Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Southern European Affairs (Barbour) to the Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs (Reber)
Subject: British request for Department’s views concerning various aspects of the implementation of the peace treaties with Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary[Page 39]
Henderson1 of the British Embassy has sent us an aide-mémoire,2 of which a copy is attached; and, on instructions, requests that I arrange to discuss the British views set forth therein with himself and Dennis Allen3 as soon as convenient.
If you agree, I propose to give the Embassy our views along the following lines:4
“1) We concur in the view set forth in the opening paragraph of the Embassy’s aide-mémoire, that it is difficult to formulate in advance any general principles with regard to the implementation of the peace treaties and agree as to the desirability of constant consultation between the US and UK Governments before sending instructions on this subject, such consultation to be supplemented by the continuance of the present satisfactory consultation between US and UK Representatives in Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary.
2) We concur that it seems advisable at this time that flexibility be maintained (paragraph 2 of the aide-mémoire) in our approach to treaty implementation problems and that it may be desirable for the US and UK Governments to take the lead separately in regard to implementation of different articles in the treaties. However, it occurs to us that rather than to establish an understanding as to certain articles which will, or have, become of primary concern to one of the two countries, it may be preferable for a division to be made on the basis of specific cases as they arise. In that manner we might be in a position to take advantage of the particular conditions involved in specific cases with special reference to such aspects of the case as the extent of the US or UK interests involved in such a matter.
3) As regards the Foreign Office’s ideas on detailed proposals (paragraph 3 of the aide-mémoire) our tentative views, subject to change in the light of developments, are as follows:
- We would prefer to have an opportunity for the two Governments to consider what further action should be taken in connection with the approach of October 7 and October 22 to the Bulgarians with regard to the Bulgarian Army, on the basis of the replies, or absence of replies, from the Bulgarian Government. We feel that the Bulgarian response to those communications may well give some indication of the tactics Bulgaria will employ with regard to the implementation of the treaty generally and that, since that attitude will no doubt also be adopted in the other two countries, we should have an opportunity to examine the implications of further action in relation to all three countries, rather than to set our course solely on the basis of the situation in Bulgaria, as determined by our local representatives.
- We share the Foreign Office’s doubts as to the advisability of a visit to the Greek frontier area in Bulgaria before the end of the 90 days allowed to evacuate the Soviet Army. It also seems [Page 40] to us undesirable to risk provoking an incident or at least tipping our hand as to our future intentions by any attempt during that period to see how near the frontier a visiting party can get. We agree that further consideration should be given the matter following receipt of the joint recommendations of Messrs. Sterndale-Bennett and Heath.
- c and d)
- The Department has agreed with the British suggestion that further steps in regard to obtaining military information in Rumania and Hungary await developments and further consideration following the receipt of a reaction to the approaches we have already made in Bulgaria. Subject to the concurrence of the US Minister in Bucharest we see no objection to British representations to the Rumanian Government in respect to information on naval affairs and would be prepared to instruct the US Minister to support such representations.
- We think the same considerations set forth in regard to travel and inspection visits by US and UK representatives in Bulgaria during the 90-day Soviet withdrawal period apply almost equally to Rumania and Hungary. During that period the Soviets could maintain that the presence of occupation troops would justify refusal to permit free travel by service attachés anywhere in the country. After the 90-day period Rumanian or Hungarian refusal to permit travel in areas manifestly outside any reasonable Soviet corridors of communication would be obvious subterfuge to conceal illicit activities. It would be preferable to avoid raising such a conflict of views until the termination of the 90-day period clarifies the legal position of Soviet troops.
- The Department concurs in the unwisdom of establishing the committee of the three heads of mission in any of the countries on any form of a continuing basis and that the heads of mission should be convoked only with regard to specific disputes which have reached the arbitration stage. We also believe there is merit in the Foreign Office view that the treaty machinery may bring more tangible results if invoked in cases involving material interests rather than with a view to obtaining compliance with the human rights provisions of the treaties. However, in such cases as that about to be raised by the trial of Mr. Maniu in Rumania, it is felt that, as indicated in the aide-mémoire, the issues involved are so fundamental that we would be remiss if we did not envisage utilization of all possible treaty remedies to obtain condemnation of obvious violations of the basic human rights guarantees contained in the treaties. While we recognize that satisfaction is unlikely in such a matter in a totalitarian state, it seems clear to us, by analogy with the Petkov case in Bulgaria, that our efforts to obtain compliance with the human rights treaty obligations are not without useful effect in exposing to the world the totalitarian methods of the satellite governments. We do not feel that apparent stultification of treaty machinery in a case like that of Mr. Maniu would jeopardize the effectiveness of that machinery in subsequent cases involving material interests.
As regards Article 37 (3) of the Rumanian treaty, it is believed that there may be some misunderstanding. While the language in paragraph 1 of Article 37 would imply by the words “acting in concert” that the three heads of mission should coordinate action in dealing with the Rumanian Government in connection with representing the Allied and Associated Powers in matters concerning the execution and the interpretation of the treaty, the omission of the phrase “acting in concert” from paragraph 3 of that same article would seem clearly to establish the right of the three heads of mission separately to require from the Rumanian Government information and assistance necessary to fulfill their treaty duties.
As to the procedure suggested in the concluding paragraph of the aide-mémoire, it is suggested the British Embassy be given copies of such studies and instructions as the Department has already prepared in regard to the implementation of specific treaty articles and that, in informing the Embassy that such views are still tentative and have not been cleared at the highest levels, solicit such comments as the Foreign Office might wish to make. These studies and tentative instructions have already been circulated to our missions with request for the views of those offices. In conclusion, I think we should again emphasize our agreement as to the advisability of a flexible approach and possibly add a caution that we are not certain to what extent it is advisable to crystallize the US and UK positions in regard to specific action in advance of consideration of individual problems.5
- John Nicholas Henderson, Second Secretary of the British Embassy.↩
- William Denis Allen, Counselor of the British Embassy.↩
- The memorandum appears to have been approved by Reber. A marginal note by Barbour on the source text indicates that a copy of the text that follows was given to Robert Cecil, Second Secretary of the British Embassy, on October 30.↩
In a letter to Walworth Barbour, dated November 28, not printed, Rudolf E. Schoenfeld, Minister in Rumania, commented upon the Department’s views presented here as follows:
“May I say that the Department’s approach so accurately reflects the views we hold here that we feel as though there had been a certain amount of telepathy.
“We here are particularly impressed with the need for an empirical approach to specific problems rather than making any attempt to lay down a rigid blueprint in advance. Conditions and personalities here are far too fluid and unpredictable to permit of the latter system.” (740.0011 EW (Peace)/10–3047)