740.00119 Council/12–845: Telegram
The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman ) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 8—4:44 p.m.]
4104. In my talk with Molotov this afternoon he expressed himself as entirely satisfied with release and timing of it7 and hoped that you were equally satisfied. He asked whether he should invite Mr. Bevin or whether you in your discussions with Bevin had already covered this point. This led to discussion of what Molotov described as the lapse of over a week in your correspondence with him. I explained to him Bevin’s hesitance in agreeing to the meeting because of his concern over difficulties with French. This necessitated the exchange of number of messages between you and Bevin. I added that when you finally obtained Bevin’s agreement you were fearful of leaks and therefore wished the release made at once so as to avoid harmful speculation and discussion. He seemed to be satisfied with my explanation and then asked whether you thought he should send a message to Bevin. I told him that I was sure you would think it appropriate for him to invite Bevin or at least express his gratification that he agreed to come. Molotov showed his good humor by saying “In any event my invitation to Bevin will not come as a surprise.”
Molotov asked whether I had a reply from you to his letter of yesterday re the agenda. I replied that I expected to hear from you within the next day or two. When he pressed me for my opinion on what I thought your attitude would be in regard to his suggestions I answered:
- That I felt sure you would be prepared to discuss control of atomic energy at any time during Conference that he might wish.
- That I believed you would be quite prepared to discuss mission of American troops in China.
- That question of British troops in Greece was after all primarily British matter.
I, of course, made it plain that I was making these comments only because he asked for my personal opinion. I have always tried to [Page 834] encourage this type of discussion as the Soviets are so reluctant to do so.
Molotov then asked me for clarification of point 5 of your proposals, namely the disarming and evacuation of Jap troops in North China. He asked whether you had in mind Manchuria and explained that all Jap troops had been disarmed in that area. He inquired with some surprise whether there were really any Jap troops still in North China who had not been disarmed. I replied that I had no detailed information but that as he knew there had been conflict between Communist and National Government forces in North China and that the disarming and evacuation of Jap forces in this area was the reason for presence of our troops. I said I believed that you would be glad to explain situation to him in detail and to obtain from him his views on developments there. He seemed to be puzzled by point 5. Perhaps it would be clearer if it had been worded to include general situation in North China.
I asked Molotov whether he had any further suggestions for agenda. In reply he said he had none at the moment as he wished to hear from Bevin first and pointed out that you had suggested that final agenda should be mutually agreed upon after your arrival in Moscow. As is his custom he gave me impression that he wanted to see all suggestions before he committed himself.
On leaving I inquired whether Generalissimus Stalin8 would be back to Moscow before meeting closed as I felt sure you would be anxious to pay your respects to him before leaving. He said that he would communicate this to Generalissimus Stalin and let me know.