740.0011 EW Peace/2–2847: Telegram

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


1363. We have received letter dated February 26 from Foreign Office re ours of January 27, which was based on Deptel 418, January 24, re implementation of peace treaties (also Embassy’s 403, January 20).

After apologizing for delay in answering Foreign Office letter continues as follows:

(Verbatim text) “The position of the Foreign Office is generally in agreement with the views of the State Department in this matter. In the first place, we agree that the activities of the four heads of Mission should be arranged so as to reduce to a minimum the possibility of delay on procedural questions, which the Soviet Government might utilize in order to pursue a unilateral policy. We do not wish that the four heads of Mission should be considered as perpetuating the functions of the Allied Control Commissions which existed during the armistice period.

[Page 9]

“Secondly, we agree that there may be considerable advantage in adopting a different procedure in the case of Italy as opposed to that adopted in the Balkan countries.

“Finally, we concur with your interpretation of the language of the treaties which implies that the decisions of the four heads of Mission should be unanimous.

“There remains the question of the appropriate time for discussing the procedure for enforcement of peace treaties. While we agree that it would be inadvisable for us to elaborate [apparent omission] rigid a procedure in advance, we believe at the same time that the complete absence of any agreed procedure would only hold up the work of the Ambassadors at a time when they are likely to be most busy. Since the Ambassadors will have to assume their responsibilities immediately on the entry into force of the treaty, we have felt all along that their duties should be clearly understood between the four powers concerned and that the manner of their work should be laid down in advance. We feel that if no understanding is reached at all before the entry into force of the treaty, the Ambassadors might be prevented from taking prompt and effective action at the beginning of the period of their duties by the necessity to elaborate their own procedure and discuss the extent of their powers. This would be all the more unfortunate because many questions with which the Ambassadors will be concerned will arise at the earliest stage of their responsibilities. In the case of the Balkan countries, this delay might well provide the opportunity for unilateral action by the Russians.

“Our view is therefore that the heads of Mission in each capital should discuss their procedure as early as possible before the coming into force of the treaties so as to enable them to exercise their functions with the least possible delay after the treaties come into force. Before proposing that our representatives should consult their colleagues in this matter, we are anxious to obtain the views of the United States Government on the proposals we have in mind.

“I will now attempt to give you the main principles which we feel should be laid down if the work of the Ambassadors is to be effective.

“In the case of all the four treaties we believe that it would be well to provide that the Chairmanship of the Council of Representatives should rotate monthly. We also feel that meetings of the four representatives should be called by the Chairman at the request of any one of the members and, in any case, once every 15 days. Each representative should be empowered to appoint a deputy to attend meetings and the four heads of Mission should be free to appoint such expert committees as occasion demands. In line with the procedure adopted during the Council of Foreign Ministers, we feel that the following committees would be useful:

  • “1. A Military Committee to advise on the supervision of the military clauses of the treaty, clauses on demilitarization and on war material in conjunction with the Naval, Air and Economic Committees.
  • “2. A Naval Committee to advise on the supervision of naval clauses of the peace treaty.
  • “3. An Air Committee to advise on the supervision of the air clauses of the peace treaty.
  • “4. An Economic Committee or committees to advise on the supervision of the economic clauses of the peace treaty. In addition this committee could assist the Ambassadors in the performance of their functions under the article limiting the Italian Air Force, in the case of the Italian treaty.

“For Italy a Four-Power Naval Commission has been set up, to work under the Ambassadors. The primary duty of this body is to arrange the transfer of the surplus units of the Italian Navy listed in Annex IV B, in accordance with Article 48 of the treaty.

“As I have stated above, we agree that the decisions of the heads of Mission should be unanimous. This would apply to action vis-à-vis the Rumanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian Governments in connection with the carrying out of any article of the peace treaties. Such provision does, of course, give all three powers a veto, but this is a lesser evil than allowing a loophole for unilateral action. In Italy, in view of the possibilities of Russian blocking tactics, it is less desirable to insist on a procedure by which all action must be unanimous.

“In our view an International Secretariat should be established with an office separate from the Embassy or the Legation of any of the Allied powers. It should be composed of one secretary provided by each Embassy or Legation and a clerical staff also provided by the Allied countries. The official languages should be English and Russian, and in the case of Italy, French. The secretaryship should rotate, i.e., the secretary responsible for action at any time should be of the same nationality as the Chairman of the Council of heads of Mission at the same period.

“It is proposed that communications from outside persons or bodies should be addressed to all three or four heads of Mission. The Chairman of the Council would then take any interim action that might be necessary to put the, subject of the communication on the agenda. The reply would be sent by all the heads of Mission jointly and the necessary action taken by the Chairman of the month, the reply being drafted in the language of the Chairman of the month.

“These rules should, of course, be susceptible to local alteration by unanimous decision of the heads of Mission in any of the countries concerned, and I trust that this provision may meet the objections of the State Department to the drawing up of rules of procedure by the heads of Mission in advance of the coming into force of the treaty.

“We are thus strongly in favour of the heads of Mission starting to discuss the procedure for carrying out their functions under the treaties without delay and, if the State Department find it possible to agree with us in this matter, we will send instructions to our representatives in the countries concerned to begin consultations with their colleagues.

“Another question which has bearing on the activities of the heads of Mission in Rumania and Hungary is that of Soviet lines of communication troops in these countries. We view with some anxiety the influence which these troops may exercise in Rumania and Hungary, and we should be very glad to know whether the United States Government contemplates pursuing at Moscow the proposal on the limitation [Page 11] of these forces tabled by Mr. Byrnes at the New York meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.”1 (End verbatim text)

  1. Telegram 1051, March 5, to London, not printed, repeated to Rome, Sofia, Budapest, Bucharest and Moscow as telegrams 317, 72, 226, 142, and 392, respectively, commented on this Foreign Office letter as follows: “We are in general agreement Brit views and you may accordingly undertake discussions with your colleagues along these lines.” (740.0011 EW Peace/2–2847)