Addison to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D2267 LONDON, 20 December 1945, 9.38 p.m.


My telegram D.2258 of 19th December. [1]

1. The preparation of peace treaties was further discussed at Moscow on 18th December. M. Molotov maintained the position he had taken up in London. The upshot was that the United States Secretary of State agreed to concede the Soviet formula for Stage 1 (preliminary drafting of peace treaties) and for Stage 3 (final drafting) provided that the Soviet Government would agree to accept the United States/United Kingdom view on Stage 2 (expression of views by other United Nations) in the shape of a conference composed of all five members of the Council of Foreign Ministers and all states who had contributed substantial military forces and had actively waged war against any European member of Axis at which all could express their views. Mr. Byrnes circulated the following list of these states:

United States of America Greece Union of Soviet Socialist Republics India United Kingdom Netherlands France New Zealand China Norway Australia Poland Belgium South Africa Brazil Yugoslavia Canada White Russia Czechoslovakia Ukraine Ethiopia M. Molotov, while accepting the concession on Stages 1 and 3 as a return to Potsdam decisions, would not agree to more on Stage 2 than to consider what states should be allowed to express views in each case. He promised to circulate a Soviet list.

2. As regards states who should sign the peace treaties, M.

Molotov said that he saw no need for smaller powers to sign the treaties at all; the Dominions would not need to sign separately as the United Kingdom could sign for them. Mr. Byrnes and Mr.

Bevin maintained that every state which had declared war had a right to sign the relevant treaties if it wished and Mr. Bevin made it clear that Dominions and India who had signed the Versailles Treaty and had made very substantial contributions to common victory would certainly expect to be able to sign separately.

3. In reporting the above, the Foreign Secretary summarises the United States position as follows:

Stage 1 The deputies working on 4:3:2 formula [2] in strict accordance with paragraph 3 (2) of the terms of reference of the Council of Foreign Ministers. [3]

Stage 2 Council of all five foreign ministers to call a peace conference composed of states listed as in first paragraph of this telegram.

Stage 3 Conference to consider and express views upon drafts prepared by deputies.

Stage 4 Final drafts for treaties to be prepared and approved by ‘signatories’ to the armistices as defined in the Council’s terms of reference on 4:3:2 formula.

Stage 5 Signature of final treaty texts by all those United Nations who were in a formal state of war with a particular enemy country.

4. At a subsequent informal meeting M. Molotov observed to Mr.

Bevin and Mr. Byrnes that the list as in paragraph 1 above ought to be shortened, and that in particular India should be removed.

India was not an independent country, had no foreign office and was not in relations with the Soviet Union.

5. Mr. Bevin replied that Indian troops had fought in great numbers in many theatres of war, India was a member of the United Nations and had been a foundation member of the League of Nations.

6. M. Molotov rejoined that if India were included he would have to claim inclusion of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who had also fought in the war and had also been members of the League of Nations.

7. Mr. Byrnes said that he understood that India was the only country to which M. Molotov took exception and pressed for acceptance of the United. States list with the single deletion of India. Mr. Bevin insisted that India should be retained. Mr.

Byrnes subsequently informed Mr. Bevin privately that the United States Government could not accept the addition of the three Baltic republics to their list.

8. Mr. Bevin comments to us that the admission of the three Baltic republics to the peace conference might entail their recognition and perhaps their admission in due course to the United Nations Organisation. But he feels that if recognition of their new status within the Soviet Union is inevitable sooner or later, it might be preferable to recognise them as separate states however fictitious, rather than to recognise merely their absorption into the Soviet Union.

9. Cabinet to-day considered the situation. We think it essential that having regard to India’s membership of the League of Nations and the United Nations and the outstanding part she has played in all theatres of war, she should not be excluded from the proposed conference. The Foreign Secretary is accordingly being informed that if it should be necessary in order to secure the inclusion of India, we should be disposed not to object to the inclusion of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, that if he desires to make this concession in order to secure the inclusion of India we should wish first to consult Dominion Governments and that we are communicating with you accordingly.

10. Should be glad of earliest possible expression of your views on this issue as to the Baltic republics. Please reply by most immediate telegram.

11. On the question of procedure set out in paragraph 3 above we feel that the United States Stage 4 cannot be accepted.


1 On file AA : A1066, E45/1/30.

2 A reference to proposals made at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London, for a protocol regarding the Italian treaty to be signed by four (United Kingdom, United States, Soviet Union and France), a protocol regarding the Roumanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian treaties to be signed by three (United Kingdom, United States, Soviet Union), and a protocol regarding Finland to be signed by two (United Kingdom and Soviet Union).

3 Paragraph 3(ii) of the agreement to establish the Council of Foreign Ministers read: ‘For the discharge of each of these tasks the Council will be composed of the members representing those States which were signatory to the terms of surrender imposed upon the enemy State concerned. For the purposes of the peace settlement for Italy, France shall be regarded as a signatory to the terms of surrender for Italy. Other members will be invited to participate when matters directly concerning them are under discussion’. See U.S. Department of State, The Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. II, 1960, pp. 1499-1512.


[AA : A1066, E45/1/30]