You, no doubt, know already that the Polish National Council in Lublin has announced its decision to transform the National Committee into a Provisional National Government of the Polish Republic.96 You are well aware of our attitude to the National Committee, which, in our view, has already won great prestige in Poland and is the lawful exponent of the will of the Polish people. The decision to make it the Provisional Government seems to us quite timely, especially now that Mikolajczyk has withdrawn from the émigré Government and that the latter has thereby lost all semblance of a government. I think that Poland cannot be left without a government. Accordingly, the Soviet Government has agreed to recognise the Provisional Polish Government.
I greatly regret that I have not succeeded in fully convincing you of the correctness of the Soviet Government’s stand on the Polish question. Still, I hope the events will show that our recognition of the Polish Government in Lublin is in keeping with the interests of the common cause of the Allies and that it will help accelerate the defeat of Germany.
I enclose for your information the two messages I sent to the President on the Polish question.
2. I know that the President has your consent to a meeting of the three of us at the end of the month or early in February. I shall be glad to see you both on our soil and hope that our joint work will be a success.
I take this opportunity to send you New Year greetings and to wish you the best of health and success.
January 3, 1945
Your message on Polish affairs reached me on December 20.
As to Mr Stettinius’ statement of December 18,97 I should prefer to comment on it when we meet. At any rate events in Poland have already gone far beyond that which is reflected in the said statement.
A number of things that have taken place since Mr Mikolajczyk’s last visit to Moscow, in particular the wireless correspondence with the Mikolajczyk Government, which we found on terrorists arrested in Poland – underground agents of the émigré Government – demonstrate beyond all doubt that Mr Mikolajczyk’s talks with the Polish National Committee served to cover up those elements who, behind Mr Mikolajczyk’s back, had been engaged in terror against Soviet officers and soldiers in Poland. We cannot tolerate a situation in which terrorists, instigated by Polish émigrés, assassinate Red Army soldiers and officers in Poland, wage a criminal struggle against the Soviet forces engaged in liberating Poland and directly aid our enemies, with whom they are virtually in league. The substitution of Arciszewski for Mikolajczyk and the ministerial changes in the émigré Government in general have aggravated the situation and have resulted in a deep rift between Poland and the émigré Government.
Meanwhile the National Committee has made notable progress in consolidating the Polish state and the machinery of state power on Polish soil, in expanding and strengthening the Polish Army, in implementing a number of important government measures, primarily the land reform in favour of the peasants. These developments have resulted in the consolidation of the democratic forces in Poland and in an appreciable increase in the prestige of the National Committee among the Polish people and large sections of the Poles abroad.
As I see it, we must now be interested in supporting the National Committee and all who are willing to cooperate and who are capable of cooperating with it, which is of special moment for the Allies and for fulfilment of our common task – accelerating the defeat of Hitler Germany. For the Soviet Union, which is bearing the whole burden of the struggle for freeing Poland from the German invaders, the problem of relations with Poland is, in present circumstances, a matter of everyday, close and friendly relations with an authority brought into being by the Polish people on their own soil, an authority which has already grown strong and has armed forces of its own, which, together with the Red Army, are fighting the Germans.
I must say frankly that in the event of the Polish Committee of National Liberation becoming a Provisional Polish Government, the Soviet Government will, in view of the foregoing, have no serious reasons for postponing its recognition. It should be borne in mind that the Soviet Union, more than any other Power, has a stake in strengthening a pro-Ally and democratic Poland, not only because she is bearing the brunt of the struggle for Poland’s liberation, but also because Poland borders on the Soviet Union and because the Polish problem is inseparable from that of the security of the Soviet Union. To this I should add that the Red Army’s success in fighting the Germans in Poland largely depends on a tranquil and reliable rear in Poland, and the Polish National Committee is fully cognisant of this circumstance, whereas the émigré Government and its underground agents by their acts of terror threaten civil war in the rear of the Red Army and counter its successes.
On the other hand, in the conditions now prevailing in Poland there are no grounds for continuing to support the émigré Government, which has completely forfeited the trust of the population inside the country and which, moreover, threatens civil war in the rear of the Red Army, thereby injuring our common interest in the success of the struggle we are waging against the Germans. I think it would be only natural, fair and beneficial to our common cause if the Governments of the Allied Powers agreed as a first step to exchange representatives at this juncture with the National Committee with a view to its later recognition as the lawful government of Poland, after it has proclaimed itself the Provisional Government of Poland. Unless this is done I fear that the Polish people’s trust in the Allied Powers may diminish. I think we should not countenance a situation in which Poles can say that we are sacrificing the interests of Poland to those of a handful of émigrés in London.
December 27, 1944
Your message of December 31 received.
I am very sorry that I have not succeeded in convincing you of the correctness of the Soviet Government’s stand on the Polish question. Nevertheless, I hope events will convince you that the National Committee has always given important help to the Allies, and continues to do so, particularly, to the Red Army, in the struggle against Hitler Germany, while the émigré Government in London is disorganising that struggle, thereby helping the Germans.
Of course I quite understand your proposal for postponing recognition of the Provisional Government of Poland by the Soviet Union for a month. But one circumstance makes me powerless to comply with your wish. The point is that on December 27 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., replying to a corresponding question by the Poles, declared that it would recognise the Provisional Government of Poland the moment it was set up. This circumstance makes me powerless to comply with your wish.
Allow me to congratulate you on the New Year and to wish you good health and success.
January 1, 1945
Your personal and secret message of January 3rd, 1945.
I thank you for sending me your two messages to the President on the Polish question. Naturally I and my War Cabinet colleagues are distressed at the course events are taking. I am quite clear that much the best thing is for us three to meet together and talk all these matters over, not only as isolated problems but in relation to the whole world situation both of war and transit to peace. Meanwhile, our attitude, as you know it, remains unchanged.
2. I look forward very much to this momentous meeting and I am glad that the President of the United States has been willing to make this long journey. We have agreed, subject to your concurrence, that the code name shall be called “Argonaut”98 and I hope that you will use that in any messages that may be interchanged by the staffs who will be consulting about arrangements.
3. I have just come back from General Eisenhower’s and Field Marshal Montgomery’s separate headquarters. The battle in Belgium is very heavy but it is thought that we have the mastery. The dispersionary attack which the Germans are making into Alsace also causes difficulties with the French and tends to pin down American forces. I still remain of the opinion that weight and weapons, including air, of the Allied forces will make von Rundstedt regret his daring and well organised attempt to split our front and, if possible, lay hands on the now absolutely vital Antwerp port.
4. I reciprocate your cordial wishes for the New Year. May it shorten the agony of the great nations we serve and bring about a lasting peace on our joint guarantee.
January 5th, 1945
The battle in the West is very heavy and, at any time, large decisions may be called for from the Supreme Command. You know yourself from your own experience how very anxious the position is when a very broad front has to be defended after temporary loss of the initiative. It is General Eisenhower’s great desire and need to know in outline what you plan to do, as this obviously affects all his and our major decisions. Our Envoy, Air Chief Marshal Tedder, was last night reported weather-bound in Cairo. His journey has been much delayed through no fault of yours. In case he has not reached you yet, I shall be grateful if you can tell me whether we can count on a major Russian offensive on the Vistula front, or elsewhere, during January, with any other points you may care to mention. I shall not pass this most secret information to anyone except Field Marshal Brooke and General Eisenhower, and only under conditions of the utmost secrecy. I regard the matter as urgent.
January 6th, 1945
Your message of January 6 reached me in the evening of January 7.
I am sorry to say that Air Marshal Tedder has not yet arrived in Moscow.
It is extremely important to take advantage of our superiority over the Germans in guns and aircraft. What we need for the purpose is clear flying weather and the absence of low mists that prevent aimed artillery fire. We are mounting an offensive, but at the moment the weather is unfavourable. Still, in view of our Allies’ position on the Western Front, GHQ of the Supreme Command have decided to complete preparations at a rapid rate and, regardless of weather, to launch large-scale offensive operations along the entire Central Front not later than the second half of January. Rest assured we shall do all in our power to support the valiant forces of our Allies.
January 7, 1945
I am most grateful to you for your thrilling message. I have sent it over to General Eisenhower for his eye only. May all good fortune rest upon your noble venture.
2. The battle in the West goes not too badly. There is a good chance of the Huns being crushed out of their salient with very heavy losses. It is preponderantly an American battle and their troops have fought splendidly with heavy losses. We are both shoving everything in we can. The news you give me will be a great encouragement to General Eisenhower because it gives him the assurance that German reinforcements will have to be split between both our flaming fronts. The battle in the West will be continuous according to the Generals responsible for fighting it.
January 9th, 1945
I agree to the use of “Argonaut”98 as a code name for all messages on the meeting, as suggested in your message of January 5.
In accordance with the proposal sent by the President, I want your agreement to Yalta as the place and February 2 as the date for the meeting.
January 10, 1945
Mr Eden and I tried our best on several occasions with King Peter. He is a spirited young man and feels that the Tito-Šubašić agreement95 is virtual abdication. He has now put out his declaration99 without consultation with us and indeed against our advice. He thinks that if he keeps himself free of all that is going to happen in Yugoslavia in the next few years a day will dawn for him. He has a great admiration for you, more I think than for either of us.
2. I now suggest that we make the Tito-Šubašić agreement valid and simply by-pass King Peter II. His statement was delivered without advice from any Prime Minister, and as he presents himself as a constitutional sovereign it cannot be regarded as an act of state. This means that we favour the idea of recognising the government of Marshal Tito set up under the Regency as the Royal Yugoslav Government and sending an Ambassador to Belgrade and receiving one here. I hope that you will think this is a good way out of the difficulty until there is a free and fair expression of the people’s will.
3. However, before we can express ourselves finally on this subject we must put the matter to the United States, who would be much offended if they were not kept informed. We are not of course in any way bound to accept their solution. I am telegraphing to you before saying anything to Marshal Tito except asking him to await a communication which I will make to him after consultation with the Soviet Government.
11th January, 1945
Your telegram dated January 10th.
Okay and all good wishes.
12th January, 1945
Your message on the Yugoslav question received. Thank you for the information.
I accept your proposal for putting the Tito-Šubašić agreement95 into effect. By doing so we shall stave off eventual complications. I hope you have already informed the President.
January 13, 1945
Since sending you my telegram of January 11th about Yugoslavia a new development has occurred in that Mr Šubašić, basing himself on King Peter’s acceptance in principle of the agreement, 95 is trying to see whether there is any way of getting over the King’s objections. We must clearly give Mr Šubašić time to clear this up if he can before we ourselves take any action.
2. King Peter took Mr Eden’s advice on at least one important point, showing that he does not object to the Regency in itself but only to the form in which it is proposed. This suggests that the differences between Mr Šubašić and the King may not be irreconcilable.
3. I will let you know the result of this development as soon as possible.
January 14th, 1945
Today I had a talk with Marshal Tedder and the generals accompanying him. I think that the information exchanged was complete enough, as Marshal Tedder will probably report to you. Let me add that Marshal Tedder made a very good impression on me.
Despite unfavourable weather the Soviet offensive is developing according to plan. The troops are in action all along the Central Front, from the Carpathians to the Baltic Sea. Although offering desperate resistance, the Germans have been forced to retreat. I hope this circumstance will facilitate and expedite General Eisenhower’s planned offensive on the Western Front.
January 15, 1945
Your message of January 14 on the Yugoslav question has reached me.
As far as I am concerned I see no grounds for putting off execution of our decision, which I communicated to you last time. In my view we should not waste time and thus expose the whole thing to the trials caused by delay.
January 16, 1945
Your message of January 13th, in answer to mine of January 11th, received. Many thanks. I sent you another on the 14th to which I now add the following.
At our suggestion King Peter is discussing with Dr. Šubašić the possibility of finding a solution whereby he can accept the Tito-Šubašić agreement.95
I think we should give them a little more time to work it out
January 16th, 1945
Received on January 17, 1945
My dear Marshal Stalin,
The Spanish Ambassador in London recently sent to me a letter which he had received from General Franco about relations between the United Kingdom and Spain. I have now replied to General Franco in terms which have been carefully considered by the War Cabinet and have received their full approval. My colleagues and I think you will be interested to see the correspondence, particularly in view of the references to this country’s friendship with the U.S.S.R. which it contains, and I am therefore enclosing both letters for your information.100
Winston S. Churchill
I am most grateful to you for your message, and am extremely glad that Air Marshal Tedder made so favourable an impression upon you.
On behalf of His Majesty’s Government, and from the bottom of my heart, I offer you our thanks and congratulations on the immense assault you have launched upon the Eastern Front.
You will now, no doubt, know the plans of General Eisenhower and to what extent they have been delayed by Rundstedt’s spoiling attack. I am sure that fighting along our whole front will be continuous. The British 21st Army Group under Field Marshal Montgomery have today begun an attack in the area south of Roermond.
January 17th, 1945
Thank you for your message of January 16th about the Yugoslav situation.
I should be glad, nevertheless, if you would agree that we should hold our hand for a few days. Dr. Šubašić and his Cabinet are doing their best to rally King Peter to his constitutional duty and thus save the agreement.95 substantially as it stands. If they succeed, it will make matters easier for us and, I feel sure, for the Americans also. I agree with you about the urgency of settling this matter and am acting in that sense.
January 17th, 1945
I suggest the press should be entirely excluded from “Argonaut”98 but that each of us should be free to bring not more than three or four uniformed service photographers to take “still” and cinematograph pictures to be released when we think fit. Please let me know if you agree.
There will, of course, be the usual agreed communiqué or communiqués.
