At the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, July 17–August 2, 1945, the Heads of Government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union reached agreement on the establishment of a Council of Foreign Ministers representing the five principal powers (United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, France, and China) to carry on the preparatory work for the post-World War II peace settlement. The Council was also to take up other matters which might be referred to it by agreement of the participating governments. Documentation on the Conference of Berlin, including the discussions of and the decision on the establishment of the Council, is published in Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference) 1945, in two volumes.
From September 11 to October 2, 1945, the Council of Foreign Ministers held its first session in London and discussed the peace treaties with Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Finland. Some important decisions were made, but the progress was limited and slow. Documentation on this first session of the Council is included in Foreign Relations, 1945, Volume II, pp. 99–559. At a conference in Moscow, December 16–26, 1945, the Secretary of State and the British and Soviet Foreign Ministers reached agreement concerning the stages for concluding peace settlements for Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Finland. These stages would include the preparation of draft peace treaties for the five defeated European nations by the Council of Foreign Ministers, the convening of a twenty-one nation peace conference to consider the draft treaties and to make recommendations regarding them, the reconsideration and completion of the treaties in the light of the recommendations of the peace conference, and the signing of the final texts of the treaties. For documentation on the Tripartite Conference of Foreign Ministers at Moscow, see Foreign Relations, 1945, Volume II, pp. 560–826.
The present volume provides documentation on transactions of the Council of Foreign Ministers in 1946, and particularly on the role of the United States, as it proceeded through the various stages of preparing the peace settlements for Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Finland. Also included are materials relating to the Council’s informal consideration of German and Austrian questions. Chapter I of this volume presents selective documentation on the meetings of the Deputies of the Foreign Ministers, From January through April 1946, [Page VIII] the Deputies held over fifty meetings in London and Paris to work out preliminary terms of peace for the five defeated European nations in advance of the convening of the Council’s second formal session. Chapter I also includes correspondence relative to the convening of the Council session and other matters related to the peace settlement.
Chapters II, III, and IV of the volume present documentation on the second session of the Council of Foreign Ministers. This session was held in Paris in two parts, from April 25 to May 16 and from June 15 to July 12. The core of these chapters is the United States Delegation records of each of the forty-two formal and fifteen informal meetings of the Council held during its Paris session. These United States records of the Council’s proceedings are printed conjointly with the brief but official quadripartite records of decisions of each of the Council’s formal meetings. Also included here are all of the available records of Secretary of State Byrnes; meetings with other Council members and with the representatives of other nations on matters directly related to peace treaty preparation. The editors have, in short, attempted to present as complete a record as possible of the proceedings of the Council session at the level of the Secretary of State. Limitations of space were important in the editorial decision to include only selective documentation on the other proceedings of the Council session—the continuing meetings of the Deputies, the meetings of the many other quadripartite committees at work on various aspects of the draft treaties, and the conversations of members of the United States Delegation with other delegations. In order to make the printed records of the various Council proceedings clearer and more useful, the editors have also included the texts of the more important official quadripartite papers considered by the Council, such as the proposals of the various delegations and reports of commissions and committees created by the Council. Finally, there are printed in these chapters particularly significant United States diplomatic correspondence with other nations regarding the peace settlements and important reports of United States diplomatic officers.
Through its long Paris session, the Council of Foreign Ministers largely succeeded in achieving a substantial degree of agreement on the contents of the draft treaties of peace with Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Finland. Agreement also was reached on the convening and procedures of a peace conference. Materials on the Paris Peace Conference, July 29–October 15, 1946, will be printed in Volumes III and IV of Foreign Relations for 1946. These volumes include the texts of the draft treaties submitted to the Paris Peace Conference on the basis of the agreements reached on the proposed texts by the Council and the Deputies of the Foreign Ministers.[Page IX]
Foreign Relations, 1946, Volume III will also include the United States Delegation records of five informal meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers held during the course of the Paris Peace Conference. These informal meetings constituted in effect a “non-regular” session of the Council. “Regular sessions” of the Council of Foreign Ministers were characterized by formality in convocation, consecutive meetings over a period of weeks, and a rotational system of location and chairmanship. The term “regular session” was never officially accepted by the Council but merely emerged in response to the need to distinguish the major sessions of the Council from other meetings of the Foreign Ministers. The principal purpose of the five Council meetings at Paris in August, September and October 1946 was to facilitate the work of the Peace Conference. The editors have not regarded as necessary or appropriate the inclusion of records of these Council meetings in the present volume.
