C.F.M. Files: Lot M–88: Box 2063: US Delegation Minutes

United States Delegation Record, Council of Foreign Ministers, Second Session, Sixth Meeting, Paris, May 1, 1946, 11:30 a.m.93


Report of the Deputies

Mr. Bevin asked the Chairman of the Deputies’ meeting of the morning to report.

[Page 195]

M. Couve de Murville reported that the Deputies had agreed to submit to the Council of Foreign Ministers the following questions for consideration at the present meeting: the Allied Inspectorate and the Treaty Commission; and the Austro-Italian frontier.

The Deputies thought that these two subjects were not enough to take up two meetings of the Foreign Ministers and therefore proposed that the latter meet only in the morning of May 1. The Deputies would meet in the afternoon to examine all the other questions connected with the Italian treaty still in abeyance with a view to having more topics ready for discussion by the Ministers when they met on May 2.

The report of the Deputies was approved.

Allied Inspectorate and Treaty Commission

Mr. Bevin said that the first question before the meeting was that of the Allied Inspectorate and the Treaty Commission. He mentioned the agreement reached at the London meeting in September to the effect that provision should be made for the establishment of Allied machinery to enforce the naval, military and air clauses of the peace treaty until such time as Italy could be accepted as a reliable member of the United Nations Organization.94

Mr. Byrnes called attention to the proposal for a Treaty Commission which had been made by the U.S. Delegation at the Deputies’ meetings (C.F.M. (D) (46) 64).95 He felt that the treaty must include a provision of that kind, establishing machinery for compliance by Italy with the various provisions of the treaty. This proposal would give to a Treaty Commission the power to set up subsidiary sections with authority to deal with particular subjects such as military questions, reparations, restitution, and war criminals. It seemed better to use general language in this proposal and to leave it to the Commission to establish the subcommittees necessary for the enforcement of the separate provisions of the treaty.

M. Bidault recalled the decision which had been taken in September and stated the view that it seemed necessary to have a Treaty Commission charged with controlling the enforcement of the various clauses. It was reasonable that the Italian Government should be under some control in the matter of the execution of its treaty obligations. The French Delegation could accept the suggestion made by the U.S. Delegation subject to more careful drafting of the actual treaty provisions.

[Page 196]

M. Molotov said that from the very beginning the Soviet Delegation had expressed doubts as to the advisability of establishing a special control commission to supervise Italy’s compliance with the treaty. When the question of control of the execution of the military clauses had been raised, the Soviet Delegation had expressed such doubts but had not refused to discuss the question. Further discussion of this matter had showed that there was a desire to extend the functions which the Allied Powers would have in controlling Italy. The American proposal provided for such an extension of authority. It referred not only to the military clauses but also to the economic and political clauses of the treaty. This proposal was intended not to relax but to intensify Allied control over Italy, even though at the end of 1944 the U.S. and British Governments had taken the decision to relax the control over Italy and to transform the Allied Control Commission into the Allied Commission. It was now proposed to set up a commission with wide powers; it was suggested that the commission have not only executive but judicial powers. In the view of the Soviet Delegation this was inacceptable. The effect would be to set up outside control over a disfranchised state. This step would be a violation of Italy’s sovereignty, which it was intended to restore by the conclusion of the peace treaty. On the one hand, while discussing the preamble, the Council had decided to support Italy’s application for membership in the United Nations, and all had admitted that this decision was a logical consequence of the development of relations between the Allies and Italy. In particular, the Soviet Union and the United States had already re-established diplomatic relations with Italy. On the other hand, it was now proposed to set up a body to control the enforcement of the military, economic and political clauses of the treaty. To create such a commission, with executive and judicial powers, would create the impression that an armistice regime was being established. This would not be consistent with the development of Allied relations with democratic Italy or with the decision to support Italy’s application for membership in the United Nations. The Soviet Delegation saw no reason to set up such a control body for Italy after the peace treaty had been concluded. The Soviet Delegation objected to the establishment of such a Treaty Commission as was proposed by Mr. Byrnes.

Mr. Byrnes reminded his Soviet friend that the Council of Foreign Ministers in September had agreed that provision should be made for the establishment of machinery to enforce the military, naval and air clauses of the peace treaty. He therefore assumed that there was no question about establishing a commission in accordance with that decision. The next question was whether there should be no machinery at all for the enforcement of the treaty other than the military clauses. The treaty would contain provisions concerning reparations, restitution, economic questions, and war criminals. On the question of restitution, [Page 197] for example, if the Italian Government maintained that certain claimed property was not justifiably claimed, would the claimant government be able to march in and take the property? Would there be a fight about it? Or would we have a commission to determine the question of the restitution of that property? There were certain to be cases involving claims to ships and other property. Certainly there would be conflicts of opinion between the Italian Government and the claimant governments. In the view of the United States there would have to be provision for some machinery to determine those questions in the period following the ratification of the treaty. One such body could be appointed to control the execution of the military clauses, in accordance with the September decision, and another for reparations, a third for restitution, a fourth for war criminals; it would seem to be simpler and better to appoint one commission to handle all these various questions. This proposal would not expand the powers of the commission beyond what was specifically stated in the treaty. The U.S. proposal said that the commission should have such powers as are assigned to it by the provisions of the treaty. It would control only Italy’s performance of those duties which Italy would be charged by the treaty with performing. For exercising those functions, the commission would have executive and judicial powers.

