CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 94: File–Germany Treaty V

The Secretary of State to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Bevin )

Dear Mr. Bevin : I have received your letter of March 2788 concerning procedure for the preparation of the German peace settlement. I believe that since your letter was written I have made clear the views of the American Delegation on this question when it came up at two of our CFM meetings.

Of course I was not at Moscow in 1945 or at the New York meeting of the CFM last November and December. The interpretation you put on the decisions of those two meetings, however, is at variance with the understanding of the American advisers who were present and with the American Delegation minutes. Mr. Byrnes, I understand, at Moscow confined his efforts to obtain Soviet concurrence to the holding of a peace conference for the Italian and satellite treaties. His agreement to a conference of twenty-one named states for those treaties involved no commitment of any kind in regard to the German settlement. At New York, I am told, and the record of decisions (Document CFM/46/NY/7489) seems to bear this out, that discussion was limited solely to the question of states to be invited to present their views to the Deputies for Germany at London prior to the present Moscow conference. At no time, according to our records, was there any discussion of the basis of participation in any future peace conference on Germany. In fact, consideration of questions of procedure with regard to the German peace was one of the tasks specifically assigned the Deputies in London.

As to the future, I believe that we must visualize several stages and several forms of consultation. If we can agree here, I believe that the next step for our Deputies after the Moscow meeting, in such tasks connected with the preparation of the German peace as may be assigned to them, is to consult with other states. This consultation, as [Page 426] we see it, would take two forms. We have agreed to the establishment of four “permanent committees” and appropriate subcommittees, as provided in Paragraphs 2 and 5 of Part II of the Report on Procedure for the Preparation of the German Peace Treaty (CFM/47/M/6090). It is our thought, and I believe you agree, that these committees and subcommittees will be the working parties actually engaged in the drafting of the peace settlement. On these four permanent committees and their subcommittees we feel that in addition to the four Powers represented here, there should be, as your Deputy originally suggested, a “convenient number” of additional representatives of the eighteen states which are neighbors of Germany or which participated with their armed forces in the war against Germany, namely, the eighteen invited to present their views at London prior to this conference. We believe that each of these eighteen states should be represented on at least one of these working committees.

We have agreed also that there should also be set up an Information and Consultation Conference, the functions of which are set forth in Paragraph 7 of Part II of the Report of our Deputies. We believe that with this body all states at war with Germany should be associated and given an opportunity to present their views and in turn to be kept informed of the progress of the work of the Council, the Deputies, and the permanent committees. This broader participation is, I believe, similar to what you had in mind in your references to “the wider group of states” to be consulted under Paragraph 3 of Part I of the Deputies’ Report. It is the form of consultation I visualize for the other states at war with Germany during the period prior to the Peace Conference.

As to participation in the Peace Conference itself, I have urged, as you may recall, that all states at war should be accorded full and equal rights as members of the conference. However, I recognize that there is some difference between the four of us on this question and that it will be extremely difficult to arrive at an agreement on this question here in Moscow. Since such a Peace Conference is under most favorable circumstances many months off, I feel that the question of membership therein may well be left for future consideration.

As to your suggestion that Iran and Mexico be included in the “priority group” of states, I am afraid that I cannot agree. We have taken as the basis for associating this group with us in our work of preparing the peace settlement two criteria, namely, Allied states which are neighbors of Germany, and those which “participated with their armed forces” in the war against Germany. I do not see how we [Page 427] can well make exceptions to these criteria. I mentioned Mexico at the CFM table as an example of the states at war with Germany which I felt were entitled to participate in the work of the Information and Consultation Conference and to participation in the Peace Conference.

I hope the foregoing may help to clarify in your mind the position of the American Delegation with regard to the points raised in your letter and that we will find a basis for common agreement.

Faithfully yours,

George C. Marshall
  1. Ante, p. 407.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. ii, p. 1557.
  3. The annex to document CFM(47) (M)60, March 24, 1947, under reference here, is not printed. For the subsequent redraft of this Report, see document CFM(47) (M)125, April 12, 1947, p. 452.