501.BB/1–1146: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Stettinius)


351. Undel. 1. In personal letter British Embassy has transmitted to us communication from ForOf, which reports that Soviet Government has declined British invitation to take part in preliminary conversations [Page 729] among Five Power representatives to MSC prior to Committee’s establishment. ForOf telegram follows:

“Molotov has just written to inform us that under United Nations Charter, Article 47, the MSC is a body whose activity is controlled by the Security Council. The Government of the USSR accordingly is of the opinion that it would be premature to take up now practical questions concerning the Committee’s activity, prior to the establishment of the Security Council within whose province matters of this type fall. It is the Soviet Government’s view that discussion of subjects referred to in Sir Archibald Clark Kerr’s letter26 should be inaugurated after the Security Council has been set up at prospective General Assembly session and after the Council has arrived at a decision on item 8 of its agenda regarding the date and place of the first meeting of the Committee, not to mention additional subjects, which may come up in the SC when this question is before it.

It is the view of the Soviet Government, therefore, that both for reasons of procedure and substance the correct method would be to await the consideration of the question of the MSC’s establishment in the Security Council before drawing up regulations of the Committee.”

2. In addition, British Embassy has addressed to us an aide-mémoire dated January 927 in which hope is expressed that we will request from the Soviet Government through our Ambassador, Moscow, the identity of the Soviet representatives to the MSC, and that we will inquire whether the Soviet Government will agree to have these representatives arrive in the UK by January 20. As a result we have cabled our Ambassador, Moscow, as follows:28

  • “1. Memorandum has just been transmitted to Soviet Embassy here,29 informing latter that US representatives to the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations will hold rank equivalent to General or Lieutenant General, that Chiefs of Staff will not attend in person the initial meetings, and that, based on present time-table, it appears likely that the Military Staff Committee might be established in period between January 15 and January 20.
  • 2. Please inform ForOf that chief members of permanent US representation to Military Staff Committee will be General George C. Kenney, Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgeway, and Admiral R. C. [K.] Turner, all of whom are now in London. Also, request names and ranks of Soviet representatives to Military Staff Committee, and, if possible, ascertain if these representatives can arrive in London about January 20, in order that Military Staff Committee, an organ of importance under Charter which we would like to see [Page 730] established as soon as possible after the Security Council has come into being, may be set up without delay.”30

  1. Clark Kerr was British Ambassador in the Soviet Union. The letter under reference was presumably identical with or similar to the British aide-mémoire presented to the Department of State on December 13, 1945; the latter is described in the United States note to the Soviet Embassy, supra, and footnote 25 thereto.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Telegram 66, January 12, to Moscow.
  4. Supra.
  5. In telegram 128 of January 13, repeated to London as telegram 23, the Embassy in Moscow reported that a letter had been addressed to Molotov in accordance with the instructions contained in the present telegram. The Embassy in Moscow further reported, in telegram 167 of January 18, repeated to London as telegram 31, that Molotov had stated that the Soviet Government would send representatives of the General Staff of the Red Army to a conference on the establishment of the Military Staff Committee as soon as the Security Council adopted a resolution concerning the MSC. (501.BC/1–1346, 1–1846)