740.00119 Council/12–145: Telegram

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

2435. The following is for your information only, to keep you abreast of developments regarding the proposed meeting in Moscow, but not for communication to the Soviet Government.

[Page 830]

Since, as is explained below, Bevin3 has been most unwilling to agree to the meeting, I thought it best to discuss the matter of agenda with him before making any approach to Moscow. I have suggested eight items:

The proposal for a United Nations Commission to consider the control of atomic energy.
Reconvening the Council of Ministers, including resumption of work by their deputies to prepare settlements for a peace conference.
The terms of reference of the Far Eastern Commission and Allied Council.
Establishing an independent government for Korea.
Disarming and evacuating the Japanese from northern China.
Transfer of control of Manchuria to Chinese National Government.
Evacuation of troops from Iran.
Conditions which would permit recognition of the Governments of Bulgaria and Rumania.4

I have pointed out that, as to item 1, we would hope to talk further with the British and Canadian Ambassadors regarding a common proposal before the meeting. As to item 4, I have stated that we are prepared to press for the establishment of an independent Korean Government and, if that is not acceptable, we would favor a trusteeship under the United Nations for a limited period similar to the one we suggested for the Italian colonies. Item 5 was inserted so that we could make clear to the Soviets the limited purpose of our military mission in North China and thus learn from them their own policy toward developments there. Item 8, if accepted by the Soviets, would indicate some evidence of their willingness to compromise. Our purpose would be to press for broadening of the base of the present governments with the promise of free elections as soon as foreign troops are withdrawn.

Bevin’s objections are, first, that we cannot afford to have a failure and he does not believe that there is adequate time for preparation necessary to ensure success; second, he believes that inclusion of items of interest to China and France without their presence will cause difficulty; and, third, he believes the time has come to go on a United Nations basis and that the proposed meeting immediately before the first Assembly meeting will cause suspicion. This is where the matter stands today.

  1. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. In Telegram No. 2461, December 6, 4 p.m., Ambassador Harriman was instructed to convey to Mr. Molotov the eight items listed above as the suggested United States agenda (740.00119 Council/12–645).