740.0011 PW (Peace)/8–1247

Memorandum by the Counselor of the Department (Bohlen) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)

Subject: Reply to Soviet Note on Japanese Peace Settlement.

A careful study of the Soviet note objecting to the idea of a conference and Soviet radio comment makes it apparent that the underlying reason for the Soviet attitude is their fear that the Yalta Agreement giving them the Kuriles and the southern part of Sakhalin may be upset. They probably fear that at an eleven-power conference they might be outvoted and this Agreement abrogated.

Since I understand that it is our preference to have Russia attend this conference and we do not intend to go back on the Yalta Agreement, it would seem to me wise when you hand this note to the Soviet Chargé to inform him orally that the U.S., of course, intends to honor its commitments as set forth in the Cairo Declaration, the Yalta Agreement on the Far East, and the Potsdam Declaration, and that you are confident that the other countries, namely, China and Great Britain, who were parties in one way or another to these various declarations, will likewise honor their word. In the circumstances since the four nations, namely, the U.S., the U.K., the Soviet Union, and China, will support at this conference the war-time agreements, there is no possibility of a conference of eleven, even operating under the two-thirds rule, voting to override the commitments contained in these agreements.

It would be well not to go beyond this statement to Mr. Tsarapkin23 and to avoid any implication that the U.S. is assuming any responsibility for the actions of the other participating countries in respect to commitments to which they were not a party.

  1. S. K. Tsarapkin, Minister-Counselor of the Soviet Embassy and Chargé.