The Embassy of the Soviet Union to the Department of State

No. 93

In reply to the note of the Department of State dated April 12 in regard to the holding of a conference in order to draft a new convention [Page 604] on the regime of navigation on the Danube, the Embassy of the, U.S.S.R., upon instructions from the Soviet Government, has the honor to communicate the following:

The Soviet Government is of the opinion that the holding of the aforementioned conference, provided for in the Declaration of the Council of Foreign Ministers of December 12, 1946,1 cannot be postponed any longer and that it is necessary to establish at once the date of such a conference. In view of the fact that the Government of the U.S.A. also approves the holding of this conference at the earliest possible moment, the Soviet Government proposes that the date of the conference be set for May 30 of this year in the city of Belgrade.

In as much as the program of the conference and the participation therein are clearly determined in paragraph 1 of the aforementioned Declaration of the four Ministers of December 12, 1946, the Soviet Government does not see any necessity for preliminary negotiations in this connection, particularly in view of the fact that such preliminary negotiations would only delay the conference and therefore would decidedly prejudice the cause of speedy secularization of navigation on the Danube and of keeping the Danube itself in navigable condition. Moreover, preliminary negotiations between the four governments on questions to be taken up by the conference may be justly construed by its other participants as impairing their legal right to discuss, on an equal basis, the questions connected with this conference. All questions relating to the drafting of a new convention on the regime of navigation on the Danube as well as questions regarding the work of the conference itself can and must, in accordance with the declaration of the four Ministers of December 12, 1946 and the treaties of peace with Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary, be a matter of discussion in the conference itself.

As regards the matter of inviting Austria, the Soviet Government does not see any ground for changing its position as stated in the note of the Embassy of March 15, in as much as the treaty with Austria has not yet been signed.

In order that the conference may be held, the Soviet Government proposes to the Government of the U.S.A., as well as to the Governments of Great Britain and France, that the enclosed text of the joint communication of the four governments be sent to Yugoslavia. According to the information of the Soviet Government, the Government of Yugoslavia agrees to make it possible for a Danube conference to be held in the city of Belgrade and will be in a position to give the necessary cooperation in the realization of such a conference.

[Page 605]

The Soviet Government will be grateful to the Government of the U.S.A. for the earliest possible notification to the effect that it agrees to transmit the enclosed text of the joint communication to the Government of Yugoslavia, in order to assure the holding of the Danube conference on the above-mentioned date.


Text of the Joint Communication of the Four Governments to the Government of Yugoslavia

The Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the French Republic, which signed the declaration of December 12, 1946, concerning the convocation of a conference to draft a new convention on the regime of navigation on the Danube, have agreed to call such a conference for May 30, 1948, the city of Belgrade having been selected as the site of the conference.

The four governments request the Government of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, in case it agrees to the contemplated time and place of meeting of the conference, to be good enough to transmit to the states listed in the said declaration—namely, the Union of S.S.R., the Ukrainian S.S.R., Rumania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the U.S.A., the United Kingdom and France—an invitation to send their delegations to the conference on the aforesaid date. Such invitation should be issued on behalf of Yugoslavia and of the four powers which signed this joint communication.

  1. This Four Power declaration provided that a conference should be called within six months of the coming into force of the Balkan treaties. These treaties became effective on September 15, 1947, so accordingly the call should be issued by March 15, 1948. See Department of State Bulletin, June 6, 1948, p. 735, and June 20, 1948, p. 793.