740.00119 Council/3–2146: Telegram

The Assistant Secretary of State (Dunn) to the Secretary of State


3255. This is Delsec 298 from Dunn. During the discussion yesterday of the French proposals for the organization of the Paris Conference (reference Delsec 29754) the French representative asked the deputies to ascertain the views of their governments whether the conference is to be held on May 1 even if the agreed drafts are not yet ready.

I stated that there was still adequate time to prepare the necessary drafts, that I was confident we could and would make progress in this respect, and that my government expects the conference will be convened on May 1 as agreed in Moscow. Jebb supported this position.

Soviet deputy declared that the sole purpose of the conference was to consider the agreed drafts of peace treaties prepared by the CFM, that it was not intended that it should prepare such drafts and, if no drafts were ready, a new situation had arisen which was not contemplated by the Moscow agreement. He asked what the conference could accomplish in the event that the drafts were not completed when it met as its terms of reference would only permit it to make recommendations upon the basis of existing drafts.

French deputy is concerned lest his government, after having issued invitations to the conference on behalf of the CFM, will at the last minute be faced with the inability of the Five Powers to agree upon the functions of the conference and that it will meet without any useful task to perform. He urged the deputies to consult their governments and to inform him as soon as possible of their views. It was anticipated that the French Government would issue the invitations on or about April 1 unless prior to that time an agreement to the contrary had been reached between the states members of the CFM.

As it was clear that Gusev was not ready to state whether his government would agree to having the conference if the drafts had not been completed, I, as chairman, suggested that in any matters with regard to the invitations for the conference itself, upon which the French Government wished clarification, it would be advisable for that government to deal directly with the other governments represented on the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Although Gusev stated he was without instructions, it was quite apparent to me that by his insistence upon the literal interpretation of the opening phrase of paragraph 2 of the Moscow communiqué of last December55 he was indicating that his government will oppose [Page 33] the convening of the conference at Paris until a further measure of agreement has been reached upon the drafts, which to their minds probably means acceptance of the Soviet position on at least some of the major points.

I had a talk with Couve de Murville this afternoon before his return to Paris. He said that the French Government would address communications to US, UK and USSR Governments in an effort to clear up two points with respect to projected Paris Conference. One is the question whether all of the countries that are invited will be expected and authorized to discuss all of the treaties or whether certain countries would be restricted to discussing only certain treaties as Gusev indicated yesterday might be what the Soviet Government would suggest, The second point is the exact date upon which the conference is to be convened. That entails a clarification and agreement whether the conference will be held even in the event the drafts of all the treaties are not entirely completed.


[In a message dated March 21, Foreign Secretary Bevin urged Secretary Byrnes to postpone the issuance of invitations for a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in view of the developments in the Iranian case before the United Nations Security Council. For the text of Bevin’s message, see Volume VII, page 368.]