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325 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 142A LONDON, 19 October 1944, 5.30 p.m.


Addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin.

My telegram 130A of 28th September. [1]

I have at last succeeded in getting a reply from the United Kingdom authorities to my enquiries as to the present situation regarding the United Nations Commission for Europe proposed by Eden in July, 1943 [2], and my request for a statement as to opportunities for representation of smaller nations on Control machinery.

The text is as follows-

'Proposals in telegram D.365 of 19th June, 1943, were communicated to the United States and Soviet Governments on 1st July, 1943. At the Moscow Conference of October, 1943, they were welcomed by Soviet Delegation and received with sympathy, though with reservations, by the United States Delegation, and it was provided in the terms of reference of the European Advisory Commission that the Commission should take them into account as part of the material for its study of the matters with which it is concerned (telegram D.885 of 1st November, 1943 [3]).

2. Since the European Advisory Commission began its work, it has been much occupied with the surrender terms for Germany and, consequently, with the [principles] [4] of occupation and the machinery of control. It has not approached the wide question of establishing a United Nations Commission for Europe. The United Kingdom representative [5] has, however, more than once referred to this proposal in the Commission.

3. Meanwhile the discussions which have taken place with the United States and Soviet Governments, both in the European Advisory Commission and through the diplomatic channel, on various aspects of the post surrender period, have encountered strong opposition on the part of the Soviet Government, and some reluctance on the part of the United States Government, to bringing other States into consultation in connection with the operation of the Control machinery.

(a) There has been separate correspondence about the objections of the United States and Soviet representatives on the European Advisory Commission to provisions in the surrender terms for Germany for associating such States with the imposition of the terms (telegram D.1247 of 1st September [6]).

(b) In discussions which are still proceeding on the Control machinery for Germany, the Soviet representative [7] has so far resisted United Kingdom proposals providing for consultation between the Commanders-in-Chief of the three Powers and representatives of other United Nations.

(c) In earlier discussions on the protocol on the occupation of Germany the Soviet representative for long opposed the provision that each Government might, at its discretion, include in its zone auxiliary contingents from the Forces of other United Nations. It emerged that one reason for this attitude was the fear that participation in the occupation might lead to demands from other States for a voice in the Control machinery. The United Kingdom representative, nevertheless, succeeded in securing provision for auxiliary contingents from other States. (Despatch D.130 of [2]0th September.) As stated by Lord Cranborne in the House of Lords on 26th September [8], His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would have sympathy with the view that those members of the United Nations who have shared in the operations against Germany should contribute to the Forces of Occupation of Germany.

4. Three Armistices have been signed viz., with Italy, Roumania and Finland.

(a) Italy The Control Commission (now Allied Commission) is staffed on a combined United States - United Kingdom basis, corresponding to the Command arrangements in the Mediterranean theatre, and the Soviet Union is represented on it. In addition, there is an Advisory Council, on which the United Kingdom, United States, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, France, Greece and Yugoslavia are represented.

(b) Roumania The Armistice terms (Article 18) provided that the Allied Control Commission should be under the general direction and orders of the Allied (Soviet) High Command, acting on behalf of the Allied Powers. The executive staff will be wholly Russian. British and United States Missions will be attached for liaison purposes.

(c) Finland The Armistice terms are similar. They provide explicitly that the Allied Control Commission is an organ of the Allied (Soviet) High Command, to which it is directly subordinated.

5. In addition to the British Liaison Mission (see paragraph 4(b) above), a British political representative [9] has been appointed in Roumania. Similar arrangements are in train for Finland.

6. Discussions are still in progress in the European Advisory Commission, on the Armistice terms for Bulgaria. The Soviet representative is pressing that the Control Commission should be a Russian body under the Soviet High Command, as in Roumania and Finland. The United Kingdom and United States Representatives are ready to accept this arrangement for the duration of hostilities against Germany but have proposed that, once hostilities against Germany are over, the Commission should become tripartite, and act under the instructions of the three Governments. It is hoped in any case to provide that the Control Commission will act on behalf of all the United Nations at war with Bulgaria, but, having regard to Soviet opposition even to United Kingdom and United States participation, the prospects would be remote of securing their consent to the participation of smaller countries, even those with a substantial direct interest such as Greece and Yugoslavia.

7. While the manner of associating other countries with the direction of the Control machinery for Germany has not yet been settled, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have expressed their view that nationals of other countries should be associated with the work of control (paragraph 13 of Memorandum in Despatch D.32 of March 25 [10]) and detailed arrangements for the participation of Australian officers are already being discussed with the Australian Service authorities.

(In this connection you have also had my telegram 131A [11] of 29th September and 133A [12] of 3rd October re Australian civilians in personnel of Central Commission.) 8. Another direction, in which arrangements are in train for countries other than the United Kingdom, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to play a substantial part, is that of the various United Nations organs of co-operation recently established or proposed.

(a) The proposals for Mine Clearance Boards (Despatch D.57 of 9th May [13]) provided for the proposed zone Boards to consist of members representing the littoral countries within the zone and other interested naval powers.

(b) The draft Constitution [14] of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, recommended by the Interim Commission on 28-29th June, provides for a Conference of all the members of the Organisation, which would appoint an Executive Committee, consisting of not less than nine or more than 15 members, qualified by administrative experience or other special qualifications to contribute to the attainment of the purpose of the Organisation.

(c) The proposals for a European Internal Transport Organisation (Despatch D.88 of 11th July [15]) provided for a Council comprising representatives of all the Members, with an Executive Board consisting of representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and two other members appointed by the Council.

(d) The Agreement of 5th August [16] (copy sent in External Affairs Bag 89) on the principles for the control of merchant shipping, which was signed for the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, besides the United Kingdom and the United States, envisages a united Maritime Council comprising representatives of all signatory and acceding Governments and an Executive Board consisting of the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands and Norway.

(e) As regards the proposals for a future World Organisation, the Commonwealth Government are already fully documented.

9. Whilst a predominant part is accorded to the three Powers, in accordance with their special responsibilities in the conduct of the war and in connected arrangements in the post surrender period, the interests of other countries have throughout been prominently in the mind of the United Kingdom Government, and have been pressed unremittingly on the United States and Soviet representatives on the European Advisory Commission. In spite of Soviet opposition their efforts have met with a considerable measure of success. it remains the intention of the United Kingdom Government to continue to press the claims of other countries to a proper share in the ordering of international affairs.'


1 See Document 286, note 2.

2 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Documents 227 and 242.

3 On file AA:A989, 43-44/970/53.

4 Words in square brackets have been corrected from Bruce's copy on file AA:M100, October 1944.

5 Sir William Strang.

6 Document 267.

7 F. T. Gusev.

8 House of Lords, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol. 133, col. 158.

9 J. H. Le Rougetel.

10 On file AA:A989, 44/735/1010/7.

11 See Document 286, note 2.

12 On file AA:A1066, H45/1013/2/1A, i.

13 Not located.

14 A copy is attached to Full Cabinet agendum 728, in AA:A2700, vol. 12, i.

15 Not located. 16 Not located.

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

Category: International relations

Topic: History