142. Letter From Secretary of State Dulles to Foreign Minister Molotov1

Dear Mr. Molotov: We are all looking forward with pleasure to our dinner tonight which as you have already been informed will be at eight o’clock at the Pacific Union Club.

With a view to facilitating our discussion this evening concerning certain practical arrangements for the meeting of the four Heads of Government, I enclose a list of a number of such questions. The list is, of course, tentative and by no means inclusive, but I believe these questions represent at least some of the points we should examine here.

Sincerely yours,

John Foster Dulles 2




(Based largely on the pattern of the Berlin Meeting of 1954)


Chairmanship and Seating

The Heads of Government will preside in daily rotation, proceeding clockwise around the table, following the seating plan used at Berlin and earlier meetings:

[Here follows a diagram of the seating arrangement.]


Number at Table

Each of the four powers will have five seats at table. A second row of seats will be provided for five advisers. It is recognized that there may be occasions when the four Heads of Government might wish to meet on a more restricted basis.


Order of Speakers

With respect to formal statements, the Heads of Government will normally be called upon in clockwise order. This should not exclude interventions nor impose any restraint on free and full discussion.



There will be no fixed agenda, but as proposed in the invitation of May 104 and accepted in the Soviet reply of May 26,5 the Heads of Government will, themselves, decide upon the conduct of the proceedings.


Languages (English, French, Russian)

The words of each speaker will be interpreted into the other two languages, using the consecutive system. In addition, there will be simultaneous interpretation of the speaker into the other two languages. Consecutive interpretation may be waived in any instance by mutual agreement.


Agreed Conference Documents

The official documents of the Conference will consist of such decisions and communiqués as may be agreed by the four Heads of Government. There will be no agreed verbatim minutes. Each delegation will be free to take its own record.


Relations With the Press

The sessions will be closed to the press and the public. In respect to relations with the press, every effort should be made to handle this in a way to prevent press relations impairing the ability of the conference to achieve positive results. The four Foreign Ministers might discuss in preliminary fashion the best way of dealing with this question. Before the opening session is called to order, and perhaps again at the close of the final session, ten minutes will be allowed for photographs.



As at Berlin, the three Western powers will establish a common secretariat which will make suitable arrangements with the Soviet secretariat for records of decisions, interpretation, translation, documentation, security of the Conference premises, housekeeping, and cost-sharing.


Advance Arrangements

The four powers will designate qualified experts who will proceed to the Conference site at the earliest feasible date. These experts will be authorized by their respective governments to conclude agreements on the necessary arrangements.



Security arrangements at the Conference site will be organized by agreement between the two secretariats. Access will be strictly controlled. Passes will be issued and arrangements made to check them at appropriate control points.



Each of the four powers will pay one quarter of the common Conference costs.


Meeting Schedule

The Conference will meet on four successive days. On the first day, there will be a meeting both in the morning and in the afternoon. On the succeeding days, the Heads of Government will, unless they agree otherwise, hold one meeting each day, in the afternoon, The Foreign Ministers may, as required, meet in the morning to discuss matters remanded to them by the Heads of Government.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 486. Confidential. Attached to this letter was a cover sheet which noted that it had been drafted by Bohlen and delivered to Molotov just prior to his meeting with the three Western Foreign Ministers (see PMCG (SF) MC–2, infra). The Foreign Ministers were at San Francisco for ceremonies of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  3. According to the cover sheet referred to in footnote 1 above, this list was based on Section I of the report of the Washington Tripartite Working Group as amended by the Foreign Ministers during their talks in New York.
  4. See Document 114.
  5. See Document 124.