Date range
Open the calendar popup.
Open the calendar popup.

227 Attlee to Commonwealth Government

Circular cablegram D365 LONDON, 19 June 1943, 11 p.m.


My immediately preceding telegram. [1] Following is the text of the principles.

(a) The terms to be imposed on any European member of the Axis should be presented as one comprehensive document covering all the United Nations at war with that member, and embodying the principle of unconditional surrender.

(b) If there exists a central enemy government with which we are prepared to treat, a fully accredited representative of that government should be associated with its Commander-in-Chief for purposes of signature; or alternatively armistice should not come into force until confirmed by that government.

(c) If there is no such government the armistice should be signed by the enemy Commander-in-Chief only. In that case the provisions which the enemy Commander-in-Chief lacks authority to execute would have to be omitted from the armistice, which would thus be primarily a military document. The non-military provisions should, so far as necessary, be embodied in a declaration or proclamation issued by the United Nations.

(d) If there is neither an enemy government nor Commander-in-Chief with whom we can or are prepared to treat, military resistance would presumably be brought to an end by a series of local capitulations. It would, however, probably be desirable that the United Nations should issue a declaration stating their intentions in respect of the defeated power. This would be followed by a series of proclamations issued by the Allied Commander-in-Chief containing instructions to the local authorities and population.

(e) The administration of any armistice should be placed in the hands of an Inter Allied Armistice Commission, the President to be alternately a representative of the United States, U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom. The Commission would establish its Headquarters in the Axis country concerned, and would be responsible for controlling the execution of the armistice terms;

in the first place, the disarmament and demobilisation of enemy armed forces, the collection and disposal of surrendered war material and other mobile property and the handing over of fortifications and other fixed property. Representatives of the Armistice Commission would be despatched to liberated Allied territory to perform a similar task in respect of enemy troops there located and to regulate their evacuation or internment.

(f) In the absence of an armistice (see paragraph (d)), a Control Commission should administer the appropriate portions of the declaration.

(g) Any armistice or declaration would presumably provide for occupation, whether total or partial, of the countries concerned.

In the case of Germany the exact method of organising such occupation should be the subject of technical discussions between the military advisers of the United Kingdom, United States of America, and the U.S.S.R. in the first instance.

(h) The United Nations' Commander-in-Chief in any occupied country should have complete responsibility for maintenance of law and order.

(j) [2] There should be established a supervisory body entitled 'United Nations Commission for Europe', composed of high-ranking political representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., of France and any other European Allies, and if so desired of any Dominion prepared to contribute to the policing of Europe. The Commission should be situated at some convenient point on the continent. The Commission would act as the supreme United Nations authority in Europe to direct and co-ordinate the activities of the several armistice commissions, the Allied Commander-in-Chief and any United Nations' civilian authorities that may be established; and to deal with current problems, military, political, and economic, connected with the maintenance of order. A 'Steering Committee', consisting of representatives of the United Kingdom, U.S.A., and U.S.S.R., and of France, if she recovers her greatness, should be established as the directing body of the Commission. In the 'Steering Committee' the unanimity rule should apply.

(k) It is likely that a number of civilian authorities will be set up by agreement between the United Nations, some on a world and others on a European basis. Apart from the United Nations relief and rehabilitation administration and inter-governmental committees which may emerge from the Bermuda Conference [3], the establishment of a United Nations' shipping authority, and a United Nations' inland transport authority for Europe have been suggested. Analogous bodies may well be required to control telecommunications and propaganda, and to handle reparation and restitution and other economic problems. These authorities might, in respect of their European activities, establish their headquarters in the same city as the United Nations Commission for Europe, to whom they would be responsible and provide the necessary technical advice.

1 See cablegram D364 of 19 June on file AA:A989, 43-44/735/1009.

It advised that the U.K. War Cabinet had decided that discussion should commence on the problems associated with the cessation of hostilities and asked the Commonwealth Govt to give its views on the principles set out in cablegram D365.

2 No paragraph (i) appeared in the original.

3 This was an Anglo-American conference on war refugee problems held in Bermuda from 19 to 29 April.

[AA:A989, 43-44/735/1009]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History