Mr. Byrnes did not care about the exact language of the provision but did believe that when provision was made in the treaty for rights as to reparation, restitution, war criminals, etc., some machinery must be provided for carrying those rights into effect. With reference to the allegation that this would be a permanent body, it was clear that the proposal provided that the commission should carry out the tasks assigned to it as soon as possible and in any event should complete its work within a period of eighteen months from the entry into force of the treaty. Replying to M. Molotov’s reference to Italy’s admission to the United Nations, Mr. Byrnes said that the United Nations could never be called upon to enforce a provision of the peace treaty with respect to reparation or restitution. The machinery for that must be provided in the treaty itself. It was fundamental that the nations which imposed conditions on Italy by the treaty should have the power to enforce them and that machinery should be established to do it.

M. Molotov asked whether it was intended to leave Allied troops in Italy for this period.

Mr. Byrnes said he had no information as to what was proposed with respect to troops, but that the United States had a definite position regarding all troops. The United States would like to have an agreement today to withdraw all Allied troops from other countries at the earliest possible date. He had given no thought to this in connection with the proposal for a Treaty Commission. The presence or [Page 198] absence of troops was not relevant to the decision on whether machinery was provided to enforce the treaty or these questions were left to be quarreled about between the Italian Government and the signatory Allied Governments.

Mr. Byrnes called attention to the fact that the U.S. proposal said that Italy would undertake to provide the commission with all information and facilities necessary for the accomplishment of its task, including the grant of diplomatic immunities. There was no provision for troops or any thought of having troops in Italy to enforce the requirements of the treaty.

Mr. Bevin understood that there was no dispute about setting up a body to verify the enforcement of the military clauses, in accordance with the decision taken at London. That had already been agreed. He wondered whether it would be wise to separate the two questions and asked if some other suggestion might be made regarding the remainder of the clauses.

M. Molotov said that the examination of the question of maintaining control over Italy after the signature of the treaty had shown what this proposal would actually mean. It would mean the continuation of Allied control. In the U.S. proposal it was intended to assign wide functions and powers to the Treaty Commission. The Soviet Delegation considered that it would be inadvisable to adopt such a plan. He suggested that the proposal to set up a control authority be dropped, both with respect to the whole treaty and with respect to the military clauses alone. The Soviet Delegation felt that the decision already taken with respect to supporting Italy for membership in the United Nations would insure Italy an equal status in the United Nations and would help to promote friendly relations between Italy and the Allied Powers. To set up a control body to supervise even the military clauses of the treaty would be inconsistent with this decision. Therefore the Soviet Delegation objected to the U.S. proposal.

Mr. Bevin was puzzled concerning the position which Italy would be in after the conclusion of the treaty. The U.K. certainly had no desire to control Italy or to keep troops there any longer than was necessary. But, assuming that reparations were to be collected, how would it be done? What machinery would Italy appeal to and how could Italy be helped to carry out its obligations? Would this be taken up through diplomatic channels? Under this plan Italy itself would become the arbitrator between the claimant Allied Powers. Everything would be left vague. The Allied Powers would be in an awkward position if certain clauses were not carried out. What would be done if a dispute arose between different Allied Powers concerning the execution of those clauses? Would action be taken through diplomatic [Page 199] channels or would there be some body or tribunal through which such matters could be disposed of? It did not seem clear how the execution of the clauses could be administered unless some body was set up to do it.

M. Molotov referred to Mr. Bevin’s statement that the Allies should supervise payment of reparations by Italy. The question arose whether such control would be exercised over a period of six years, since there had been a proposal to exact reparations over a six-year period.

Mr. Bevin said it was easy to answer that question since he had not accepted the proposal for reparations over six years. He favored once-for-all deliveries. That was the difference between the Soviet and the British proposals.

M. Molotov wished only to state that the proposal for control had no relevance to the question of exacting reparations from Italy. He feared that it might be used as a pretext for keeping troops in Italy after the conclusion of the peace treaty.

Mr. Bevin said that the British Government had no intention of doing anything of the kind. He said that M. Molotov must accept his honesty in this business and that such imputations should not be made.

Mr. Byrnes said that as the author of the proposal for the Treaty Commission he would like to answer the imputation. He hoped that the Soviet Representative was not serious in his reference to the United States’ wishing to retain troops in Italy.