I am sending a similar telegram to President Roosevelt.
January 21st, 1945
Your telegram of January 21 to hand.
I agree to your suggestion that the Press be excluded from “Argonaut.”98 I have no objection to each party admitting a number of photographers.
I have replied in similar strain to the President’s query.
January 23, 1945
King Peter, without informing us of his intention, dismissed Šubašić and his government last night.
We are informing Dr. Šubašić that the King’s action does not affect His Majesty’s Government’s intention to see that the Tito-Šubašić agreement95 is carried out and that we are therefore ready to transport him and his government to Belgrade.
I suggest that the three Great Powers should now decide to put the Tito-Šubašić agreement into force and that Tito should be informed that, if he will concert with Šubašić and his government, to carry out the agreement, the three Great Powers will recognise the united government formed in accordance therewith and will accredit Ambassadors to the Council of Regency. I also suggest that pending the formation of this united government no government formed either by King Peter or Marshal Tito alone should be recognised.
I am also putting this proposal to the United States Government and trust that you for your part will agree to it. I will let you know directly I learn the American reaction so that we can concert simultaneous action.
January 23rd, 1945
I have received your message of January 23 on the Yugoslav question.
I agree that the Tito-Šubašić agreement95 as agreed between them, should be put into effect without further delay and that the three Great Powers should recognise the United Government. I think we should not make any reservations whatever in carrying out this plan.
January 25, 1945
Our idea is that if Dr. Šubašić has not reached a satisfactory agreement with the King, he and his whole government, whether dismissed or not, should return to Belgrade as early as possible next week, and in combination with Marshal Tito, appoint a Regency under which the Tito-Šubašić agreement95 for the Royal Yugoslav Government will be carried out whatever the King may say. I hope that we shall be able to talk over any further developments or details in the very near future. Meanwhile we are trying to get the agreement of the United States Government to this plan. You may care to say a word to them yourself.
We are spellbound by your glorious victories over the common foe and by the mighty forces you have brought into line against them. Accept our warmest thanks and congratulations on historic deeds.
January 27th, 1945
As the President will not arrive at Malta until February 2nd, we cannot reach Yalta earlier than February 3rd. I will however telegraph again as soon as it is possible to give a more definite time. We are of course dependent on the weather.
We shall travel in separate aircraft but in company.
Looking forward greatly to meeting you.
1st February, 1945
Your message received.
I and my colleagues have arrived at the meeting place.
February 1, 1945
Expected time of arrival at Saki 12.00 hours Moscow Time,
February 3rd. Will have lunched in aircraft before landing. Will proceed by car to Yalta.
February 3rd, 1945
My dear Marshal Stalin,
I send you herewith.
(i) the latest news received from London regarding the fighting on the Western Front,101 and
(ii) a memorandum setting out the latest position in Greece.102 I trust that these notes may be of interest to you.
Vorontsov Palace, February 9, 1945
Received on February 18, 1945
On behalf of His Majesty’s Government I send you grateful thanks for all the hospitality and friendship extended to the British delegation to the Crimea Conference. We were deeply impressed by the feats of organisation and of improvisation which enabled the Conference to meet in such agreeable and imposing surroundings, and we all take back with us most happy recollections. To this I must add a personal expression of my own thanks and gratitude. No previous meeting has shown so clearly the results which can be achieved when the three heads of Government meet together with the firm intention to face difficulties and solve them. You yourself said that cooperation would be less easy when the unifying bond of the fight against a common enemy had been removed. I am resolved, as I am sure the President and you are resolved, that the friendship and cooperation so firmly established shall not fade when victory has been won. I pray that you may long be spared to preside over the destinies of your country which has shown its full greatness under your leadership, and I send you my best wishes and heartfelt thanks.
February 17th, 1945
I have received your message of February 18. I am very glad that you were satisfied with the facilities provided in the Crimea.
February 20, 1945
I read with sorrow of the loss you have sustained by the death from wounds received in action of General Chernyakhovsky. The quality and services of this brilliant and brave officer were greatly admired by His Majesty’s Government and the British Army.
20th February, 1945
Please accept my gratitude for the condolences on the death of General I. D. Chernyakhovsky, one of the finest Red Army soldiers.
February 21, 1945
Received on February 23, 1945
The Red Army celebrates its twenty-seventh anniversary amid triumphs which have won the unstinted applause of their allies and have sealed the doom of German militarism. Future generations will acknowledge their debt to the Red Army as unreservedly as do we who have lived to witness these proud achievements. I ask you, the great leader of a great army, to salute them from me today, on the threshold of final victory.
Sent on February 27, 1945
Please accept my thanks for your high praise of the Red Army’s contribution to the cause of defeating the German armed forces.
I will gladly convey your greetings to the Red Army on its twenty-seventh anniversary.
I have just received from our ship which was at Sebastopol the present of Russian products which you have sent to me in her.
Please accept my warmest thanks for this most generous gift which I shall enjoy almost as much as I value the kind thought which prompted you to send it.
9th March, 1945
Mr Eden has shown me a message which he has sent to Mr Molotov about our prisoners of war103 which your armies are rescuing and the agreement104 which was reached at Yalta about them. We are very much distressed about the position set forth in the above message. There is no subject on which the British nation is more sensitive than on the fate of our prisoners in German hands and their speedy deliverance from captivity and restoration to their own country. I should be very much obliged if you would give the matter your personal attention as I am sure you would wish to do your best for our men as I can promise you we are doing for your men as they come into our control along the Rhine.
2. The attack which the British and Canadians began on February 8th cost us about 16,000 men. It had been hoped that the American Ninth and First Armies would attack on our right or southern flank about February 10th but owing to flooding from dams opened by the enemy it was physically impossible for the two American armies to follow on till the floods abated. This left our armies in the North to keep on attacking across very difficult water-logged country for fifteen days before any serious advance could be made by the United States troops. We agreed thoroughly that their delay was right but it did in fact draw on to us a large proportion of the remaining elite formations of the German armies west of the Rhine. When in the opening days of March the American Ninth, First and Third Armies engaged, the vulnerability of the enemy on the rest of the front had in Eisenhower’s words been greatly increased. However, the results obtained by these three American Armies far exceed our expectations, and by the most brilliant and daring operations they have now completely broken up the enemy’s defence west of the Rhine which we have also achieved at length in the North. The field is now set for the next phase and I am going to Montgomery’s Headquarters to witness it. He will have under his orders the Canadian Army, the British Second Army and the American Ninth and I hope to have good news to send you before very long. I am delighted to see your advances upon an ever-diminishing Nazi East Prussian pocket. It looks to me as if Hitler will try to prolong the war after all North Germany has been conquered and the Russian armies have joined hands with us by a death struggle in Southern Germany and Austria with possibly a contact across the Alps with his army of Northern Italy. The pitiless persistence of the fighting in Budapest and now by Lake Balaton together with other dispositions, favours this idea. Meanwhile I look forward to decisive operations in the West and North and no doubt you also will be moving in the East before long. All the above in paragraph 2 is for your eye alone.
3.W e seem to have a lot of difficulties now since we parted at Yalta but I am quite sure that all these would soon be swept away if only we could meet together.
21st March, 1945
I have received your messages.
As regards British prisoners of war, your fears for their welfare are groundless. They have better conditions than the Soviet prisoners of war in British camps where in a number of cases they were ill-treated and even beaten. Moreover, they are no longer in our camps, being on their way to Odessa, whence they will leave for home.
Thank you for the information on the position on the Western Front. I have faith in the strategic talent of Field Marshal Montgomery.
March 23, 1945
I am at Field Marshal Montgomery’s Headquarters. He has just given orders to launch the main battle to force the Rhine on a broad front centring about Wesel by the landing of an airborne corps and by about two thousand guns.
It is hoped to pass the river tonight and tomorrow and establish bridgeheads. A very large reserve of armour is available to exploit the assault once the river is crossed.
I shall send you another message tomorrow. Field Marshal Montgomery asks me to present his best respects to you.
24th March, 1945
Received on April 1, 1945
You will by now, I hope, have received the message from the President of the United States which he was good enough to show to me before he sent it. It is now my duty on behalf of His Majesty’s Government to assure you that the War Cabinet desire me to express to you our wholehearted endorsement of this message of the President and that we associate ourselves with it in its entirety.
2. There are two or three points which I desire specially to emphasise. First that we do not consider that we have retained in the Moscow discussions105 the spirit of Yalta, nor indeed, at points, the letter. It was never imagined by us that the Commission which we all three appointed with so much goodwill would not have been able to carry out their part swiftly and easily in a mood of give and take. We certainly thought that a Polish Government, “new” and “reorganised,” would by now have been in existence, recognised by all the United Nations. This would have afforded a proof to the world of our capacity and resolve to work together for its future. It is still not too late to achieve this.
3. However , even before the forming of such a new and reorganised Polish Government it was agreed by the Commission that representative Poles should be summoned from inside Poland and from Poles abroad, not necessarily to take part in the government but merely for free and frank consultation. Even this preliminary step cannot be taken because of the claim put forward to veto any invitation, even to consultation, of which the Soviet or Lublin Governments do not approve. We can never agree to such a veto by any one of us three. This veto reaches its supreme example in the case of M. Mikolajczyk, who is regarded throughout the British and American world as the outstanding Polish figure outside Poland.
4.W e also have learned with surprise and regret that Mr Molotov’s spontaneous offer to allow observers or missions to enter Poland has now been withdrawn. We are, therefore, deprived of all means of checking for ourselves information, often of a most painful character, which is sent us almost daily by the Polish Government in London. We do not understand why a veil of secrecy should thus be drawn over the Polish scene. We offer fullest facilities to the Soviet Government to send missions or individuals to visit any of the territories in our military occupation. In several cases this offer has been accepted by the Soviets and visits have taken place to mutual satisfaction. We ask that the principle of reciprocity shall be observed in these matters, which would help to make so good a foundation for our enduring partnership.
5. The President has also shown me messages which have passed between him and you about Mr Molotov’s inability to be present at the Conference at San Francisco.106 We had hoped the presence there of the three Foreign Ministers might have led to a clearance of many of the difficulties which have descended upon us in a storm since our happy and hopeful union at Yalta. We do not however question in any way the weight of public reasons which make it necessary for him to remain in Russia.
6. Like the President I too was struck with the concluding sentence of your message to him. What he says about the American people also applies to the British people and to nations of the British Commonwealth with the addition that His Majesty’s present advisers only hold office at the will of a universal suffrage parliament. If our efforts to reach an agreement about Poland are to be doomed to failure I shall be bound to confess the fact to Parliament when they return from the Easter recess. No one has pleaded the cause of Russia with more fervour and conviction than I have tried to do. I was the first to raise my voice on June 22nd, 1941. It is more than a year since I proclaimed to a startled world the justice of the Curzon Line.72 for Russia’s western frontier and this frontier has now been accepted by both the British Parliament and the President of the United States. It is as a sincere friend of Russia that I make my personal appeal to you and to your colleagues to come to a good understanding about Poland with the Western democracies and not to smite down the hands of comradeship in the future guidance of the world which we now extend.
March 31st, 1945
The President has sent me his correspondence with you about the contacts made in Switzerland between a British and an American officer on Field Marshal Alexander’s staff and a German general named Wolff, relating, to the possible surrender of Kesselring’s army in Northern Italy. I therefore deem it right to send you a precise summary of the action of His Majesty’s Government. As soon as we learned of these contacts we immediately informed the Soviet Government on March 12th, and we and the United States Government have faithfully reported to you everything that has taken place. The sole and only business mentioned or referred to in any way in Switzerland was to test the credentials of the German emissary and try to arrange a meeting between a nominee of Kesselring’s and Field Marshal Alexander at his headquarters or some convenient point in Northern Italy. There were no negotiations in Switzerland even for a military surrender of Kesselring’s army. Still less did any political-military plot, as alleged in your telegram to the President, enter our thoughts, which are not as suggested of so dishonourable a character.
2. Your representatives were immediately invited to the meeting we attempted to arrange in Italy. Had it taken place, and had your representatives come, they would have heard every word that passed.
3.W e consider that Field Marshal Alexander has the full right to accept the surrender of the German army of 25 divisions on his front in Italy and to discuss such matters with German envoys who have power to settle the terms of the capitulation. Nevertheless we took special care to invite your representatives to this purely military discussion at his headquarters, should it take place. In fact, however, nothing resulted from any of the contacts in Switzerland. Our officers returned from Switzerland without having succeeded in fixing a rendezvous in Italy for Kesselring’s emissaries to come to. Of all this the Soviet Government have been fully informed step by step by Field Marshal Alexander or by Sir A. Clark Kerr, as well as through United States channels. I repeat that no negotiations of any kind were entered into or even touched upon, formally or informally, in Switzerland.
4. There is however a possibility that the whole of this request to parley by the German General Wolff was one of those attempts which are made by the enemy with the object of sowing distrust between the Allies. Field Marshal Alexander made this point in a telegram sent on March 11th, in which he remarked: “Please note that the two leading figures are S.S. and Himmler men, which makes me very suspicious.” This telegram was repeated to the British Ambassador in Moscow on March 12th for communication to the Soviet Government.107 If to sow distrust between us was the German intention, it has certainly for the moment been successful.
