Attlee to Chifley

Cablegram D1342 LONDON, 1 August 1945, 7.46 p.m.


As the Berlin Conference draws to its close I am sending you this personal message from myself to supplement the final report which will be telegraphed to you as soon as it is settled.

As you will have seen from the regular official telegrams reporting the progress of the Conference, its scope has been wider and the problems more intricate than at any preceding one. As at the Crimea the procedure followed was that the Foreign Secretaries met in the mornings to thrash out the questions raised by each Delegation, referring some for examination by Committees and submitting others to the Plenary Meetings in the afternoons. I had the advantage of attending the Plenary Meetings from the beginning and have thus been able to maintain the continuity of the British side in spite of the change of Government. The atmosphere has been one of goodwill and cordiality, combined with the utmost freedom and frankness of discussion. It has been evident that all three Delegations have felt deeply their responsibility for the future of the world, and, in our approach to all major questions, we have throughout had it in mind that the unity and continued co- operation of the three Governments is the first and greatest essential for the preservation of world peace. The most important items in the report will be:

(a) Poland-western frontier and political settlement.

(b) Germany-political and economic principles, including reparations.

(c) Italy and south eastern Europe.

(d) The Council of Foreign Ministers.

Some remarks on each of these points follow:

(a) Poland. The conclusion on the Polish boundary was only reached after long and searching discussions with the Polish representatives. In this matter, as in some others, we found decisions already being shaped for us by events. We made it our prime concern to see that the new Poland would be independent, democratic and in free communication with the world at large. We have obtained assurances from the Polish representatives of their firm intention to put into full fact the political settlement in Poland which the Conference had already agreed.

(b) Treatment of Germany. The political principles and some of the economic principles were settled without much difficulty. The rest of the latter turned mainly on the decision about German reparations which proved one of the most difficult questions to settle, provoking long and arduous discussion. Our object throughout was to avoid any plan which would stultify the principle of the economic unity of Germany or produce a situation in which Germany could pay reparations only at the indirect expense of the United States and ourselves. The plan finally agreed on is, in substance, the American plan.

(c) Italy and South Eastern Europe. We were under pressure from the American side to take some further step towards admitting Italy to the United Nations and from the Soviet side to recognise the Governments of the satellite states. The statement on ‘Admission to the United Nations’ [1] secures both these without prejudicing any points which we regard as essential. We found greater willingness than hitherto to admit the press to south eastern Europe, though whether we shall see free elections is more open to doubt. The statement has the advantage of administering a public rebuke to Franco. [2]

(d) The Council of Foreign Ministers. In the new Council of Foreign Ministers we hope we have a machine for continuing co- operation between the great powers. While the immediate task is to formulate peace treaties and prepare for the eventual peace settlement in Europe, we hope to use the Council as an instrument for the settlement of other outstanding questions, some of which, as you will have seen, have already been referred to it.

In general, I feel that we have made considerable progress towards a better understanding between the three Governments and that the decisions reached will provide a firm basis for a further advance.

You will, I know, give the documents we have produced your most earnest consideration, and your comments would be most welcome.

Moreover, if you wish, the Foreign Secretary will be ready to discuss each item with the High Commissioners in London.


1 See part X of the Report on the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, 2 August 1945, on file AA : A1066, H45/1016/5. The Report is published in U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, The Conference of Berlin (Potsdam) 1945, 1960, vol.

II, PP. 14991512.

2 President of the political junta in Spain.


[AA : A3195, 1945, FOLDER, TOP SECRET, INWARDS FROM SECRETARY OF STATE, D1157-3/7/45 to D2033-2/11/45, I.24796/95]