740.00119 EW/1–2047: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Gallman ) to the Secretary of State


403. We discussed today with acting head Southern Department, Foreign Office, question of setting up of civilian tripartite commissions in Sofia, Bucharest, and Budapest (see Dept’s 206, January 14, Budapest’s 3, January 9,1 and Sofia’s 6, January 102) without indicating Department’s feelings regarding general principles set forth in Sofia’s telegram.

In general, Foreign Office is aware of dangers inherent in setting up commissions analogous to ACCs in respective countries. Today Foreign Office held meeting on subject at which were present Sterndale-Bennett (who will replace Houston-Boswall),3 Holman,4 and [Page 4] Helm.5 Foreign Office official told us following decisions were reached at this meeting:

Chairmanships of commissions should be rotating for a period of a month or any other agreed time.
Secretary Generalships of commissions should be rotating, and representatives on Secretariat should be members of Legations’ staffs.
Official languages to be used should be Russian and English.
Decisions should be unanimous. In this connection, Foreign Office felt that Russians would refuse to accept majority decisions, but probably would accept unanimous decisions as it would give them as well as UK and US a veto.
Request of any one of three representatives should be sufficient to call a meeting of commissions; in any case there should be meeting regularly stated intervals.

From the above remarks of Foreign Office official, Department will observe that Foreign Office is thinking along same lines as Department in several instances.

We said to Foreign Office official that experience had shown that on the ACCs in the three countries, the Russians had used formalized procedural arrangements for their own purposes, and that a certain flexibility appeared necessary in these civil tripartite commissions in order that Russians would be stopped from similar practices. Official replied that this was a good point, and that he would make note of it. He added, however, that a golden mean between formalization and flexibility must be found as too much flexibility could be used to UK and US disadvantage by the Russians.

Foreign Office intention is to bring its views to Department’s attention on a formal basis, and official hoped that Department will formulate its own ideas and communicate them to Foreign Office.

Sent Dept 403, repeated Sofia 1, Bucharest 1, and Budapest 3.

  1. Same as telegram 31, January 9, from Budapest; see footnote 1 to telegram 206, January 14, to London, supra.
  2. Same as telegram 23, January 10, from Sofia, p. 1.
  3. John Cecil Sterndale Bennett succeeded William Evelyn Houstoun-Boswall as British Political Representative in Bulgaria. On September 18, Sterndale Bennett was appointed British Minister to Bulgaria.
  4. Adrian Holman, British Political Representative in Rumania. On September 17, Holman was appointed British Minister to Rumania.
  5. Alexander Knox Helm, British Political Representative in Hungary. On September 17, Helm was appointed British Minister to Hungary.