5. Sir A. Clark Kerr was instructed by Mr Eden to explain the whole position to Mr Molotov in his letter of March 21st.108 The reply of March 22nd handed to him from Mr Molotov contained the following expression: “In this instance the Soviet Government sees not a misunderstanding but something worse.” It also complained that “in Berne for two weeks behind the back of the Soviet Union, which is bearing the brunt of the war against Germany, negotiations have been going on between representatives of the German Military Command on the one hand and representatives of the English and American Commands on the other.” In the interest of Anglo-Russian relations His Majesty’s Government decided not to make any reply to this most wounding and unfounded charge but to ignore it. This is the reason for what you call in your message to the President “the silence of the British.” We thought it better to keep silent than to respond to such a message as was sent by Mr Molotov, but you may be sure that we were astonished by it and affronted that Mr Molotov should impute such conduct to us. This, however, in no way affected our instructions to Field Marshal Alexander to keep you fully informed.
6. Neither is it true that the initiative in this matter came, as you state to the President, wholly from the British. In fact the information given to Field Marshal Alexander that the German General Wolff wished to make a contact in Switzerland was brought to him by an American agency.
7. There is no connection whatever between any contacts at Berne or elsewhere with the total defeat of the German armies on the Western Front. They have in fact fought with great obstinacy and inflicted upon our and the American armies, since the opening of our February offensive, up to March 28th, upwards of 87,000 casualties. However, being outnumbered on the ground and literally overwhelmed in the air by the vastly superior Anglo-American air forces, which in the month of March alone dropped over 200,000 tons of bombs on Germany, the German armies in the West have been decisively broken. The fact that they were outnumbered on the ground in the West is due to the magnificent attacks and weight of the Soviet armies.
8. With regard to the charges which are made in your message to the President of April 3rd which also asperse His Majesty’s Government, I associate myself and my colleagues with the last sentence of the President’s reply.
5th April, 1945
I have received your message of April 1 on the Polish problem. In a relevant message to the President, a copy of which I am also sending to you, I have replied to the salient points about the work of the Moscow Commission on Poland.105 Concerning the other points in your message, I must say this:
The British and U.S. Ambassadors – members of the Moscow Commission – refuse to consider the opinion of the Polish Provisional Government and insist on inviting Polish leaders for consultation regardless of their attitude to the decisions of the Crimea Conference on Poland or to the Soviet Union. They insist, for example, on Mikolajczyk being invited to Moscow for consultation, and they do so in the form of an ultimatum, ignoring the fact that Mikolajczyk has openly attacked the Crimea Conference decisions on Poland. However, if you deem it necessary, I shall try to induce the Provisional Polish Government to withdraw its objections to inviting Mikolajczyk provided he publicly endorses the decisions of the Crimea Conference on the Polish question and declares in favour of establishing friendly relations between Poland and the Soviet Union.
2. You wonder why the Polish military theatre should be veiled in secrecy. Actually there is no secrecy at all. You forget the circumstance that the Poles regard the despatch of British or other foreign observers to Poland as an affront to their national dignity, especially when it is borne in mind that the Polish Provisional Government feels the British Government has adopted an unfriendly attitude towards it. As to the Soviet Government, it has to take note of the Polish Provisional Government’s negative view on sending foreign observers to Poland. Furthermore, you know that, given a different attitude towards it, the Polish Provisional Government would not object to representatives of other countries entering Poland and, as was the case, for example, with representatives of the Czechoslovak Government, the Yugoslav Government and others, would not put any difficulties in their way.
3. I had a pleasant talk with Mrs Churchill who made a deep impression upon me. She gave me a present from you. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for it.
April 7, 1945
With reference to your message of April 1st I think I must make the following comments on the Polish question.
The Polish question has indeed reached an impasse. What is the reason?
The reason is that the U.S. and British Ambassadors in Moscow – members of the Moscow Commission – have departed from the instructions of the Crimea Conference, introducing new elements not provided for by the Crimea Conference. Namely:
(a) At the Crimea Conference the three of us regarded the Polish Provisional Government as the government now functioning in Poland and subject to reconstruction, as the government that should be the core of a new Government of National Unity. The U.S. and British Ambassadors in Moscow, however, have departed from that thesis; they ignore the Polish Provisional Government, pay no heed to it and at best place individuals in Poland and London on a par with the Provisional Government. Furthermore, they hold that reconstruction of the Provisional Government should be understood in terms of its abolition and the establishment of an entirely new government. Things have gone so far that Mr Harriman declared in the Moscow Commission that it might be that not a single member of the Provisional Government would be included in the Polish Government of National Unity.
Obviously this thesis of the U.S. and British Ambassadors cannot but be strongly resented by the Polish Provisional Government. As regards the Soviet Union, it certainly cannot accept a thesis that is tantamount to direct violation of the Crimea Conference decisions.
(b) At the Crimea Conference the three of us held that five people should be invited for consultation from Poland and three from London, not more. But the U.S. and British Ambassadors have abandoned that position and insist that each member of the Moscow Commission be entitled to invite an unlimited number from Poland and from London.
Clearly the Soviet Government could not agree to that, because, according to the Crimea decision, invitations should be sent not by individual members of the Commission, but by the Commission as a whole, as a body. The demand for no limit to the number invited for consultation runs counter to what was envisaged at the Crimea Conference.
(c) The Soviet Government proceeds from the assumption that by virtue of the Crimea decisions, those invited for consultation should be in the first instance Polish leaders who recognise the decisions of the Crimea Conference, including the one on the Curzon Line,72 and, secondly, who actually want friendly relations between Poland and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Government insists on this because the blood of Soviet soldiers, so freely shed in liberating Poland, and the fact that in the past 30 years the territory of Poland has twice been used by an enemy for invading Russia, oblige the Soviet Government to ensure friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Poland.
The U.S. and British Ambassadors in Moscow, however, ignore this and want to invite Polish leaders for consultation regardless of their attitude to the Crimea decisions and to the Soviet Union.
Such, to my mind, are the factors hindering a settlement of the Polish problem through mutual agreement. In order to break the deadlock and reach an agreed decision, the following steps should, I think, be taken:
(1) Affirm that reconstruction of the Polish Provisional Government implies, not its abolition, but its reconstruction by enlarging it, it being understood that the Provisional Government shall form the core of the future Polish Government of National Unity.
(2) Return to the provisions of the Crimea Conference and restrict the number of Polish leaders to be invited to eight persons, of whom five should be from Poland and three from London.
(3) Affirm that the representatives of the Polish Provisional Government shall be consulted in all circumstances, that they be consulted in the first place, since the Provisional Government is much stronger in Poland compared with the individuals to be invited from London and Poland whose influence among the population in no way compares with the tremendous prestige of the Provisional Government.
I draw your attention to this because, to my mind, any other decision on the point might be regarded in Poland as an affront to the people and as an attempt to impose a government without regard to Polish public opinion.
(4) Only those leaders should be summoned for consultation from Poland and from London who recognise the decisions of the Crimea Conference on Poland and who in practice want friendly relations between Poland and the Soviet Union.
(5) Reconstruction of the Provisional Government to be effected by replacing a number of Ministers of the Provisional Government by nominees among the Polish leaders who are not members of the Provisional Government.
As to the ratio of old and new Ministers in the Government of National Unity, it might be established more or less on the same lines as was done in the case of the Yugoslav Government.
I think if these comments are taken into consideration the Polish question can be settled in a short time.
April 7, 1945
I have received your message of April 5.
I have already answered, in my message of April 7 to the President, which I am also sending to you, all the main points raised in your message in relation to the negotiations in Switzerland. As regards other points in your message, I think it necessary to say this.
Neither I nor Molotov had any intention of “aspersing” anyone. It is not a question of our wanting to “asperse” anyone but of the fact that differences have arisen between us as to the duties and the rights of an Ally. You will see from my message to the President that the Russian view of the matter is correct, for it guarantees the rights of any Ally and deprives the enemy of any opportunity to sow distrust between us.
2. My messages are personal and most secret. This enables me to speak my mind frankly and clearly. That is an advantage of secret correspondence. But if you take every frank statement of mine as an affront, then the correspondence will be greatly handicapped. I can assure you that I have never had, nor have I now, any intention of affronting anyone.
April 7, 1945
I have received your message of April 5.
In my message of April 3 the point was not about integrity or trustworthiness. I have never doubted your integrity or trustworthiness, just as I have never questioned the integrity or trustworthiness of Mr Churchill. My point is that in the course of our correspondence a difference of views has arisen over what an Ally may permit himself with regard to another and what he may not. We Russians believe that, in view of the present situation on the fronts, a situation in which the enemy is faced with inevitable surrender, whenever the representatives of one of the Allies meet the Germans to discuss surrender terms, the representatives of the other Ally should be enabled to take part in the meeting. That is absolutely necessary, at least when the other Ally seeks participation in the meeting. The Americans and British, however, have a different opinion – they hold that the Russian point of view is wrong. For that reason they have denied the Russians the right to be present at the meeting with the Germans in Switzerland. I have already written to you, and I see no harm in repeating that, given a similar situation, the Russians would never have denied the Americans and British the right to attend such a meeting. I still consider the Russian point of view to be the only correct one, because it precludes mutual suspicions and gives the enemy no chance to sow distrust between us.
2. It is hard to agree that the absence of German resistance on the Western Front is due solely to the fact that they have been beaten. The Germans have 147 divisions on the Eastern Front. They could safely withdraw from 15 to 20 divisions from the Eastern Front to aid their forces on the Western Front. Yet they have not done so, nor are they doing so. They are fighting desperately against the Russians for Zemlenice, an obscure station in Czechoslovakia, which they need just as much as a dead man needs a poultice, but they surrender without any resistance such important towns in the heart of Germany as Osnabrück, Mannheim and Kassel. You will admit that this behaviour on the part of the Germans is more than strange and unaccountable.
3. As regards those who supply my information, I can assure you that they are honest and unassuming people who carry out their duties conscientiously and who have no intention of affronting anybody. They have been tested in action on numerous occasions. Judge for yourself. In February General Marshall made available to the General Staff of the Soviet troops a number of important reports in which he, citing data in his possession, warned the Russians that in March the Germans were planning two serious counter-blows on the Eastern Front, one from Pomerania towards Thorn, the other from the Moravskâ Ostrava area towards Lódź. It turned out, however, that the main German blow had been prepared, and delivered, not in the areas mentioned above, but in an entirely different area, namely, in the Lake Balaton area, south-west of Budapest. The Germans, as we now know, had concentrated 35 divisions in the area, 11 of them armoured. This, with its great concentration of armour, was one of the heaviest blows of the war. Marshal Tolbukhin succeeded first in warding off disaster and then in smashing the Germans, and was able to do so also because my informants had disclosed – true with some delay – the plan for the main German blow and immediately apprised Marshal Tolbukhin. Thus I had yet another opportunity to satisfy myself as to the reliability and soundness of my sources of information.
For your guidance in this matter I enclose a letter sent by Army General Antonov, Chief of Staff of the Red Army, to Major-General Deane.
April 7, 1945
Dear General Deane,
Please convey to General Marshall the following:
On February 20 I received a message from General Marshall through General Deane, saying that the Germans were forming two groups for a counter-offensive on the Eastern Front: one in Pomerania to strike in the direction of Thorn and the other in the Vienna-Moravskâ Ostrava area to advance in the direction of Lódź. The southern group was to include the 6th S.S. Panzer Army. On February 12 I received similar information from Colonel Brinkman, head of the Army Section of the British Military Mission.
I am very much obliged and grateful to General Marshall for the information, designed to further our common aims, which he so kindly made available to us.
At the same time it is my duty to inform General Marshall that the military operations on the Eastern Front in March did not bear out the information furnished by him. For the battles showed that the main group of German troops, which included the 6th S.S. Panzer Army, had been concentrated, not in Pomerania or in the Moravskâ Ostrava area, but in the Lake Balaton area, whence the Germans launched their offensive in an attempt to break through to the Danube and force it south of Budapest.
Thus, the information supplied by General Marshall was at variance with the actual course of events on the Eastern Front in March.
It may well be that certain sources of this information wanted to bluff both Anglo-American and Soviet Headquarters and divert the attention of the Soviet High Command from the area where the Germans were mounting their main offensive operation on the Eastern Front.
Despite the foregoing, I would ask General Marshall, if possible, to keep me posted with information about the enemy. I consider it my duty to convey this information to General Marshall solely for the purpose of enabling him to draw the proper conclusions in relation to the source of the information. Please convey to General Marshall my respect and gratitude. Truly yours,
March 30, 1945
I have received your message of April 7th. I thank you for its reassuring tone and trust the “Crossword”109 misunderstanding may now be considered at an end.
2. I have been greatly distressed by the death of President Roosevelt with whom I had in the last five and a half years established very close personal ties of friendship. This sad event makes it all the more valuable that you and I are linked together by the many pleasant courtesies and memories even in the midst of all the perils and difficulties that we have surmounted.
3. I must take the occasion to thank you for all the kindness with which you have received my wife during her visit to Moscow, and for all the care that is being taken of her on her journey through Russia. We regard it as a great honour that she should receive the Order of the Red Banner of Labour on account of the work she has done to mitigate the terrible sufferings of the wounded soldiers of the heroic Red Army. The amount of money she collected is perhaps not great, but it is a love offering not only of the rich but mainly of the pennies of the poor who have been proud to make their small weekly contributions. In the friendship of the masses of our peoples, in the comprehension of their governments and in the mutual respect of their armies the future of the world resides.
14th April, 1945
The glorious moment when your forces and ours will link up in a defeated Germany is rapidly approaching. I am sure it would have a heartening effect on all our peoples if the occasion were marked by short broadcast messages by yourself, President Truman and myself. Please let me know if you agree to this proposal.
I am sending a similar message to President Truman.