Chapters V and VI of this volume present documentation on the third session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, held in New York from November 4 to December 12, 1946. The principal task and achievement of this session was the resolution of those issues of the five draft treaties of peace on which agreement among members of the Council had not yet been reached. In reaching final decisions on the draft treaties, the Council gave consideration to the recommendations made to it by the Paris Peace Conference. By December 6 the Council had completed the treaties of peace with Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Finland. Because of the time needed to complete the editing and translation of the final texts of the treaties, signing ceremonies were set for February 10, 1947. Documentation on the signing of the treaties and subsequent ratification and deposit of ratification of the treaties will be included in Foreign Relations, 1947, Volume III.
In the closing stages of its New York session, the Council of Foreign Ministers turned its attention to preliminary discussion of the peacemaking for Germany and Austria. Decisions were reached regarding the convening of a session of the Council in March 1947 to consider the German, and Austrian peace settlements, and Special Deputies for the German and Austrian treaties were appointed. As in the case of the documentation on the Paris session of the Council, these chapters present complete U.S. Delegation records of all the formal and informal meetings of the Council, quadripartite records of decision of the formal Council meetings, selected records of the meetings of the Deputies, the most important quadripartite documents (official proposals and commission and committee reports), records of private meetings between foreign representatives and the Secretary or other U.S. Delegation members, and related Departmental correspondence.[Page X]
The documentation presented in this volume has been restricted to the transactions of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the most directly related peacemaking problems of 1946, exclusive of the Paris Peace Conference. During the Council sessions in Paris and New York, the Secretary of State and his principal advisers had frequent occasion to discuss with the members of the other delegations, as well as with the representatives of other nations, topics other than those immediately under consideration by the Council. Moreover, a wide range of problems were referred to the Secretary by the Department of State for decision while he was in attendance at these Council sessions. No attempt has been made, however, to include documentation on or make references to such discussions, issues, and decisions as were not directly related to the peacemaking work before the Council. Only when such discussions, issues, and decisions are directly alluded to in the texts of documents printed in this volume have the editors indicated cross-references to materials printed in other volumes of Foreign Relations. For a full understanding of the Secretary’s activities while at Paris and New York, the reader must necessarily consult the other volumes of Foreign Relations for the year 1946.
With few exceptions, all of the documents printed in this volume have been heretofore classified. The principal accomplishments of the Paris and New York sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the draft treaties of peace of July 1946 and the final treaties signed in February 1947, are, of course, a matter of public record. Although the meetings of the Council were secret, the substance of important decisions on various questions affecting the treaties were made known to the press at the time. The essential outline of the transactions of the Paris and New York sessions of the Council in 1946 are included in Making the Peace Treaties 1945–1947, Department of State Publication 2774 (Washington, D.C.: Department of State, 1947). An intimate view of the proceedings of the Council meetings, including excerpts from the U.S. Delegation records printed in this volume are to be found in James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (New York and London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1947), Chapters 7–10, and James F. Byrnes, All in One Lifetime (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1958), Chapters 24 and 25. The trenchant personal observations on the course of the Paris session of the Council of Foreign Ministers by Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, who attended the session as an adviser to Secretary Byrnes, have been published in The Private Papers of Senator Vandenberg, edited by Arthur H. Vandenberg, Jr. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1952), Chapters 15 and 16. An authoritative account by a member of the U.S. Delegation of frontier arrangements worked out by the Council of Foreign Ministers during its many 1946 meetings is contained in John C. Campbell’s [Page XI] “The European Territorial Settlement”, Foreign Affairs, Volume 26, No. 1, October 1947, pp. 196–218. Finally, a general survey of negotiations in and out of the Council of Foreign Ministers regarding the five treaties is set forth by Redvers Opie, Joseph W. Ballantine, Jeannette E. Muther, Paul Birdsall, and Clarence E. Thurber, in The Search for Peace Settlements (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1951), Chapters V–VIII.
The principal source for documents included in this volume is the Department of State’s special 249–box consolidated file on the Council of Foreign Ministers—Lot M–88. Over 40 boxes of this special file are devoted entirely or in large measure to the work of the Council of Ministers and its subordinate agencies, commissions, and committees. With some minor exceptions, this special file contains copies of all of the official quadripartite papers generated by the Council and its agencies together with U.S. Delegation records of the proceedings of the Council and other bodies. Much of the material in Lot M–88 is not included in the numerical central files of the Department of State, but the latter still remain the paramount source on the conduct of affairs in Washington and correspondence with foreign service posts and officers around the world. In the process of gathering materials for this volume, the editors have improved and enlarged the central file holdings of materials relating to the work of the Council of Foreign Ministers by integrating into it important papers from unconsolidated files of various offices and divisions of the Department. Unless it appeared essential to do so, the original provenance of such documents has not been indicated; only the current central file location has been recorded on documents printed or quoted from in this volume.