The Department of State to the British Embassy


The Department of State refers to the British Embassy’s Aide-Mémoire of April 18, 194657 expressing the hope that the United States would take the initiative at the Paris Peace Conference in regard to the international river conventions. The reasons why the United States would be unable to do so were explained by Mr. Radius of the Department to a representative of the Embassy on April 19. The principal concerns of this Government were that there appeared to be basic differences in the views of the three governments on these problems and that there had been insufficient informal discussions on the subject with a view to reconciling such differences.

It was pointed out that there were at least four bases upon which a request for non-riparian representation on temporary or permanent regulatory commissions could rest:

On the basis of rights carried forward from prewar treaty regimes (It was noted that the United States had no such rights.);
On the basis of occupying powers (It was noted that the United Kingdom had declined to accept this alternative.);
On the basis of special interest (It was noted that this was not an appropriate or convincing argument upon which to rest a case.);
On the basis of victorious powers insuring the peace (It was noted that this was an acceptable position for the United States provided it applied to all international waterways in Europe. This would involve a thorough consideration of the principle of representation on the Central Rhine Commission no less than on a prospective Danube regime.).

It was not known on what basis the United Kingdom or France would rest their cases. The United States believes that the pattern established for provisional regimes will affect the pattern of the permanent regimes and that, therefore, the detailed proposals should be carefully developed simultaneously with the development of general principles, in advance of a tripartite approach to the Soviet Government.

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The Department would be willing to discuss these matters informally with the United Kingdom and French representatives in Washington.

  1. Not printed.