14th April, 1945
In my message of March 22nd110 I expressed the hope that you and President Roosevelt would go forward with us in issuing a warning to the Germans about the safety of Allied prisoners of war in their hands. President Roosevelt agreed to do so if you will. My military advisers consider that it may be necessary to issue the warning shortly. I hope, therefore, that you will be able to let me have an early reply.
14th April, 1945
I have received your messages of April 14.
I agree that it would be advisable to broadcast brief messages to the troops by you, the President and myself in connection with the anticipated link-up of our troops – that is, of course, if President Truman does not object. We should agree, however, on the date for these broadcasts.
2. I also agree that we should issue a joint warning on behalf of the three Governments about the safety of the prisoners of war in the hands of the Hitler Government. I have no objection to the text of the warning sent by you.110 Kindly advise me whether the warning has to be signed or not. And let me know date and time of publication.
April 14, 1945
Your message on the occasion of the death of President F. Roosevelt has reached me.
In President Franklin Roosevelt the Soviet people recognised an outstanding political leader and unswerving champion of close cooperation between our three countries.
Our people will always value highly and remember President F. Roosevelt’s friendly attitude to the Soviet Union.
As for myself, I am deeply afflicted by the loss of this great man, our common friend.
April 15, 1945
M. Mikolajczyk came to see me today and after some conversation he issued the following declaration, to which he desired that immediate publicity should be given. I hope that you will find this helpful in view of your private telegram to me of April 7th.
1. I consider that close and lasting friendship with Russia is the keystone of future Polish policy within the wider friendship of the United Nations.
2. To remove all doubt as to my attitude, I wish to declare that I accept the Crimea decision in regard to the future of Poland, its sovereign independent position and the formation of a provisional government representative of national unity.
3. I support the decision arrived at in the Crimea that a conference of leading Polish personalities be called with a view to constituting a government of national unity as widely and fairly representative of the Polish people as possible and one which will command recognition by the three major Powers.
15th April, 1945
I am very glad you agree about the three messages. It would be well if they were put on records and then on the day agreed between us they can all be let off in succession with the necessary translations at the most convenient times. I would propose to the President that he goes first, you next and I will bring up the rear. I will send you a copy of the sort of thing I should propose to say myself.
2. With regard to the warning, it should surely be signed by us three and also properly timed and I am telling Mr Eden to clear the matter with Mr Stettinius, and I hope, Mr Molotov in Washington.111
3. I look forward very much to the impending meeting of the three Foreign Secretaries at Washington.
16th April, 1945
Sent on April 18, 1945
I am in receipt of your message of April 16 concerning the texts of the broadcasts to the troops and the joint warning.
I have no objection to the succession in which you propose releasing the messages. As to warning the Germans about the safety of prisoners of war, we can, no doubt, direct V. M. Molotov, Mr Eden and Mr Stettinius to reach agreement in Washington.
Sent on April 18, 1945
Your message setting out Mikolajczyk’s declaration reached me on April 16. Thank you for the information.
Mikolajczyk’s declaration is undoubtedly a big step forward, but it is not clear whether he accepts that part of the Crimea Conference decisions which bears on Poland’s eastern frontier. It wouldn’t be bad first, to have the full text of Mikolajczyk’s declaration and, second, to have an elucidation from him as to whether he also accepts that part of the Crimea decisions which relates to Poland’s eastern frontier.
My message of April 16th contained the full text of M. Mikolajczyk’s statement.
Since receiving your message I have made quite certain by explicit inquiry that M. Mikolajczyk accepts the Crimea decisions as a whole, including that part which deals with the eastern frontiers of Poland. I should not indeed have thought it worthwhile to have forwarded his statement unless I had been sure that this was the fact.
April 18th, 1945
Received on April 18th, 1945
We are sending this joint reply to your messages of April 7th in regard to the Polish negotiations for the sake of greater clarity and in order that there will be no misunderstanding as to our position on this matter. The British and United States Governments have tried most earnestly to be constructive and fair in their approach and will continue to do so. Before putting before you the concrete and constructive suggestion which is the purpose of this message, we feel it necessary, however, to correct the completely erroneous impression which you have apparently received in regard to the position of the British and United States Governments as set forth by our Ambassadors under direct instructions during the negotiations. It is most surprising to have you state that the present government functioning in Warsaw has been in any way ignored during these negotiations. Such has never been our intention nor our position. You must be cognisant of the fact that our Ambassadors in Moscow have agreed without question that the three leaders of the Warsaw Government should be included in the list of Poles to be invited to come to Moscow for consultation with the Polish Commission.105 We have never denied that among the three elements from which the new Provisional Government of National Unity is to be formed the representatives of the present Warsaw Government will play, unquestionably, a prominent part. Nor can it be said with any justification that our Ambassadors are demanding the right to invite an unlimited number of Poles. The right to put forward and have accepted by the Commission individual representative Poles from abroad and from within Poland to be invited to Moscow for consultation cannot be interpreted in that sense. Indeed, in his message of April 1st President Roosevelt specifically said: “In order to facilitate agreement the Commission might first of all select a small but representative group of Polish leaders who could suggest other names for consideration by the Commission.” The real issue between us is whether or not the Warsaw Government has the right to veto individual candidates for consultation. No such interpretation, in our considered opinion, can be found in the Crimea decision. It appears to us that you are reverting to the original position taken by the Soviet delegation at the Crimea, which was subsequently modified in the agreement. Let us keep clearly in mind that we are now speaking only of the group of Poles who are to be invited to Moscow for consultation.
You mention the desirability of inviting eight Poles – five from within Poland and three from London – to take part in these first consultations, and in your message to the Prime Minister you indicate that Mikolajczyk would be acceptable if he issued a statement in support of the Crimea decision. We therefore submit the following proposals for your consideration in order to prevent a breakdown, with all its incalculable consequences, of our endeavours to settle the Polish question. We hope that you will give them your most immediate and earnest consideration:
(1) That we instruct our representatives on the Commission to extend invitations immediately to the following Polish leaders to come to Moscow for consultation: Bierut, Osubka- Morawski, Rola-Zymerski, Bishop Sapieha, one representative Polish political party leader not connected with the present Warsaw Government (if any of the following were agreeable to you he would be agreeable to us – Witos, Zulawski, Chachinski, Jasiukowicz), and from London: Mikolajczyk, Grabski and Stanczyk.
(2) That once invitations to come for consultation have been issued by the Commission, the representatives of the Warsaw Provisional Government would arrive first if desired.
(3) That it be agreed that these Polish leaders called for consultation could suggest to the Commission the names of a certain number of other Polish leaders from within Poland or abroad who might be brought in for consultation in order that all the major Polish groups be represented in the discussions.
(4) We do not feel that we could commit ourselves to any formula for determining the composition of the new Government of National Unity in advance of consultation with the Polish leaders and we do not in any case consider the Yugoslav precedent112 to be applicable to Poland.
We ask you to read again carefully the American and British messages of April 1st since they set forth the larger considerations which we still have very much in mind and to which we must adhere.
As we have all three agreed to broadcast messages when our forces link up in Germany, I suggest the following procedure.
Each State should broadcast all three messages. We will have to exchange records by air. Mine will read as follows. Begins:
“After long journeys, toils and victories across land and oceans, the armies of the Great Allies have traversed Germany and joined hands (in Berlin). Now their task will be the destruction of all areas of German resistance, the rooting out of Nazi power and the subjugation of Hitler’s Reich. For these purposes ample forces are available and we join hands in true and victorious comradeship and with the inflexible resolve to fulfil our purpose and our duty. Let all march forward upon the foe.”
I am having this recorded and flown to you at once. It would be convenient if you could send me yours as soon as possible and telegraph the text in advance so that we know its substance. As regards the order, I think after inquiry, it would be appropriate that we should each have our own message broadcast first from our own stations.
It seems to me to be best to leave it to the broadcasting authorities in each country to decide the precise time at which they wish to broadcast the records to their respective audiences. They would, of course, be under pledge not to put these broadcasts on the air until a firm link-up of the Russian and Anglo-American armies has been officially reported. It would be a great convenience if this official announcement could be made in all three countries at the same time. Would you be agreeable to synchronising your announcement of this event with a similar announcement by General Eisenhower? If so, I will ask him to communicate with you to this end.
I am sending a similar telegram to President Truman.
19th April, 1945
My telegram of April 19th. The last three sentences do not mean so far as I am concerned that any announcement in the sense of a message to the troops will be made on this occasion otherwise than by the three heads of Governments concerned. This last sentence referred only to announcement of the fact of a link-up which will come out in the ordinary way.
20th April, 1945
I have received yours of April 19 concerning the messages to the troops. I am in agreement with the procedure set out by you.
My message will run as follows:
“The victorious armies of the Allied Powers, waging a war of liberation in Europe, have defeated the German forces and linked up on German soil.
“It is our task and our duty to finish off the enemy, to force him to lay down his arms and surrender unconditionally. This task and this duty to our people and to all the freedom-loving peoples will be fully carried out as far as the Red Army is concerned.
“We salute the valiant troops of our Allies, who now stand on German soil shoulder to shoulder with the Soviet troops, fully resolved to carry out their duty to the end.”
The message will be recorded and sent to you immediately.
I have no objection to leaving it to the broadcasting authorities in each country to fix the exact time when our messages will be broadcast the moment the link-up of Soviet and Anglo- American troops is officially announced. Nor have I any objection to coordinating our link-up statements with a similar statement by General Eisenhower.
Your suggestion that our messages be broadcast first in the respective countries over their own network is likewise acceptable.
April 20, 1945
President Truman informs me that he finds it impracticable to broadcast a message on linking up of armies. He therefore proposes to issue it as a statement from him to the Press and Radio for release on the date and hour that are agreed upon.
I suggest General Eisenhower be instructed to agree with the Soviet military authorities as to appropriate time for release.
A recording of my own message is being flown to you.
21st April, 1945
Thank you for your telegram of the 20th April about the link-up of our forces. I agree with President Truman’s proposal that the announcement should be made simultaneously in the three capitals at 12 noon Washington Time on the day in question and unless we hear you have any objection, our arrangements will be made accordingly.
22nd April, 1945
The following is a public statement by M. Mikolajczyk which has appeared in his newspaper. There is no doubt about the answer which he gave in his last sentence to the question you put to me, namely that he accepts the Curzon Line72 including the Lvov cession to the Soviets. I hope that this will be satisfactory to you.
“On demand of Russia the three Great Powers have declared themselves in favour of establishing Poland’s eastern frontier on the Curzon Line with the possibility of small rectifications. My own point of view was that at least Lvov and the oil district should be left to Poland. Considering, however, firstly that in this respect there is an absolute demand on the Soviet side and secondly that the existence side by side of our two nations is dependent on the fulfilment of this condition, we Poles are obliged to ask ourselves whether in the name of the so-called integrity of our republic we are to reject it and thereby jeopardise the whole existence of our country’s interests. The answer to this question must be ‘No.’ ”22nd April, 1945
Your message on the procedure of releasing President Truman’s statement reached me on April 21. Thank you for the information. As agreed, the sound record of my message is being flown to you by the returning Mosquito.
April 23, 1945
Your message concerning the time of announcing the link-up of our armies in Germany reached me on April 22.
I have no objection to President Truman’s proposal that the link-up of our armies be announced simultaneously in the three capitals at 12.00 hours Washington Time.
I am sending a similar message to Mr Truman.
April 23, 1945
I received the joint message from you and President Truman of April 18.
It would appear that you still regard the Polish Provisional Government, not as the core of a future Polish Government of National Unity, but merely as a group on a par with any other group of Poles. It would be hard to reconcile this concept of the position of the Provisional Government and this attitude towards it with the Crimea decision on Poland. At the Crimea Conference the three of us, including President Roosevelt, based ourselves on the assumption that the Polish Provisional Government, as the Government now fuctioning in Poland and enjoying the trust and support of the majority of the Polish people, should be the core, that is, the main part of a new, reconstructed Polish Government of National Unity.
You apparently disagree with this understanding of the issue. By turning down the Yugoslav example112 as a model for Poland, you confirm that the Polish Provisional Government cannot be regarded as a basis for, and the core of, a future Government of National Unity.
2. Another circumstance that should be borne in mind is that Poland borders on the Soviet Union, which cannot be said about Great Britain or the U.S.A.
Poland is to the security of the Soviet Union what Belgium and Greece are to the security of Great Britain.
You evidently do not agree that the Soviet Union is entitled to seek in Poland a Government that would be friendly to it, that the Soviet Government cannot agree to the existence in Poland of a Government hostile to it. This is rendered imperative, among other things, by the Soviet people’s blood freely shed on the fields of Poland for the liberation of that country. I do not know whether a genuinely representative Government has been established in Greece, or whether the Belgian Government is a genuinely democratic one. The Soviet Union was not consulted when those Governments were being formed, nor did it claim the right to interfere in those matters, because it realises how important Belgium and Greece are to the security of Great Britain.
I cannot understand why in discussing Poland no attempt is made to consider the interests of the Soviet Union in terms of security as well.
3. One cannot but recognise as unusual a situation in which two Governments – those of the United States and Great Britain – reach agreement beforehand on Poland, a country in which the U.S.S.R. is interested first of all and most of all, and, placing its representatives in an intolerable position, try to dictate to it.
I say that this situation cannot contribute to agreed settlement of the Polish problem.
4. I am most grateful to you for kindly communicating the text of Mikolajczyk’s declaration concerning Poland’s eastern frontier. I am prepared to recommend to the Polish Provisional Government that they take note of this declaration and withdraw their objection to inviting Mikolajczyk for consultation on a Polish Government.
