Scope of Coverage

This compilation presents documentation on the Paris Conference of twenty-one nations, convened in accordance with the decision made by the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) at Moscow, December 16–26, 1945, to provide the other Allied nations with an opportunity to express their views on the draft peace treaties for Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Finland. (For documentation on the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, see Foreign Relations, 1945, volume II, pages 560 ff.) The Paris Conference, which opened on July 29, 1946, was charged with considering and recommending changes in the draft treaties which had been prepared by the Council of Foreign Ministers during its sessions at London and Paris, January 18–July 12, 1946. (For documentation on these sessions, see Foreign Relations, 1946, volume II.) The Paris Peace Conference completed its work on October 15, adopting 53 recommendations by votes of at least two-thirds and 41 by majority votes of less than two-thirds. The Council of Foreign Ministers adopted 47 of the former recommendations and 24 of the latter in its final drafting of the treaties at New York, November 4–December 12, 1946. (Documentation on the New York session is also printed in Foreign Relations, 1946, volume II.)

The papers published in this compilation concern the entire European treaty-making process during the period of the Paris Peace Conference, that is to say, the proceedings of the Council of Foreign Ministers and their Deputies from July 29 to October 15, as well as those of the Peace Conference itself. Matters considered by Secretary of State James F. Byrnes and his advisers while they were in Paris which were not directly related to the Peace Conference, are not dealt with here, but in the appropriate Foreign Relations volume according to subject.

The initial meetings of the Conference in plenary session were devoted to opening remarks by the various delegates. The articles of the five treaties were then distributed for detailed consideration to eight commissions which reported to the Plenary Conference, either approving each individual article as drafted by the Council of Foreign Ministers or proposing that changes be recommended. The Conference completed its work by considering the commission reports in plenary [Page XX] session and drafting recommendations which were submitted to the Council of Foreign Ministers. During the period of the Conference, the Deputies of the Council met eleven times attempting to expedite proceedings by achieving Great Power harmony on amendments and other issues before they were debated publicly by the Conference. The Council itself met on six occasions to discuss broad lines of Conference activity and to coordinate the Conference schedule with the over-all treaty-making process and with the schedule of the United Nations.

Organization of the Compilation

Volumes III and IV of Foreign Relations for 1946 contain documentation on the Paris Peace Conference exclusively. The present volume is limited to proceedings—accounts of the meetings of the various bodies of the Conference, of the Council of Foreign Ministers and their Deputies, and memoranda of conversations. Volume IV includes the draft treaties submitted to the Conference by the Council of Foreign Ministers, amendments proposed by delegations, written observations by ex-enemy states, certain administrative and procedural documentation, United States diplomatic correspondence and memoranda, commission reports, reports on Trieste by a special CFM commission and by the Conference Subcommission on Trieste, and the final Conference recommendations.

The present volume is organized chronologically in order most clearly to present the day-by-day development of the interacting activities of the peace-making process during the Conference. The largest component element is the greater part of the United States Delegation Journal. The Journal consists of daily summaries circulated within the Delegation of the proceedings of all Conference bodies except the Political and Territorial Commission for Finland, in which the United States did not participate, and the Secretariat. Journal accounts of meetings of the Legal and Drafting Commission and of subcommissions are not printed here since they add little to the commission and subcommission reports printed in volume IV.

The editors have included verbatim records of the plenary meetings in which representatives of the twenty-one nations and the ex-enemy states made opening statements and of the final meetings in which the Conference voted on the treaty texts recommended by the commissions. Verbatim records or United States Delegation minutes of other Conference proceedings have been printed only in cases where the Journal insufficiently describes significant statements or developments.

Other documentation in this volume includes summary minutes of the informal meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers during the Conference, extracts from the minutes of certain meetings of the CFM [Page XXI] Deputies, and memoranda of conversations between United States officials and representatives of other nations. Although Secretary Byrnes often met with various subordinates during morning hours, no records of these meetings are known to exist. The United States Delegation neither held formal meetings nor, aside from the dispatch of segments of the Journal at irregular intervals, reported to Washington in a systematic way. Therein lies the explanation for the absence from this compilation of records of Delegation deliberations and comprehensive reports to the Department of State.

The Department of State files contain a considerable volume of correspondence—principally telegraphic—between the Department and the Delegation on specific issues before the Conference. Although certain messages of this type have been included in Section VII (United States Delegation Papers) of volume IV, most of these telegrams dealt with subjects of too detailed a nature to warrant inclusion in this compilation.

Section V of volume IV contains C.P. (Gen.) Doc. 1, which includes all amendments to the draft treaties proposed prior to August 21. Section V also contains a selection of amendments presented after that date. Often, reference to the text of an amendment is prerequisite to understanding the proceedings of the Conference body which was considering it: Therefore, if the record of the proceedings of a meeting does not provide the document number of an amendment under consideration, the editors have provided it in brackets immediately following first mention of the amendment in each record, to facilitate the location of the text in Section V of volume IV.

Most of the documents printed here, or copies thereof, are found in Lot M–88 of the Department of State files. This lot contains almost all previously published Conference documents as well as minutes of Commission meetings, press releases and administrative files of the United States Delegation, country files, working files of American officials, and telegrams exchanged between the Department and the Delegation. Most of the other previously unpublished material contained in this compilation is located under Department of State central file numbers 740.00119 Council and 740.0011 European War (Peace).

Previously Published Documentation

The Paris Peace Conference presented an unusual situation for the editors because the proceedings of the Conference were public and most of its documents were unclassified. In these circumstances, it proved necessary to use certain previously published material to document United States participation, especially since neither of the sources from which a substantial amount of material has been reprinted has had wide distribution. Paris Peace Conference, 1946: Selected Documents [Page XXII] (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1947, Department of State Publication 2868), compiled by Velma H. Cassidy, contains the following material which appears in the present compilation: the draft treaties, commission reports, Conference recommendations, observations on the draft treaties by ex-enemy states, certain reports on Trieste, and a few selections from the United States Delegation Journal. Various memoranda submitted to the Conference by interested nations constitute the only major category of documentation contained in Paris Peace Conference, 1946, which is not printed here.

An extensive selection of public Conference documents exists in Collection of Documents of the Paris Conference (Paris: Imprimerie Rationale, 1947). This official record in four volumes is the most complete compilation of Conference papers published to date. It contains the verbatim records of all plenary meetings, records of decisions in commission proceedings, the draft treaties, commission reports, proposed amendments, and Conference recommendations. The present compilation includes all the above except commission records of decisions and most of the plenary verbatim records. The Collection has had extremely limited distribution in the United States.