CFM Files

United States Delegation Journal

USDel (PC) (Journal) 16

[Here follows a summary of Enckell’s speech, text of which is printed supra.]

General Theron (South Africa) made a plea for better understanding among the Allied States represented at the Conference. He urged that action be taken to eliminate the atmosphere of suspicion which was prevalent in Europe and was quite evident at the Conference. He hoped also that the Conference would be magnanimous toward the enemy states and wished to mention in particular Italy, which had played a great part in the last two years of the war. He referred also to the heroic efforts made by Greece.

Mr. Alexander (U.K.) said that recent speeches of various delegations had tended to endanger the work of the Conference rather than to promote it. The purpose of the Conference was to put an end to the state of war and to restore normal conditions in Europe as far as possible. The United Kingdom Delegation took exception to the statement that Italy was not yet democratic and was still speaking with the voice of fascism. Mr. Alexander also defended the policies of the U.K. and the U.S. in Italy during the armistice period. They had contributed to Italy’s revival both materially and in other ways and were in no sense attempting to dominate Italy. The draft peace terms with Italy were not based on a spirit of vengeance. Mr. Alexander repudiated charges that the U.K. wished to dominate Italy economically or militarily. On the subject of the Balkan treaties, he said that it was surely wrong to allow Bulgaria, an enemy state, to [Page 242] bring forward territorial claims against Greece, which had fought gloriously in the war from the beginning and had suffered at the hands of the Bulgarians. He was surprised that the Ukrainian Delegation had supported such a claim. He thought it only just that the Balkan enemy states should be obliged to restore Allied interests in their territory. He denied the charge that the principle of freedom of economic opportunity was a disguise for designs against small countries. The alternative to it was closed economic blocs in which the strong would dominate the weak; there were signs of the growth of such a system at the present time. In conclusion Mr. Alexander asked for an end of suspicion since only in a world of sincere men could they attain unity and make a just peace.

M. Bidault (France) then made a plea for more conciliatory feeling among the members of the Conference. He said he had been surprised by the great differences not between the Conference and the enemy states, but within the Conference itself. He said France hoped for a stable peace both with Italy and the Balkan states. In Eastern Europe France considered that it had direct interests and responsibilities even though it would not be signatory of the treaties with those enemy states. France held to its traditional ties with Eastern Europe. M. Bidault hoped that the problems before the Conference would be examined objectively with a view to reaching full agreement.

M. Molotov commented on the statement made by the Foreign Minister of Finland.10 He said that the Soviet Delegation considered that the Peace Treaty with Finland must be based on the Armistice terms. He saw no justification for modification of the territorial and reparations clauses as the Finnish representative had proposed. He called attention to the fact that Finland had not been occupied militarily and that the Soviet Union had already lightened the burden of reparations. He warned Finland not to listen to the voice of adventurers who might try to turn it from the path of democracy and cooperation with the Soviet Union.

M. Molotov stated that the Soviet Delegation maintained the view it had already put forward concerning the proposed Peace Treaty clauses based on the principle of equality of economic opportunity. He said it was claimed that this principle benefited all countries, whereas the fact was that small countries objected to it; the five enemy states objected to it. It was supported only by countries capable of dominating by their capital smaller countries or countries weakened by the war. He asked why the clauses embodying this principle were proposed only for eighteen months and not permanently. On the subject of full compensation for property losses he [Page 243] said that this represented too great a burden, and that the principle of partial compensation should be adopted, as was done in the case of reparation.

On the subject of Greece, M. Molotov stated that that nation had contributed greatly to the common cause. References to its contribution should mention the heroic deeds of the EAM. The Soviet Union paid tribute to Greece, but when the Greek Delegation announced plans of annexation and partition of the territory of other states, to remain silent would mean to encourage those adventurist plans. Greece should be warned against such policies.

M. Molotov concluded by mentioning rumors of the postponement of the Peace Conference. The Soviet Delegation thought that they should all continue to work together to bring the Conference to a successful conclusion, and that it should not be postponed.

It was decided to confirm the proposal of the Secretariat which laid down the procedure for hearing the views of Albania, Mexico, Cuba and Egypt. Representatives of those four states would be heard in plenary session on August 17 at 10:00 a.m. and would be present during the ensuing discussion without participating therein. The Greek Delegation took occasion to state that Greece was in a state of war with Albania and believed Albania should be treated as an ex-enemy state.

The Conference agreed to place as the first item on the agenda for that meeting the question of inviting Austria to express its views before the Conference. M. Vyshinsky stated that the Soviet Delegation saw no reason to invite Austria and would develop its argument on this point when the question came up.

It was decided that the following Commissions would meet on August 16 to elect chairmen, vice chairmen, and rapporteurs: Political-Territorial Commission for Rumania (10 a.m.); Political-Territorial Commission for Bulgaria (10:45 a.m.), Political-Territorial Commission for Hungary (11:30 a.m.); Political-Territorial Commission for Finland (12:15 p.m.); Economic Commission for the Balkans and Finland (4 p.m.); Military, Naval and Air Commission (4:45 p.m.); Legal and Drafting Commission (5:30 p.m.); Genera] Commission (6:15 p.m.). The Political-Territorial Commission for Italy would meet at 4 p.m. to elect a rapporteur. It was agreed to set August 20 midnight as the deadline for the submission of amendments and new proposals relating to the draft treaties. This rule would not prevent the submission later of amendments for the purpose of bringing about agreements and meeting new situations.

  1. For text of Molotov’s comments, see Molotov, Problems of Foreign Policy, p. 121.