The important thing now is to accept the Yugoslav precedent as a model for Poland. I think that if this is done we shall be able to make progress on the Polish question.
April 24, 1945
Thank you for both yours of April 23rd which I duly received. And thank you also for the greetings which you send from your brave armies to those of the Western democracies who now join hands with you. I can assure you that we reciprocate these greetings.
25th April, 1945
The telegram in my immediately following has just reached me from the British Ambassador in Sweden. The President of the United States has the news also. There can be no question as far as His Majesty’s Government is concerned of anything less than unconditional surrender simultaneously to the three major Powers. We consider Himmler should be told that German forces, either as individuals or in units, should everywhere surrender themselves to the Allied troops or representatives on the spot. Until this happens the attack of the Allies upon them and on all sides and in all theatres where resistance continues will be prosecuted with the utmost vigour.
Nothing in the above telegram should affect the release of our orations on the link-up.
April 25th, 1945
Received on April 25th, 1945
The following telegram was received from the British Minister at Stockholm dated April 25th.
The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs asked me and my United States colleague to call upon him at 23.00 hours on April 24th. Mr Boheman and Count Bernadotte of the Swedish Red Cross were also present.
2. Bernadotte had returned from Germany via Denmark tonight. Himmler, who was on the Eastern Front, had asked him to come from Flensburg, where he had been on Red Cross work, to meet him urgently in North Germany and Bernadotte suggested Lübeck, where the meeting took place, at 1 o’clock on the morning of April 24th. Himmler, though tired and admitting that Germany was finished, was still calm and coherent.
3. Himmler said that Hitler was so desperately ill that he might be dead already and in any case would be so in two days’ time. General Schellenberg of Himmler’s staff told Bernadotte that it was haemorrhage of the brain.
4. Himmler stated that while Hitler was still active he would not have been able to take the step now proposed, but as Hitler was finished he was now in a position of full authority to act. He then asked Bernadotte to forward to the Swedish Government his desire that they should make arrangements in order to arrange for him to meet General Eisenhower in order to capitulate on the whole Western Front. Bernadotte remarked that such a meeting was not necessary as he could simply order his troops to surrender. He was not willing to forward Himmler’s request to the Swedish Government unless Norway and Denmark were included in this capitulation. If this were the case there might be some point in a meeting because special technical arrangements might have to be made regarding how and to whom the Germans there were to lay down their arms. Himmler replied that he was prepared to order the troops in Denmark and Norway to surrender to either British, American or Swedish troops.
5. Himmler hoped to continue to resist on the Eastern Front at least for a time which Bernadotte told him was scarcely possible in practice and not acceptable to the Allies. Himmler mentioned for instance that he hoped that the Western Allies rather than the Russians would be the first to enter Mecklenburg in order to save the civilian population. Schellenberg is now in Flensburg near the Danish border eagerly waiting to hear something, and could ensure the immediate delivery to Himmler of any message which it might be desired to convey. Bernadotte remarked to us that if no reaction at all was forthcoming from the Allies it would probably mean a lot of unnecessary suffering and loss of human life.
6. The Minister for Foreign Affairs explained that he thought this was such an important piece of news that he ought to communicate it to my United States colleague and me immediately. My United States colleague and I remarked that Himmler’s refusal actually to order surrender on the Eastern Front looked like a last attempt to sow discord between the Western Allies and Russia. Obviously the Nazis would have to surrender to all the Allies simultaneously. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr Boheman, while admitting that this motive could not be excluded, pointed out that the fact that the Nazi chief would order capitulation of all troops on the whole of the Western Front and in Norway and Denmark must be of great advantage for all the Allies, including Russia, and would in fact lead to early total capitulation. In any case, the Minister for Foreign Affairs thought Bernadotte’s information should be passed on to the British and United States Governments who were, as far as the Swedish Government were concerned, at complete liberty to transmit it to the Soviet Government, as the Swedish Government would in no way be or be thought to be an instrument in promoting any attempt to sow discord between the Allies. The only reason why the Swedish Government could not inform the Soviet Government directly was because Himmler had stipulated that this information was exclusively for the Western Allies.
7. My United States colleague is sending a similar telegram to his Government.
Thank you for the message of April 25 about Himmler’s intention to surrender on the Western Front.
I regard your suggestion for confronting Himmler with a demand for unconditional surrender on all fronts, including the Soviet front, as the only correct one. Knowing you as I do, I never doubted that you would act in exactly this manner. Please act in the spirit of your suggestion, and as for the Red Army, it will press on to Berlin in the interest of our common cause.
For your information I have sent a similar reply to President Truman who addressed me with the same query.
April 25, 1945
Received on April 26, 1945
This is about “Crossword.”109 The German envoys, with whom all contact was broken by us some days ago, have now arrived again on the Lake of Lucerne. They claim to have full powers to surrender the army in Italy. Field Marshal Alexander is therefore being told that he is free to permit these envoys to come to Allied Force Headquarters in Italy. This they can easily do by going into France and being picked up by our aircraft from there. Will you please send Russian representatives forthwith to Field Marshal Alexander’s Headquarters.
Field Marshal Alexander is free to accept the unconditional surrender of the considerable enemy army on his front, but all political issues are reserved to the three Governments.
2. You will notice that surrender in Italy was not mentioned in the telegrams I sent you a few hours ago about Himmler’s proposed surrender in the West and the North. We have spent a lot of blood in Italy and the capture of the German armies south of the Alps is a prize dear to the hearts of the British nation, with whom in this matter the United States have shared the costs and perils.
3. All the above is for your personal information. Our staff have telegraphed to the American staff in order that the Combined Anglo-American Staff43 may send instructions in the same sense to Field Marshal Alexander, who will be told to keep your High Command fully informed through the Anglo- American Military Missions in Moscow.
Your message on “Crossword”109 reached me on April 26. Thank you for the information.
For my part I want to tell you that the Soviet Military Command has appointed Major-General Kislenko, at present the Soviet Government’s delegate on the Advisory Council for Italy, to take part in the negotiations at Field Marshal Alexander’s headquarters for the surrender of the German forces in Northern Italy.
April 26, 1945
Your telegram of April 25th. I am extremely pleased to know that you had no doubt how I would act, and always will act, towards your glorious country and yourself. The British and United States Governments, sure in their action on this matter, will go forward on the lines you approve and we all three will continually keep each other fully informed.
2. The following is a small item, but may be convenient. Our armies will soon be in contact on a broad front. We must have a good air corridor made as soon and as broad as possible so that messages may pass every day by aircraft and personal contacts will become easy. I have asked General Eisenhower to arrange the route from his end.
April 27th, 1945
The Anglo-American armies will soon make contact in Germany with Soviet forces, and the approaching end of German resistance makes it necessary that the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union decide upon an orderly procedure for the occupation by their forces of zones which they will occupy in Germany and in Austria.
2. Our immediate task is the final defeat of the German army. During this period the boundaries between the forces of the three Allies must be decided by the Commanders in the field and will be governed by operational considerations and requirements. It is inevitable that our armies will in this phase find themselves in occupation of territory outside the boundaries of the ultimate occupation zones.
3. When the fighting is finished, the next task is for the Allied Control Commissions to be set up in Berlin and Vienna, and for the forces of the Allies to be redisposed and to take over their respective occupational zones. The demarcation of zones in Germany has already been decided upon113 and it is necessary that we shall without delay reach an agreement on the zones to be occupied in Austria at the forthcoming meeting proposed by you in Vienna.114
4. It appears now that no signed instrument of surrender will be forthcoming. In this event the Governments should decide to set up at once the Allied Control Commissions, and to entrust to them the task of making detailed arrangements for the withdrawal of forces to their agreed occupational zones.
5. In order to meet the requirements of the situation referred to in paragraph 2 above, namely, the emergency and temporary arrangements for tactical zones, instructions have been sent to General Eisenhower. These are as follows:
“(a) To avoid confusion between the two armies and to prevent either of them from expanding into areas already occupied by the other, both sides should halt as and where they meet, subject to such adjustments to the rear or to the flanks as are required, in the opinion of local commanders on either side, to deal with any remaining opposition.
“(b) As to adjustments of forces after the cessation of hostilities in an area, your troops should be disposed in accordance with military requirements regardless of zonal boundaries. You will, in so far as permitted by the urgency of the situation, obtain the approval of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.43 prior to any major adjustment in contrast to local adjustments for operational and administrative reasons.”
6. I request that you will be so good as to issue similar instructions to your commanders in the field.
7. I am sending this message to you and to President Truman simultaneously.
27th April, 1945
My personal message of April 27th.
In the absence of a signed instrument of surrender, the four Powers will have to issue a declaration recording the defeat and the unconditional surrender of Germany and assuming supreme authority in Germany. A draft text of such a declaration is before the European Advisory Commission94 and I would ask you to send urgent instructions to your representative on the Commission so that a final text may be settled without delay.
28th April, 1945
I thank you for your message of April 24th. I have been much distressed at the misunderstanding that has grown up between us on the Crimea agreement about Poland. I certainly went to Yalta with the hope that both the London and Lublin Polish Governments would be swept away and that a new government would be formed from among Poles of goodwill, among whom members of M. Bierut’s government would be prominent. But you did not like this plan, and we and the Americans agreed, therefore, that there was to be no sweeping away of the Bierut government but that instead it should become a “new” government “reorganised on a broader democratic basis with the inclusion of democratic leaders from Poland itself and from Poles abroad.” For this purpose, M. Molotov and the two Ambassadors were to sit together in Moscow105 and try to bring into being such a government by consultations with members of the present Provisional Government and with other Polish democratic leaders from within Poland and from abroad.
2. The Commission then would have to set to work to select Poles who were to come for the consultations. We tried in each case to find representative men, and in this we were careful to exclude what we thought were extreme people unfriendly to Russia. We did not select for our list anyone at present in the London Polish Government, but three good men, namely M. Mikolajczyk, M. Stanczyk and M. Grabski, who went into opposition to the London Polish Government because they did not like its attitude towards Russia, and in particular its refusal to accept the eastern frontier which you and I agreed upon, now so long ago, and which I was the first man outside the Soviet Government to proclaim to the world as just and fair, together with compensations, etc., in the West and North. It is true that M. Mikolajczyk at that time still hoped for Lvov, as you know he has now publicly abandoned that claim.
3. Our names for those from inside and outside Poland were put forward in the same spirit of helpfulness by the Americans and ourselves. The first thing the British complained of is that after nine weeks of discussion on the Commission at Moscow, and any amount of telegrams between our three Governments, not the least progress has been made, because M. Molotov has steadily refused in the Commission to give an opinion about the Poles we have mentioned, so that not one of them has been allowed to come even to a preliminary round table discussion. Please observe that these names were put forward not as necessarily to be members of a reorganised Polish Government but simply to come for the round table talk provided for in the Crimea declaration, out of which it was intended to bring about the formation of a united provisional government, representative of the main elements of Polish life and prepared to work on friendly terms with the Soviet Government, and also of a kind which we and all the world could recognise. That was and still is our desire. This provisional government was then, according to our joint decision at the Crimea, to pledge itself to hold “free and unfettered elections as soon as possible on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot” in which “all democratic and anti-Nazi parties shall have the right to take part and put forward candidates.” Alas! none of this has been allowed to move forward.
4. In your paragraph 1 you speak of accepting “the Yugoslav precedent112 as a model for Poland.” You have always wished that our private personal series of telegrams should be frank and outspoken. I must say at once that the two cases are completely different. In the case of Poland, the three Powers reached agreement about how we should arrange the emergence of a new government. This was to be by means of consultations before our Commission between representatives of the Bierut government and democratic Polish leaders from inside and outside Poland. In the case of Yugoslavia there was nothing of this kind. You seem now to be proposing, after your representative on the Moscow Polish Commission has made it impossible to start the conversations provided for in our agreement, that the agreed procedure should be abandoned. Thus we British feel that after all this time absolutely no headway has been made towards forming a “new” and “reorganised” government while on the contrary the Soviet Government have made a twenty years’ treaty with the present Provisional Government under M. Bierut although it remains neither new nor reorganised. We have the feeling that it is we who have been dictated to and brought up against a stone wall upon matters which we sincerely believed were settled in a spirit of friendly comradeship in the Crimea.
5. I must also say that the way things have worked out in Yugoslavia certainly does not give me the feeling of a fifty-fifty interest as between our countries. Marshal Tito has become a complete dictator. He has proclaimed that his prime loyalties are to the Soviet Union. Although he allowed members of the Royal Yugoslav Government to enter his government they only number six as against twenty-five of his own nominees. We have the impression that they are not taken into consultation on matters of high policy and that it is becoming a one-party régime. However, I have not made any complaint or comment about all this, and both at Yalta and at other times have acquiesced in the settlement which has been reached in Yugoslavia. I do not complain of any action you have taken there in spite of my misgivings and I hope it will all work out smoothly and make Yugoslavia a prosperous and free people friendly to both Russia and ourselves.
