters, whereas the functions of the Control Commissions are limited to enforcement of the respective armistice agreements. Our specific reply to Mr. Molotov’s refusal of the proposal [Page 834] for consultation has not yet been communicated to the Soviet Government, since its timing depends on the course of the discussions on Poland. We maintain the position that the three Governments are obliged to concert their policies, and we feel that the Soviet Government, having intervened unilaterally to install a government which we do not consider representative of all democratic elements and having refused to consult with us, is hardly fulfilling its obligations. We are, however, more interested in getting Soviet agreement to apply in the future the principles of the Yalta Declaration than in insisting on a review of the Soviet action of last February or on a drastic reorganization of the Rumanian Government. We shall continue to press for an agreed Allied policy on Rumania and we may find it necessary to make public the fact that the Soviet Government has rejected our proposals.
2. Implementation of the Crimea Agreement on Liberated Areas in Bulgaria.
On March 29 our Embassy at Moscow was instructed57 to inform the Soviet Government that our information clearly indicated that Bulgarian electoral plans would make it impossible for the Bulgarians to hold free elections without assistance. We suggested that a tripartite Allied committee be constituted in Bulgaria to insure that all democratic political groups in the country would have full freedom to bring their separate platforms and lists of candidates to the voters’ attention and that the rights of the electorate in the pre-election period and in the polling would be protected. This message was communicated to Molotov on April 5.
On April 11 Molotov replied58 in brusque terms, questioning our motives in making the proposal and stating that the Soviet Government’s information indicated that there was no intention of holding elections in Bulgaria in the near future. Molotov went on to say that, in view of the Finnish precedent, the Soviet public would be “dumbfounded” if there were foreign interference in Bulgarian elections and he stated that the Bulgarians did not deserve our “mistrust.”
We suggest that Mr. Molotov be informed that we are glad to learn that there is no intention of holding elections in Bulgaria in the near future and are gratified by the implication in his message that the Finnish precedent will be followed in Bulgaria. Information has reached us nevertheless to the effect that it is planned to have a single “Fatherland Front” electoral list, with no opportunity for the several parties within the “Front” to have their separate lists or present their separate platforms to the electorate. Should this be the case, and we assume that the Soviet Government is keeping itself informed in the [Page 835] matter, we feel that we should again press our request for consultation. Since such action is not only permissible but becomes an obligation under the Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe, we are unable to comprehend why the invocation of the Declaration should be cause for misunderstanding. The American people fully expect that the Declaration will be given reality in the treatment of liberated and ex-enemy peoples.
3. American Representation on the Allied Control Commissions in the Former Satellite States.
Present Status of American Representatives. Allied Control Commissions, on which the three principal Allied Governments are represented, were established in Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary to supervise the execution of the armistice agreements. The executive authority is, of course, in the hands of the Soviet High Command since these states are in the Soviet theater of military operations. The role of the American and British representatives has been more or less limited to “observation,” even though, in the Bulgarian and Hungarian armistice agreements,59 provision is made for their “participation.” The Department has not been satisfied with the status of the American representatives, partly because of the many minor difficulties created by the Soviet authorities with respect to travel and other matters, but more fundamentally because the Soviet authorities have issued directives in the name of the Commissions without informing our representatives and often on the basis of interpretations of the armistice terms with which this Government was not in agreement but with which we became involuntarily associated by virtue of the presence of American representatives on the Commissions. We have attempted to secure Soviet recognition of the right of our representatives to be informed of directives prior to their issuance to the local governments. In Rumania we have had informal agreements to this effect, but they have not worked out in practice. In Bulgaria we have had no satisfaction at all. Provision was made in the statutes of the Hungarian Control Commission for such a procedure, but the Soviet authorities, after a good beginning, are not now strictly adhering to it. The result has been that in all three countries ultimate authority rests with the Soviet Government which is at liberty to act either directly, as in the recent Rumanian crisis, or through the Control Commissions. Neither the presence of American representatives on the Commissions nor the Crimea agreement to concert Allied policies has provided any check on dynamic Soviet policy in this area.[Page 836]
Future Status of American Representatives. In the Bulgarian and Hungarian armistice agreements it is stated that until the end of hostilities against Germany the Control Commissions shall operate under the general direction of the Soviet High Command. The Department failed to secure Soviet agreement to the inclusion of reference to the “second period” (from the end of hostilities against Germany to the conclusion of peace), during which the three Allied Governments would have equal participation in and responsibility for the work of the Commissions, but reserved the right to re-open this question later. It might now be appropriate to raise it with Mr. Molotov. With the termination of hostilities the Soviet case for retaining its present dominating position will lose much of its force; most of the clauses of the armistice agreements will no longer be operative. We have a right to expect that the Soviet Government will withdraw its armed forces from these countries, in accordance with Article VI of the Moscow Declaration of October 30, 1943.60 If the Soviet Government shows no inclination to agree to such a change in the character of the Commissions, it would be desirable for the United States to work for an early end to the armistice period and liquidation of the control machinery through the conclusion of peace and normalization of relations with the satellite states.