M. Molotov said that he had only asked the question.

Mr. Byrnes replied that he was only making an answer. When the treaty should be signed with Italy, the United States would wish to have its troops return home. The United States Delegation had been pleading with the Soviet Delegation for days to put on the agenda the subject of Austria. It wanted the troops in Austria to leave there and to return home. If it were possible to have a treaty with Austria at the same time as the treaty with Italy, there would be no difficulties regarding the necessity of landing troops and supplies in Italy to be transferred to Austria. Last December the United States had proposed that all Four Powers agree to the reduction of troops in Austria. If the Soviet Government wanted its troops home, and the U.S. Government wanted its troops home, then it might be agreed right now to reduce the troops in Austria to a figure not more than 15,000 for each of the four Governments. If the Soviet Government would do that, it would not have the burden of maintaining troops in other countries on the lines of communication to Austria. Mr. Byrnes again asked his Soviet friend if he would agree to put Austria on the agenda so that a treaty could be signed with Austria [Page 200] at the same time as the treaty with Italy, and thus all troops could be withdrawn.

M. Molotov replied that when the Council came to discuss Austria, it would discuss the question raised by Mr. Byrnes, but now it was discussing the question of Italy. In view of the fact that Allied troops were in many countries, many questions might be raised in connection with the withdrawal of these troops. There were such troops in China, Egypt, Transjordan, Greece, and other countries.

Mr. Bevin said that a proposal had been made that the Council should renounce the decision which it had made in London regarding control machinery.

Mr. Byrnes said that he had suggested this new proposal for a Treaty Commission solely because it seemed to him the most orderly thing to do. It seemed sensible to have a commission to take care not only of the military questions but of others as well. However, since it appeared to be impossible to reach agreement on providing machinery for the enforcement of clauses on reparations, restitution, etc., he would withdraw his proposal for a Treaty Commission, for the time being. He asked only that a commission be established for the execution of the military clauses in accordance with the agreement reached by the Council in September.

M. Molotov said that the Soviet Delegation objected to the establishment of an Inspectorate or of any control body after the signature of the treaty of peace. Examination of the question had shown that the existence of such a body might be used as an excuse for keeping troops in Italy after the signature of the treaty even though that was not dictated by any necessity or prompted by the interests of the Allies.

Mr. Bevin stated that he was unable to bring the discussion to a conclusion as there was no agreement, and asked what decision should be taken.

Mr. Byrnes said that he would like to ask M. Molotov in all seriousness what idea the latter had with respect to the enforcement of the treaty if there arose differences between the Italian Government and any one of the Allied Powers with respect to the treaty obligations.

M. Molotov thought that such questions could be settled directly between the interested Power and Italy or through diplomatic channels.

Mr. Byrnes asked, if the Italian Government did not comply with the provisions of the treaty concerning disarmament, what procedure M. Molotov had in mind.

M. Molotov said that the interested Powers might reach agreement through diplomatic channels and then make representations to [Page 201] the Italian Government. If that proved insufficient, they might take additional measures.

Mr. Byrnes suggested that, if the four Ministers could not agree now regarding machinery, would it not be more difficult for them to agree if they were merely sending messages from one capital to another regarding some particular phase of Italy’s obligations under the treaty.

M. Molotov said that he felt that they should arrive at some logical conclusion. If control machinery for Italy were established, it would have to be provided with force in order to oblige Italy by force to comply with the treaty, but he did not think that that was the purpose behind the proposal. Therefore, why was it necessary to have any control machinery at all?

Mr. Bevin stated that there appeared to be no agreement and that it might be better to pass on to the next subject.

Austro-Italian Frontier

Mr. Bevin called on M. Couve de Murville to report for the Deputies.

M, Couve de Murville reported that the Deputies had come to certain conclusions respecting the question of the Austro-Italian frontier, which had been referred to them by the Ministers, and wished to submit those conclusions for approval. They were as follows:

  • “1. Having reconsidered the requests made by Austria for the rectification of the Austro-Italian frontier, the Deputies confirm that these requests do not correspond to minor rectifications in the sense of the decision taken by the Council of Ministers of 14th September, 1945. Consequently, these requests cannot be considered unless the Council decides otherwise.
  • “2. The Austrian Government will be officially informed of the decision of 14th September, 1945 and of the fact that their requests are not considered to be in conformity with that decision and that they cannot therefore be considered.”

M. Molotov stated he would suggest the Council approve the Deputies’ decision.

Mr. Bevin asked whether there were any objections.

Mr. Byrnes said he had no objections but that if in its reply the Austrian Government should present a claim deemed to be a proposal for a minor rectification within the Council’s decision of September 14, 1945 and should request to be heard on this claim, he proposed that the Austrian Government be granted a hearing.

Mr. Bevin said that if Austria took the initiative in attempting to be heard, it seemed to him that the decision had already been made that Austria had a right to be heard, but the present communication would not invite Austria to present its view orally. The initiative would depend on Austria.

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M. Molotov felt that the Council should confine itself to the adoption of the report of the Deputies. If Austria should make any proposals, then those proposals could be considered.

Mr. Byrnes agreed with M. Molotov and said that any Austrian request for a hearing should be considered in the light of the decision on this point made at Potsdam.

The report of the Deputies was then accepted.

The meeting adjourned at 1:15 p.m.

  1. For a list of persons present at this meeting, see the Record of Decisions, infra.
  2. Reference here is to the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers at their 7th Meeting, September 17, 1945, 4 p.m.; see the Record of this meeting, item 2, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 209.
  3. Not printed.