6. We could not however accept “the Yugoslav model” as a guide to what should happen in Poland. Neither we nor the Americans have any military or special interest in Poland. All we seek in material things is to be treated in the regular way between friendly States. Here we are all shocked that you should think we would work for a Polish Government hostile to the U.S.S.R. This is the opposite of our policy. But it was on account of Poland that the British went to war with Germany in 1939. We saw in the Nazi treatment of Poland a symbol of Hitler’s vile and wicked lust of conquest and subjugation, and his invasion of Poland was the spark that fired the mine. The British people do not, as is sometimes thought, go to war for calculation, but for sentiment. They had a feeling, which grew up in the years, that with all Hitler’s encroachments and preparations he was a danger to our country and to the liberties which we prize in Europe and when after Munich he broke his word so shamefully about Czechoslovakia even the extremely peace-loving Chamberlain gave our guarantee against Hitler to Poland. When that guarantee was invoked by the German invasion of Poland the whole nation went to war with Hitler, unprepared as we were. There was a flame in the hearts of men like that which swept your people in their noble defence of their country from a treacherous, brutal, and as at one time it almost seemed, overwhelming German attack. This British flame burns still among all classes and parties in this island and in its self-governing Dominions, and they can never feel this war will have ended rightly unless Poland has a fair deal in the full sense of sovereignty, independence and freedom on a basis of friendship with Russia. It was on this that I thought we had agreed at Yalta.
7. Side by side with this strong sentiment for the rights of Poland, which I believe is shared in at least as strong a degree throughout the United States, there has grown up throughout the English-speaking world a very warm and deep desire to be friends on equal and honourable terms with the mighty Russian Soviet Republic and to work with you, making allowances for our different systems of thought and government, in the long and bright years for all the world which we three Powers alone can make together. I, who in my years of great responsibility, have worked methodically for this unity, will certainly continue to do so by every means in my power, and in particular I can assure you that we in Great Britain would not work for or tolerate a Polish Government unfriendly to Russia. Neither could we recognise a Polish Government that did not truly correspond to the description in our joint declaration at Yalta with proper regard for the rights of the individual as we understand these matters in the Western world.
8. With regard to your reference to Greece and Belgium, I recognise the consideration which you gave me when we had to intervene with heavy armed forces to quell the E.A.M.- E.L.A.S. attack upon the centre of government in Athens.115 We have given repeated instructions that your interest in Roumania and Bulgaria is to be recognised as predominant. We cannot however be excluded altogether, and we dislike being treated by your subordinates in these countries so differently from the kind manner in which we at the top are always treated by you. In Greece we seek nothing but her friendship, which is of long duration, and desire only her independence and integrity. But we have no intention of trying to decide whether she is to be a monarchy or a republic. Our only policy there is to restore matters to normal as quickly as possible and to hold fair and free elections, I hope within the next four or five months. These elections will decide the régime and later on the constitution. The will of the people expressed in conditions of freedom and universal franchise must prevail; that is our root principle. If the Greeks were to decide for a republic it would not affect our relations with them. We will use our influence with the Greek Government to invite Russian representatives to come and see freely what is going on in Greece, and at the elections I hope that there will be Russian, American and British Commissioners at large in the country to make sure that there is no intimidation or other frustration of freedom of choice of the people between the different parties who will be contending. After that our work in Greece may well be done.
9. As to Belgium we have no conditions to demand though naturally we should get disturbed if they started putting up V-weapons, etc., pointed at us, and we hope they will, under whatever form of government they adopt by popular decision, come into a general system of resistance to prevent Germany striking westward. Belgium, like Poland, is a theatre of war and corridor of communication, and everyone must recognise the force of these considerations, without which the great armies cannot operate.
10. As to your paragraph 3, it is quite true that about Poland we have reached a definite line of action with the Americans. This is because we agree naturally upon the subject, and both sincerely feel we have been rather ill-treated about the way the matter has been handled since the Crimea Conference. No doubt these things seem different when looked at from the opposite point of view. But we are absolutely agreed that the pledge we have given for a sovereign, free, independent Poland with a government fully and adequately representing all democratic elements among the Poles, is for us a matter of honour and duty. I do not think there is the slightest chance of any change in the attitude of our two Powers, and when we are agreed we are bound to say so. After all, we have joined with you, largely on my original initiative early in 1944, in proclaiming the Polish- Russian frontier which you desired, namely the Curzon Line.72 including Lvov for Russia. We think you ought to meet us with regard to the other half of the policy which you equally with us have proclaimed, namely the sovereignty, independence and freedom of Poland, provided it is a Poland friendly to Russia. Therefore, His Majesty’s Government cannot accept a government on the Yugoslav precedent in which there would be four representatives of the present Warsaw Provisional Government to every one representing the other democratic elements. There ought to be a proper balance and a proper distribution of important posts in the government; this result should be reached as we agreed at the Crimea by discussing the matter with true representatives of all different Polish elements which are not fundamentally anti-Russian.
11. Also difficulties arise at the present moment because all sorts of stories are brought out of Poland which are eagerly listened to by many members of Parliament and which at any time may be violently raised in Parliament or the press in spite of my deprecating such action and on which M. Molotov will vouchsafe us no information at all in spite of repeated requests. For instance, there is talk of fifteen Poles who were said to have met the Russian authorities for discussion over four weeks ago, and of M. Witos about whom there has been a similar, but more recent report; and there are many other statements of deportations, etc. How can I contradict such complaints when you give me no information whatever and when neither I nor the Americans are allowed to send anyone into Poland to find out for themselves the true state of affairs? There is no part of our occupied or liberated territory into which you are not free to send delegations, and people do not see why you should have any reasons against similar visits by British delegations to foreign countries liberated by you.
12. There is not much comfort in looking into a future where you and the countries you dominate, plus the Communist parties in many other States, are all drawn up on one side, and those who rally to the English-speaking nations and their Associates or Dominions are on the other. It is quite obvious that their quarrel would tear the world to pieces and that all of us leading men on either side who had anything to do with that would be shamed before history. Even embarking on a long period of suspicions, of abuse and counter-abuse and of opposing policies would be a disaster hampering the great developments of world prosperity for the masses which are attainable only by our trinity. I hope there is no word or phrase in this outpouring of my heart to you which unwittingly gives offence. If so, let me know. But do not, I beg you, my friend Stalin, underrate the divergencies which are opening about matters which you may think are small to us but which are symbolic of the way the English-speaking democracies look at life.
April 28th, 1945
I have just received a telegram from Field Marshal Alexander that after a meeting at which your officers were present the Germans accepted the terms of unconditional surrender presented to them and are sending the material clauses of the instrument of surrender to General von Vietinghoff, with a request to name the date and hour at which conclusion of hostilities can be made effective. It looks therefore as if the entire German forces south of the Alps will almost immediately surrender.
April 29th, 1945
Your message of April 28 received.
I have nothing against your proposal for publishing, on behalf of the Four Powers, a declaration establishing the defeat and unconditional surrender of Germany, in the event of Germany being left without a normally functioning centralised authority.
The Soviet representative on the European Advisory Commission94 has been instructed to insert in the preamble to the declaration, the draft of which has been submitted by the British delegation, an amendment laying down the principle of unconditional surrender for the armed forces of Germany.
April 30, 1945
1. I have today received the following from Field Marshal Alexander. We must rejoice together at this great surrender.
“Lieutenant-Colonel von Schweinitz and Major Wenner, representing General von Vietinghoff, German Commander-in- Chief, South-west, and S. S. General Wolff, Supreme Commander of the S.S. and Police and Plenipotentiary General of the German Wehrmacht in Italy, respectively signed the terms of surrender at 14.00 British Time today (April 29th). Von Vietinghoff ’s and Wolff ’s Command includes all Italy (except the portion of Venezia Giulia east of Isonzo River), Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg Provinces and part of Carinthia.
“Hostilities are to cease at 12.00 hours Greenwich Mean Time, May 2nd.
“Von Schweinitz pointed out at the signing ceremony that he had exceeded in some respects the powers granted to him by von Vietinghoff, but I do not think this will affect the results.
“Von Schweinitz and Werner are now returning to von Vietinghoff ’s Headquarters at Bolzano via Switzerland. They should arrive during tomorrow April 30th. On arrival direct wireless contact will be established between my Headquarters and von Vietinghoff ’s. General Kislenko and one other Russian officer were present. It is important that no publicity whatsoever is permitted until the terms become effective.”
2. President Truman has suggested that the announcement of this surrender be made first by Field Marshal Alexander. As your officers were present, I have given instructions to Field Marshal Alexander accordingly.
30th April, 1945
I have received your message of April 27 concerning the order of the occupation of Germany and Austria by the Red Army and the Anglo-American armed forces.
For my part I want to tell you that the Soviet Supreme Command has given instructions that whenever Soviet troops contact Allied troops the Soviet Command is immediately to get in touch with the Command of the U.S. or British troops, so that they, by agreement between themselves, (1) establish a temporary tactical demarcation line and (2) take steps to crush within the bounds of their temporary demarcation line all resistance by German troops.
May 2, 1945
Your messages of April 29 and 30 concerning the unconditional surrender by the Germans in Italy have reached me.
Thanks for the information. I have no objection to the announcement of the German surrender in Italy being made first by Field Marshal Alexander.
May 2, 1945
I am in receipt of your message of April 28 on the Polish question.
I must say that I cannot accept the arguments put forward in support of your stand.
You are inclined to regard the proposal that the Yugoslav precedent112 be accepted as a model for Poland as renunciation of the procedure agreed between us for setting up a Polish Government of National Unity. I cannot agree with you. I think that the Yugoslav precedent is important first of all because it points the way to the most suitable and practical solution of the problem of forming a new United Government based on the governmental agency at present exercising state power in the country.
It is quite obvious that, unless the Provisional Government now functioning in Poland and enjoying the support and trust of a majority of the Polish people is taken as a basis for a future Government of National Unity, it will be impossible to count on successful fulfilment of the task set by the Crimea Conference.
2. I cannot subscribe to that part of your considerations on Greece where you suggest three-Power control over the elections. Such control over the people of an allied country would of necessity be assessed as an affront and gross interference in their internal affairs. Such control is out of place in relation to former satellite countries which subsequently declared war on Germany and ranged themselves with the Allies, as demonstrated by electoral experience, for example, in Finland, where the election was held without outside interference and yielded positive results.
Your comments on Belgium and Poland as war theatres and communication corridors are perfectly justified. As regards Poland, it is her being a neighbour of the Soviet Union that makes it essential for a future Polish Government to seek in practice friendly relations between Poland and the U.S.S.R., which is also in the interests of the other freedom-loving nations. This circumstance, too, speaks for the Yugoslav precedent. The United Nations are interested in constant and durable friendship between the U.S.S.R. and Poland. Hence we cannot acquiesce in the attempts that are being made to involve in the forming of a future Polish Government people who, to quote you, “are not fundamentally anti-Russian,” or to bar from participation only those who, in your view, are “extreme people unfriendly to Russia.” Neither one nor the other can satisfy us. We insist, and shall continue to insist, that only people who have demonstrated by deeds their friendly attitude to the Soviet Union, who are willing honestly and sincerely to cooperate with the Soviet state, should be consulted on the formation of a future Polish Government.
3. I must deal specially with paragraph 11 of your message concerning the difficulties arising from rumours about the arrest of 15 Poles, about deportations, etc.
I am able to inform you that the group of Poles mentioned by you comprises 16, not 15, persons. The group is headed by the well-known General Okulicki. The British information services maintain a deliberate silence, in view of his particular odiousness, about this Polish General, who, along with the 15 other Poles, has “disappeared.” But we have no intention of being silent about the matter. This group of 16, led by General Okulicki, has been arrested by the military authorities of the Soviet front and is undergoing investigation in Moscow. General Okulicki’s group, in the first place General Okulicki himself, is charged with preparing and carrying out subversive activities behind the lines of the Red Army, subversion which has taken a toll of over a hundred Red Army soldiers and officers; the group is also charged with keeping illegal radio-transmitters in the rear of our troops, which is prohibited by law. All, or part of them – depending on the outcome of the investigation – will be tried. That is how the Red Army is forced to protect its units and its rear-lines against saboteurs and those who create disorder.
The British information services are spreading rumours about the murder or shooting of Poles in Siedlce. The report is a fabrication from beginning to end and has, apparently, been concocted by Arciszewski’s agents.
4. It appears from your message that you are unwilling to consider the Polish Provisional Government as a basis for a future Government of National Unity, or to accord it the place in that Government to which it is entitled. I must say frankly that this attitude precludes the possibility of an agreed decision on the Polish question.
May 4, 1945
President Truman tells me that he has sent you a message asking that we should synchronise our announcements about V.-E. Day. I am in full agreement with this.
2. The best hour for me would be noon, and I should only take three or four minutes to announce the victory over Germany. Making allowance for British Double Summer Time this would mean 1 p.m. with you. But it would require President Truman’s message to be delivered in Washington at 6 a. m., which would hardly be fair either to the President or people of the United States. I therefore propose to meet the American’s views and I have been fixing on 3 p.m. British Double Summer Time, which is 4 p.m. your present clock time. This would enable the President’s announcement to be made at 9 a.m. Washington Time.
3.W ill you let the President and me know as soon as possible whether you agree?
May 5th, 1945
Your message of May 5 about the time of announcing V.-E. Day reached me on May 6.
I agree to your proposal for 3 p.m. British Double Summer Time, which corresponds to 4 p.m. Moscow Time. I have also notified Mr Truman about this.
May 6, 1945
The President agrees to the broadcast of Victory in Europe Day at 9 a.m. Washington Time, which would mean 3 p.m. in London and 4 p.m. in Moscow. This is the same moment for all three of us owing to the world being round. I hope that you will cable him and me your agreement.
Target day is Tuesday, May 8th, but I will confirm during Monday, May 7th, whether Tuesday can be the day or whether it must be put off till Wednesday, May 9th.
