CFM Files

United States Delegation Journal

USDel (PC) (Journal) 26

The Chairman suggested that the Commission first consider the two amendments to Article 64 (Reparation) proposed by the Australian Delegation [C.P. (Gen) Docs.1.B. 9 and 10], since a decision on these would determine whether or not it would be necessary to set up a reparation subcommission. An explanatory statement regarding the amendments was made by the Australian representative66 in which he made it clear he was not questioning the $100,000,000 figure for reparation to the U.S.S.R. He did not know whether or not it was a good figure, he said. Referring to the discussion in the Balkan Economic Commission,67 he said Australia had a flexible attitude on the proposals and would consider any arguments advanced on the merits, but that Australia would not be likely to be swayed by arguments which questioned Australia’s motives. The Yugoslav representative, in a speech practically identical with that given by his colleague on the Balkan Economic Commission earlier in the day, urged rejection of the Australian proposals as dilatory and exceeding the competence of the Conference. M. Molotov (U.S.S.R.) then made a new attack on the proposals68 which he characterized as “stereotyped” since they were more or less identical for all the treaties. He said that all the Australian proposals were directed against the interests of the Soviet Union. (The Australian Delegation had submitted so many amendments that it must have had help in drawing them up, he said.) He referred to Article 69 of the Italian treaty (assets in Allied territory) which he said would place a very heavy burden on Italy. Nevertheless the U.S.S.R. had agreed to this clause and would support it. However it had been suggested that the same provisions be adopted in the case of Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. These provisions did not affect the U.S.S.R. but did affect the U.S.A., U.K., Australia, Canada and South Africa. The Australian Delegation had not seen fit to interest itself in the interests of these small ex-enemy countries, he said.

Referring to the proposal previously made by the U.S.S.R. (for reparation of $300 million, of which $200 million would be given to Yugoslavia, Greece and Albania) Molotov said this was a minimum [Page 294] figure which took into account the economic position of Italy. He knew it would not satisfy Yugoslavia and Albania, although he did not know what the position of Greece was since this morning the Greek representative in the Balkan Economic Commission had made “a very confused speech in which he had indicated great sympathy for aggressor states”.

He then referred to the proposal that reparation be paid in foreign currencies, to which he linked the South African proposal (1.S.2.) [C.P. (Gen.) Doc. 1.S.2]. He said the Australian proposal would force the vanquished countries to sell their products in the U.S.A., U.K. and the British Dominions, and the South African proposal would require them to sell at unfair prices. The whole arrangement was designed to enrich merchants in these countries, who would make huge profits.

M. Molotov concluded by stating he was “resolutely opposed” to postponement of the reparation settlements and to the proposal for study of the problem by “some superfluous commission”. The Soviet Union was anxious to improve its relations with the ex-enemy countries in so far as they desired to do so, and was opposed to the interference in their internal affairs which such a commission would mean. The existence of the commission would only serve to discredit the Conference, and would violate the sovereignty of the countries concerned.

  1. E. R. Walker.
  2. See the United States Delegation Journal account of the 4th Meeting of the Economic Commission for the Balkans and Finland, August 27, p. 289.
  3. For text of Molotov’s speech, see Molotov, Problems of Foreign Policy, p. 145.