4. The Failure of the Soviet Government to Provide Facilities for the Entry of UNRRA and Red Cross Personnel into Poland and the Balkans.
UNRRA has been attempting for several months to arrange for the entry of UNRRA personnel into Poland in connection with the carrying out of its functions there. Despite the fact that the Provisional authorities in Poland indicated their agreement, it has not been possible to obtain the necessary visas. Similar difficulties have been encountered by the Red Cross in getting its representatives into Poland. Late in February, however, two Red Cross representatives did finally get into Poland and one is still there. It has been impossible so far for them to carry out any effective work since the sixty tons of medical supplies sent from Moscow in February had not arrived in Lublin by April 16.
Mr. Molotov may take the position that this is a matter for the Polish Provisional Government. You may wish to point out that these areas are under Soviet military control and that UNRRA is an international organization in which the Soviet Union is a prominent member. We cannot believe that these difficulties could not be overcome if the Soviet Government desired to do so. You may also [Page 837] wish to stress the humanitarian aspects of this matter and to point out that our sole interest is to help the people in these areas who have suffered so much from the effects of the war.
5. Failure of the Soviet Government to Satisfy Our Request for Full Advance Information Concerning Transfers to Third Countries of Supplies Furnished to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease or Supplies of Soviet Origin Similar to Lend-Lease Materials.
The Lend-Lease Act61 requires prior approval by this Government of such transfers and in the case of other countries we have insisted upon this advance notice. We have also insisted that we be informed in advance of transfers of materials similar to Lend-Lease supplies.
With respect to the transfer of actual Lend-Lease materials, you may wish to state that this is a matter of law and that we have no discretion about the requirement for the advance notification. We have no intention of prohibiting reasonable transfers, but if the Soviet Government is not willing to consult us in advance we will be obliged to consider such transfers as an indication that these materials are no longer needed by the Soviet Union.
6. The Implementation of the Crimea Agreement Regarding the Exchange of Liberated Prisoners of War and Civilians.
You are familiar with the fact that despite the intervention of the President the Soviet Government would not allow our contact teams to proceed to Poland to assist our liberated prisoners of war in accordance with the terms of the Crimea Agreement on this matter.
Mr. Molotov may raise the question of our refusal to return to Soviet control Soviet nationals captured in German uniform who claim the protection of the Geneva Convention62 as German prisoners of war.
You may wish to explain that we have been concerned that the Germans might retaliate on American prisoners of war in their hands if we did not comply with the provisions of the Geneva Convention on this matter. We have insisted with the Germans that prisoners of war captured in American uniform be treated as American prisoners of war regardless of their nationality. Moreover, German measures of retaliation might not be confined to this particular question. You might assure Mr. Molotov, however, that we have no intention of holding Soviet citizens after the collapse of Germany regardless of whether they desire to return to the Soviet Union or not.[Page 838]
7. The Kravchenko Case.
Should Mr. Molotov raise this matter you might explain that we have done all we could to meet the desires of the Soviet Government but that under our law Kravchenko entered this country as a civilian, and should we try to deport him he would be allowed a trial and would undoubtedly be deported but with the right to depart for any foreign destination provided he would do so within a certain length of time.