May 7th, 1945
Our Military Mission will have shown you General Eisenhower’s telegram of May 7th. General Eisenhower says that it will be impossible to keep secret until Tuesday the news of the German surrender. Orders to German troops will be going out en clair and it will be physically impossible to prevent the news from spreading. In these circumstances he urges that the announcement by the Governments should be made at the earliest possible moment. I consider this change inevitable. I propose therefore that the announcement should be made here at 6 p.m. today, Monday, which means that a simultaneous announcement would be made in Moscow at 7 p.m. and in Washington at 12 noon. I earnestly hope that this arrangement will not be inconvenient to you. I understand from General Eisenhower that he is arranging with you for formal signature of the agreement made at 1.41 this morning to take place in Berlin on Tuesday.
May 7th, 1945
In view of the difficulty in concerting an earlier release time I have decided with much regret to postpone my broadcast announcement until the time originally proposed, i.e. 3 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, which corresponds to 4 p.m. Moscow Time.
A statement has been issued to the press intimating the time of the announcement tomorrow and stating that tomorrow, Tuesday, will be treated as Victory in Europe Day and will be regarded as a holiday. This was necessary on account of the masses of work-people who have to be considered. I have informed President Truman.
7th May, 1945
I have received your messages of May 7 regarding the announcement of Germany’s surrender.
The Supreme Command of the Red Army is not sure that the order of the German High Command on unconditional surrender will be executed by the German armies on the Eastern Front. We fear, therefore, that if the Government of the U.S.S.R. announces today the surrender of Germany we may find ourselves in an awkward position and mislead the Soviet public. It should be borne in mind that the German resistance on the Eastern Front is not slackening but, judging by intercepted radio messages, a considerable grouping of German troops have explicitly declared their intention to continue the resistance and to disobey Dönitz’s surrender order.
For this reason the Command of the Soviet troops would like to wait until the German surrender takes effect and to postpone the Government’s announcement of the surrender till May 9, 7 p.m. Moscow Time.
May 7, 1945
I have just received your message and have also seen the letter from General Antonov to General Eisenhower suggesting that announcement of German surrender should be postponed till May 9th, 1945. It will not be possible for me to put off my announcement for twenty-four hours as you suggest. Moreover Parliament will require to be informed of the signature at Rheims116 yesterday and formal ratification arranged to take place in Berlin today. I have spoken with General Eisenhower on the telephone and he assures me of his intention to cooperate to the full with all forces against the fanatical groups of the enemy who may disobey the orders they have received from their own Government and High Command. This would of course apply to all British and United States forces under General Eisenhower’s command. I shall make it clear in my announcement that there is still resistance in some places. This is not surprising considering the immense length of the front and disorganised condition of the German Government. I believe that President Truman is making his announcement at 9 a.m. American Time today and I hope that you will be able under the necessary reserves, to make yours as arranged.
8th May, 1945
Received on May 9, 1945
I send you heartfelt greetings on the splendid victory you have won in driving the invader from your soil and laying the Nazi tyrant low. It is my firm belief that on friendship and understanding between the British and Russian peoples depends the future of mankind. Here in our island home we are thinking today very often about you and we send you from the bottom of our hearts our wishes for your happiness and well-being and that after all the sacrifices and sufferings of the dark valley through which we have marched together we may also in loyal comradeship and sympathy walk in the sunshine of victorious peace. I have asked my wife to speak these few words of friendship and admiration to you all.
I salute you, the gallant British Armed Forces and people of Britain, and cordially congratulate you on the great victory over our common enemy, German imperialism. This historic victory has crowned the joint struggle waged by the Soviet, British and United States armies for the liberation of Europe.
I express confidence in continued successful and happy development in the post-war period of the friendly relations that have taken shape between our countries during the war.
I have instructed our Ambassador in London to convey to all of you my congratulations on the victory and my best wishes.
May 10, 1945
I have received your message of May 2nd about arrangements in Germany and Austria as our armies establish contact. I am glad to know instructions have been issued to Soviet commanders and this information has been passed on to General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Alexander.
12th May, 1945
I am sorry to say that a serious situation has arisen in the Italian province of Venezia Giulia.
2. It has always been recognised that the future of this province which was acquired by Italy after the last war will have to be decided at the peace settlement since its population is largely Yugoslav and only partly Italian. Until the peace settlement it would only be right and proper that the province should be placed under the military government of Field Marshal Alexander who will occupy and administer it on behalf of all the United Nations.
3. Before however this could be done Yugoslav regular forces entered the province and occupied not only the country districts where Yugoslav guerrillas had already been active but also entered the towns of Pola, Trieste, Gorizia and Monfalcone where the population is Italian. Field Marshal Alexander’s forces advancing from the west reached Trieste at about the same time and took the surrender of the German garrisons in Trieste and elsewhere.
4. Field Marshal Alexander thereupon proposed to Marshal Tito that Yugoslav troops and administration should be withdrawn from the western part of the province so as to enable Field Marshal Alexander to control the lines of communication by road and rail between Trieste and Austria. This was a very modest request. In this western portion of the province the Field Marshal proposed to set up an Allied military government including in particular the town of Trieste, it being clearly understood that this arrangement was made purely for the sake of military convenience and in no way prejudiced the ultimate settlement of the province, which His Majesty’s Government consider should be reserved for the peace table.
5. Field Marshal Alexander sent his Chief of Staff to Belgrade to discuss the proposal with Marshal Tito, but unfortunately the latter refused to accept it and insisted instead on extending his own military government within the Isonzo River, while merely offering Field Marshal Alexander facilities for communicating with Austria through Trieste.
6. His Majesty’s Government cannot agree to such an arrangement. Yugoslav occupation and administration of the whole province would be in contradiction with the principle, which we seek to maintain, that the fate of the province must not be decided by conquest and by one-sided establishment of sovereignty by military occupation.
7. As you know, Field Marshal Alexander is in command of both British and American troops and speaks therefore on behalf of both the British and United States Governments. In view of the unhelpful attitude adopted by Marshal Tito he has now referred the matter to these two Governments.
8. The latter having carefully considered the situation with which they are faced, have decided to make the following communication to the Yugoslav Government:
“The question of Venezia Giulia is only one of the many territorial problems in Europe to be solved in the general peace settlement. The doctrine of solution by conquest and by unilateral proclamation of sovereignty through occupation, the method used by the enemy with such tragic consequences, has been definitely and solemnly repudiated by the Allied Governments participating in this war. This agreement to work together to seek an orderly and just solution of territorial claims must be the cardinal principle for which the peoples of the United Nations have made their tremendous sacrifice to attain a just and lasting peace. It is one of the corner-stones on which their representatives with the approbation of world public opinion are now at work to build a system of world security.
“The plan of the Allied Military Government for Venezia Giulia was adopted precisely to achieve a peaceful and lasting solution of a problem of admitted complexities. It is designed to safeguard the interests of the peoples involved. Its implementation, while assuring to the military forces of the Allied Governments the means of carrying on their further tasks in enemy territory, would bring no prejudice to the Yugoslav claims in the final settlement.
“With these considerations in mind and in view of the previous general agreement of the Yugoslav Government to the plans proposed for this region my Government has instructed me to inform you that it expects the Yugoslav Government will immediately agree to control by the Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean of the region which must include Trieste, Gorizia, Monfalcone and Pola, the lines of communications through Gorizia and Monfalcone to Austria and an area sufficiently to the east of this line to permit proper administrative control, and will issue appropriate instructions to the Yugoslav forces in the region in question to cooperate with the Allied Commander in the establishment of a military government in that area under the authority of the Allied Commander.
“I have been instructed to report most urgently to my Government whether the Yugoslav Government is prepared immediately to acquiesce in the foregoing.”
9. In view of the serious issues at stake I have deemed it right to inform you at the earliest possible moment of the action that the British and American Governments have found it necessary to take as a result of the attitude adopted by the Yugoslav Government and army in Venezia Giulia.
15th May, 1945
I am surprised that despite the invitation you extended to Mr Harriman on April 13th the Soviet Government are still refusing to allow Allied representatives to proceed to Vienna. The fact to which Mr Vyshinsky has drawn attention in a letter to the British Chargé d’Affaires that the zones of occupation in Germany and Berlin were established on a tripartite basis by the European Advisory Commission94 before Allied troops entered German territory, seems to me to have no relevance to the refusal of the Soviet Government to allow representatives of their Allies to proceed to Vienna, which has been liberated by Soviet forces. I have no wish as suggested by Mr Vyshinsky to transfer the ultimate decision on the zones question from the European Advisory Commission to Vienna. But the Soviet representative on the European Advisory Commission having had occasion to alter his own recommendations to the Commission because of the discovery that part of the proposed Soviet zone had been destroyed, makes me feel that we too are fully entitled to have opportunity to examine on the spot factors bearing on our own proposals in the Commission.
2. In order therefore to facilitate a rapid conclusion of agreements on the European Advisory Commission, which you will, I am sure, agree to be very desirable, I request that the necessary instructions may be issued to Marshal Tolbukhin so that Allied representatives may fly at once to Vienna.
17th May, 1945
I am in receipt of your message of May 17 concerning the arrival of British representatives in Vienna in connection with establishing the occupation zones there.
The Soviet Government considers that the establishment of occupation zones in Vienna, as well as the examination of other matters relating to the situation in Austria, are wholly under the jurisdiction of the European Advisory Commission,94 as agreed between you, President Roosevelt and myself. Hence the Soviet Government could not agree to Allied military representatives coming to Vienna to establish occupation zones and settle other issues bearing on the situation in Austria. That is still our point of view. Judging from your message of May 17, you, too, do not find it possible to transfer settlement of the zone issue to Vienna. And since our views on the matter are identical, it can be anticipated that the issue of occupation zones in Austria and in Vienna will be settled by the European Advisory Commission in the near future.
As regards the visit of British representatives to Vienna to acquaint themselves with the condition of the city on the spot and to draft proposals for the occupation zones in Vienna, the Soviet Government has no objection to the visit. Accordingly, we are giving appropriate directions to Marshal Tolbukhin simultaneously with this. The British military representatives could arrive in Vienna towards the end of May or early June, when Marshal Tolbukhin, now on his way to Moscow, returns to Vienna.
May 18, 1945
Although your information message of May 15 did not call for reply, I think it proper to send you the text of the message I sent to President Truman in reply to his on the Yugoslav question.
May 22, 1945
Your message on the Istria-Trieste area reached me on May 21. A little earlier I received from you, through Mr Kennan, the text of a message on the same subject,117 transmitted by the U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade to the Yugoslav Government. Thank you for the information.
My views on the substance of the matter are as follows.
I think you are quite correct in saying that the matter is one of principle and that in relation to the Istria-Trieste territory no action should be permitted that does not take full account of Yugoslavia’s rightful claims and of the contribution made by the Yugoslav armed forces to the common Allied cause in fighting against Hitler Germany. It goes without saying that the future of that territory, the population of which is mostly Yugoslav, will have to be determined at the peace settlement. However, the point at issue at the moment is its temporary military occupation. In this respect account should be taken, I believe, of the fact that it was the allied Yugoslav troops who drove the German invaders out of the Istria-Trieste territory, thereby rendering an important service to the common Allied cause. By virtue of this circumstance alone, it would be unfair and would be a gratuitous insult to the Yugoslav Army and people to deny Yugoslavia the right to occupy a territory won from the enemy, after their great sacrifice in the struggle for the national rights of Yugoslavia and for the common cause of the United Nations.
The right solution of this problem, in my view, would be for the Yugoslav troops and administration now functioning in the Istria-Trieste area to stay there. At the same time the area should be placed under the control of the Allied Supreme Commander and a demarcation line established by mutual agreement between Field Marshal Alexander and Marshal Tito. If these proposals were accepted the problem of administration in the Istria-Trieste area would likewise find the right solution.
And since Yugoslavs are a majority in the territory and even during the German occupation a local Yugoslav administration, now enjoying the trust of the local population, began to function there, these things should be taken into account. The problem of administrative government of the territory could be properly solved by subordinating the existing Yugoslav civil administration to the Yugoslav Military Command.
I do hope that the misunderstandings over the status of the Istria-Trieste region, which have arisen between the U.S. and British Governments, on the one hand, and the Yugoslav Government, on the other, will be removed and a happy solution found.
May 22, 1945
I am glad to receive your message of May 18th. Directions will be given accordingly to our military representatives through Field Marshal Alexander who will communicate with Marshal Tolbukhin through the usual channels. I have no wish, as I said in my message of May 17th, to transfer the ultimate decision of the zones question from the European Advisory Commission94 to Vienna.
22nd May, 1945
According to information at the disposal of the Soviet Military and Naval Commands, Germany, in keeping with the instrument of surrender, has delivered her navy and merchant marine to the British and Americans. I must inform you that the Germans have refused to surrender a single warship or merchant vessel to the Soviet armed forces, and have sent the whole of their navy and merchant marine to be handed over to the Anglo-American armed forces.
In these circumstances the question naturally arises of assigning the Soviet Union its share of German warships and merchant vessels, as was done with regard to Italy. The Soviet Government holds that it can with good reason and in all fairness count on a minimum of one-third of Germany’s navy and merchant marine. In addition I think it necessary for the naval representatives of the U.S.S.R. to be enabled to acquaint themselves with all the materials pertaining to the surrender of Germany’s navy and merchant marine, and with their actual condition.
The Soviet Naval Command has appointed Admiral Levchenko and a group of assistants to take care of the matter.
I am sending a similar message to President Truman.
May 23, 1945
I am obliged to you for sending me a copy of your message to President Truman about the Yugoslav question.
24th May, 1945
I thank you for your telegram of May 23rd. It seems to me that these matters should form a general discussion which ought to take place between us and President Truman at the earliest possible date and I thank you for giving me this avowal of your views beforehand.
