740.00119 Council/3–2346

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Bevin ) to the Secretary of State 58

top secret

Many thanks for your further message of 22nd March. I am convinced that you took a wise decision in not issuing the invitation now but as I said in my previous message, I think your idea of calling a meeting of the Foreign Ministers to press on the work of the peace treaties is a good one, I would gladly agree to your sending out the invitation once the Security Council had got to grips with Persia and it was clear that the Soviet Government were not going to try to sidetrack it.

I am just as worried as you at the drift in the deputies’ work. This seems to me due primarily to the usual unwillingness of the Soviet Government to give any latitude in negotiation to their representatives. Could we not best meet the point by giving our deputies instructions to repeat at their next meeting on Monday that our governments, so far as they are concerned, expect the Paris Conference to take place on 1st May as planned at Moscow in December, and that if there are no texts fully agreed by then the Conference should take place on the basis of texts so far agreed.

As regards Germany I defer to your wishes. I certainly do not want to insist on the formal inclusion of Germany on the agenda of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers, which I agree should be confined to the outstanding questions of the peace treaties with Italy and the satellites. But I must tell you that I am being pressed very hard indeed in this country to get an agreed policy on Germany. I am sure that you agree that this is now a matter of first class importance and I hope you would not exclude the possibility that we might be able to use the meeting with Molotov and Bidault to have at any rate some preliminary off the record discussion on this topic.

  1. This message was transmitted to the Secretary of State under cover of a note of March 23 from the British Ambassador, not printed.