8. The Soviet Request for a Six Billion Dollar Loan.
You may wish to state that the Soviet memorandum63 on this subject is receiving the careful consideration of this Government, but compliance with the Soviet requestion [sic] would require prior legislation by Congress.
Depending on the general tenor of the conversations you may consider it advisable to point out to Mr. Molotov that in considering this matter the Congress will doubtless be influenced by the prospect for full collaboration between the United States and the Soviet Union in the establishment and maintenance of peace and stability.
You might further desire to remind Mr. Molotov that Congress reflects public opinion and that public opinion in this country has been greatly concerned over developments in Eastern Europe since the Crimea Conference. You will doubtless wish to assure Molotov, however, that this Government sincerely desires this collaboration, and we are anxious to do all we can to assist the Soviet Union in reconstruction and in the further development of its prosperity.
9. Forthcoming Meeting of the Reparations Commission in Moscow.
You will recall that in reply to our inquiry as to whether the Soviet Government would agree to the participation of France in the Reparations Commission the Soviet Government replied that it agreed but that it also felt that Poland and Yugoslavia should be represented. We replied that we felt that original membership should be limited to the countries represented on the European Advisory Commission which is concerned with related matters, particularly as the members of this Commission are those responsible for the occupation of Germany. We feel that if any additional countries are invited, all countries concerned should be invited. If the Soviet Government desires the Commission to be enlarged to this extent, we would be prepared to agree, although such a large body would probably be very unwieldy.
- For discussions between President Truman and Foreign Commissar Molotov on April 22 at 8:30 p.m., and on April 23 at 5:30 p.m., see the memoranda of conversations on these days by Charles E. Bohlen, pp. 235 and 256, respectively. For the President’s own account, see Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, vol. i: Year of Decisions, pp. 75–82.↩
- For the Declaration on Liberated Europe, see the Communiqué issued at the end of the Crimea Conference, signed on February 11, 1945, by Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt, and Marshal Stalin. Conferences at Malta and Yalta, pp. 971–973. For documentation on Rumania, see ante, pp. 464 ff.↩
- For documentation on Bulgaria, see vol. iv, pp. 135 ff.↩
- For documentation, see pp. 937 ff.↩
- For text of this agreement, signed at Yalta on February 11, 1945, see Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 985. Concerning the carrying out of this agreement, see post, pp. 1067 ff.↩
- For documentation, see pp. 1131 ff.↩
- See telegram 29, January 4, 2 p.m., from Moscow, p. 942.↩
- For documentation, see vol. iii, pp. 1169 ff. For the Protocol on Reparations signed at Yalta on February 11, 1945, by Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt, and Marshal Stalin, see Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 982.↩
- Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.↩
- Michael I.↩
- Petru Groza, leader of the Plowman’s Front.↩
- For armistice with Rumania signed at Moscow, 5 a.m., September 13 (as of September 12), 1944, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 490, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1712.↩
- Telegram 735, March 29, 8 p.m., to Moscow, vol. iv, p. 179.↩
- See telegram 1182, April 15, midnight, from Moscow, ibid., p. 186.↩
- For text of armistice agreement with Bulgaria, signed at Moscow, October 28, 1944, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 437, or 58 Stat. (pt. 2) 1498; with Hungary, signed at Moscow, January 20, 1945, see Executive Agreement Series No. 456, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1321.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 755.↩
- Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31. Amended March 11, 1943 (57 Stat. 20), May 17, 1944 (58 Stat. 222), and April 16, 1945 (59 Stat. 52).↩
- For text of convention signed at Geneva, July 27, 1929, see Foreign Relations, 1929, vol. i, p. 336.↩
- See telegram 29, January 4, 2 p.m., from Moscow, p. 942.↩