May 26th, 1945
Mr Hopkins, who has arrived in Moscow, on behalf of the President has suggested a meeting between the three of us in the immediate future. I think that a meeting is called for and that the most convenient place would be the vicinity of Berlin. That would probably be right politically as well.
Have you any objections?
May 27, 1945
More than eight months ago Roumania and Bulgaria broke with Hitler Germany, signed an armistice with the Allied countries and entered the war on the side of the Allies against Germany, assigning their armed forces. They thereby contributed to the defeat of Hitlerism and facilitated the victorious conclusion of the war in Europe. In view of this the Soviet Government deems it timely to resume diplomatic relations right now and exchange Ministers with the Roumanian and Bulgarian Governments.
The Soviet Government also considers it advisable to resume diplomatic relations with Finland, which, fulfilling the terms of the armistice agreement, is now taking the democratic way. I think that it will be possible a little later to adopt a similar decision with regard to Hungary.
I am sending a similar message to the President.
May 27, 1945
Your message of May 27th.
I shall be very glad to meet you and President Truman in what is left of Berlin in the very near future. I hope this might take place about the middle of June.
2. I have repeated this telegram to President Truman, who has informed me that this point was raised in your talks with Mr Hopkins.
All good wishes. I am very anxious to meet you soon.
May 29th, 1945
Your message of May 29 to hand.
A few hours after it arrived Mr Hopkins called and informed me that President Truman thought July 15 would be the most convenient date for the meeting of the three of us. If it suits you I have no objections.
May 30, 1945
I will be glad to come to Berlin with a British delegation, but I consider that July 15th, repeat July, the month after June, is much too late for the urgent questions that demand attention between us, and that we shall do an injury to world hopes and unity if we allow personal or national requirements to stand in the way of an earlier meeting. Although I am in the midst of a hotly-contested election, I would not consider my tasks here as comparable to a meeting between the three of us. I have proposed June 15th, repeat June, the month before July, but if that is not possible why not July 1st, July 2nd, or July 3rd?
I have sent a copy of this message to President Truman.
June 1st, 1945
With reference to your message on the desirability of fixing the meeting of the three of us for an earlier date than July 15 I should like to tell you again that July 15 was suggested by President Truman and that I have agreed. In view of the correspondence now being exchanged between you and the President on the matter, I refrain from suggesting a new date for our meeting.
June 5, 1945
Thank you for your message of June 5th. I have told President Truman that I will accept the date you and he have agreed on namely July 15th.
6th June, 1945
Thank you for your message of May 27th informing me that you think the time has come to resume diplomatic relations with Roumania, Bulgaria and Finland with the possibility that similar action can be taken with regard to Hungary in the near future.
2. We have ourselves been considering our future relations with these States, and we hope very shortly to put comprehensive proposals before you and the United States Government. I should hope that we might then discuss them when next we meet.
June 10th, 1945
Thank you for yours of June 10 about resuming diplomatic relations with Roumania, Bulgaria and Finland, as well as Hungary. I note that you will shortly let me have your proposals on the point. I still think that resumption of diplomatic relations with Roumania and Bulgaria, who together with Soviet troops helped defeat Hitler Germany, should not be delayed any longer. Nor is there any reason to defer resumption of diplomatic relations with Finland, which is fulfilling the armistice terms. As to Hungary, this can be done somewhat later.
June 14, 1945
As our conference beginning on July 15th at Berlin will probably be continuing before the British election results are made known, I think it well to bring with me Mr Attlee, the official leader of the Opposition, in order that full continuity of British policy may be assured. I have informed President Truman of my intention in similar terms.
2. I am looking forward very much to meeting you again.
June 14th, 1945
I suggest that we use the code word “Terminal” for the forthcoming Berlin Conference. Do you agree?
15th June, 1945
Yours of June 15 to hand. Agree with “Terminal.”118
June 15, 1945
I have seen a copy of President Truman’s message to you of June 14th regarding the withdrawal of all American troops into their own occupation zone beginning on June 21st in accordance with arrangements to be made between the respective commanders.119
2. I also am ready to issue instructions to Field Marshal Montgomery to make the necessary arrangements in conjunction with his colleagues for a similar withdrawal of British troops into their zone in Germany, for the simultaneous movement of Allied garrisons into Greater Berlin, and for provision of free movement for British forces by air, rail and road to and from the British zone to Berlin.
3. I entirely endorse what President Truman says about Austria. In particular I trust that you will issue instructions that Russian forces should begin to withdraw from that part of Austria which the European Advisory Commission94 has agreed in principle should form part of the British zone on the same date as movements begin in Germany.
June 15th, 1945
During the progress of our conference from July 15th onwards King George will be travelling in France and Germany inspecting his troops, and he will probably visit American Headquarters. He would like very much to have an opportunity of meeting you and some of the Soviet Generals. He would therefore like to come to Berlin on one day when we shall all be together. He would, of course, take no part in the business of the conference. He would stay in the British sector. He would be very glad if you invited him to come to luncheon with you at Soviet Headquarters. He would, in the evening, give a dinner in the British sector to which he would invite yourself and other Soviet leaders and also President Truman and members of his delegation. If desired by President Truman he would lunch with him on the next day. Thereafter he would resume inspection of his troops. During his visit he would, no doubt, confer British honours on British, Russian and American commanders agreed upon through the usual channels. Anyhow I hope it might be an occasion of goodwill and rejoicing which would be helpful in other directions.
2. I am telegraphing in this sense at this moment to President Truman. Pray let me know how you feel about this, as I have to advise His Majesty.
June 15th, 1945
I have received your message about the withdrawal of Allied forces into their respective zones in Germany120 and Austria.
I must say regretfully that difficulties have arisen in the matter of beginning the withdrawal of British and U.S. troops into their zones and the moving of British and U.S. troops into Berlin121 on June 21, as Marshal Zhukov and other military commanders have been summoned to the Supreme Soviet session which opens in Moscow on June 19, and to arrange a parade and take part in it on June 24. They will not be able to return to Berlin until June 28-30. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that mine-clearing operations in Berlin are not yet complete and are not likely to be so before the end of the month.
With regard to Austria I must repeat what I have said about calling the Soviet commanders to Moscow and about the time of their return. It is necessary, furthermore, that in the next few days the European Advisory Commission94 should complete its work on establishing the occupation zones in Austria and in Vienna, which has yet to be done.
In view of the foregoing I suggest that we put off the beginning of the withdrawal of the respective troops and the placing of them in their zones both in Germany and in Austria till July 1.
Besides, in respect of both Germany and Austria we should even now establish occupation zones for the French troops.
We shall take proper steps in Germany and Austria in keeping with the plan set out above.
I have written about this to President Truman as well.
June 17, 1945
It is most important that the exact venue of the forthcoming Conference should be settled as soon as possible since much preparatory work will be necessary.
2. I feel very strongly, and I am sure that you will agree, that on this occasion the Russian, American and British delegations should each have separate enclaves and that they should make their own arrangements for accommodation, food, transport, guards, communications, etc. I suggest in addition there should be a fourth place in which the three delegations could meet to confer. It would be much appreciated if the Soviet Government would make arrangements for this common meeting place.
3. President Truman is in entire agreement with the above proposal.
4. I should therefore be glad if you would let me know as soon as possible the area in the vicinity of Berlin that you propose for the Conference, and the precise localities within that area that it is proposed to allot to the Soviet, American and British delegations respectively. On receipt of your reply I would immediately instruct Field Marshal Montgomery to send advance parties to make all arrangements for the British delegation in consultation with Marshal Zhukov and General Eisenhower.
5. I hope that it will be borne in mind that we will require to use an air field as near as possible to our delegation area. We could if convenient share an air field with the Americans.
June 17th, 1945
Yours of June 14 to hand.
I fully appreciate the motives which make you think it necessary to include Mr Attlee in the British delegation.
June 18, 1945
I am in receipt of your message of June 17.
The delegations will be accommodated as anticipated in your message and as was done in the Crimea. Each delegation will have its own enclave with regulations in accordance with the wishes of the head of the delegation. All three delegations will be accommodated in the Babelsberg district, south-east of Potsdam. The Crown Prince’s palace in Potsdam, a fourth building, will be used for joint meetings.
2. Marshal Zhukov will arrive in Berlin on June 28. By that date the advance groups of Montgomery and Eisenhower should be on the spot to inspect and take over the Babelsberg premises. The Montgomery and Eisenhower groups will get all the information and explanations they need concerning the premises from General Kruglov, whom your people know from Yalta.
3. There is a good air field in Kladow, not far from where the delegations will stay, and landings can be made there.
June 18, 1945
Although the Yugoslav Government has accepted the U.S. and British Governments’ proposal concerning the Istria-Trieste area, the Trieste negotiations seem to be deadlocked. The main reason is that the representatives of the Allied Command in the Mediterranean refuse to entertain even the minimum wishes of the Yugoslavs, to whom credit is due for liberating the area from the German invaders, an area, moreover, where the Yugoslav population predominates. This situation cannot be considered satisfactory from the Allied point of view.
Being loath to aggravate relations, I have so far in my correspondence refrained from mentioning the conduct of Field Marshal Alexander, but now I must stress that in the course of the negotiations the haughty tone to which Field Marshal Alexander sometimes resorts in relation to the Yugoslavs is inadmissible. It is simply intolerable that Field Marshal Alexander has, in an official public address, permitted himself to compare Marshal Tito with Hitler and Mussolini. That is unfair and insulting to Yugoslavia.
The Soviet Government was also surprised by the peremptory tone of the statement which the Anglo-American representatives made to the Yugoslav Government on June 2. How can one expect to get lasting and positive results by using such methods?
The foregoing compels me to draw your attention to the situation. I still hope that as far as Trieste-Istria is concerned, the Yugoslavs’ rightful interests will be respected, particularly in view of the fact that on the main point the Yugoslavs have met the Allies half-way.
June 21, 1945
I had another conversation with the King yesterday and he suggested it might be better if he arrived at Berlin on the day arranged and simply gave a luncheon to you and President Truman, together with suitable guests, and then departed in the afternoon to continue his inspection. It occurred to me this might be more convenient to you. Please let me know exactly how you feel and be assured no offence will be caused in this.
22nd June, 1945
I suggest that following the precedent of the Crimea Conference the press should not be allowed at “Terminal”118 but that photographers should be permitted.
I have repeated this telegram to President Truman.
June 23rd, 1945
Your message of June 22 about the King visiting Berlin, and your previous message on the same subject, have reached me.
My plan did not envisage a meeting with the King, it had in view the conference of the three of us, on which you, the President and myself had exchanged messages earlier. However, if you think it necessary that I should meet the King, I have no objection to your plan.
June 23, 1945
Thank you very much for your message of June 21st. I hope as things have now been happily adjusted at Belgrade, we may discuss the position together at Berlin. Although I did not see the terms of Field Marshal Alexander’s statement before it was issued, I can assure you that he is entirely well disposed both to Russia and to Marshal Tito. I am sure that Marshal Tolbukhin would confirm this.
June 24th, 1945
I accept the proposal contained in your message of June 23.
June 27, 1945
Thank you so much for your most kind telegram about the proposal that the King should visit Berlin during the conference. I greatly appreciate your answer. However, the King now finds it impossible for him to make his tour in Germany at the present time, as so many detectives and special service officers will be required for the conference of three. He has now informed me of his wish to visit Ulster at this time. Therefore I must ask you to excuse me from pursuing the question which I mentioned to you earlier and to which I have your answer of June 23rd.
July 1st, 1945
As we are all agreed that the press should not be allowed at Terminal”118 I think it would be advantageous to announce this publicly in advance. This will avoid disappointment and sending to Berlin of high-powered press representatives. I suggest that we should each let it be known that they will not be allowed at “Terminal” and that all that will be issued will be official communiqués as may be decided from time to time.
I am sending a similar telegram to President Truman.
July 4th, 1945
Your message on Trieste-Istria and Yugoslavia received.
I have nothing against discussing this matter at the forthcoming meeting in Germany.
July 6, 1945
Your message of July 4 received.
I agree with you about warning the press that its representatives will not be admitted to “Terminal”.118
July 6, 1945
I have heard from the President that in conformity with our understanding he is announcing today that the press will not be allowed at “Terminal”118 and that all that will be issued from “Terminal” will be such official communiqués as may be decided upon from time to time.
The President tells me he is sending a similar message to you.
In anticipation of your concurrence we are making a similar announcement in London today.
July 6th, 1945
Received on July 12, 1945
Here is the letter which Ribbentrop has addressed to me and Mr Eden.122 I thought you might be interested in some of its contents, though it is extremely lengthy and dull.
Received on July 27, 1945
On resignation of Mr Churchill, His Majesty the King has entrusted me with the formation of a Government. You will I am sure realise that owing to the immediate and urgent tasks before me I shall be unable to return to Potsdam in time for the Plenary Meeting fixed for 5 p.m. on Friday, 27th July.
I plan to arrive in Potsdam in time for a meeting late on Saturday, 28th July, and should be much obliged if provisional arrangements could be made accordingly if this would suit your convenience. I greatly regret the inconvenience caused by this postponement.
I received your message on July 27. I have no objection to your proposal for holding our conference on Saturday, July 28, at any hour you like.
July 27, 1945
My dear Generalissimo,
You were good enough to tell me this afternoon that you would facilitate the early release from Soviet citizenship of a number of young women who have contracted marriages during the past three or four years with officers and men of the British forces serving in the Soviet Union and in a few cases with civilians.
I should like to express to you my warm thanks and to take this opportunity to tell you that you will bring happiness to some twenty young couples.
I propose, if you have no objections, to instruct Sir Archibald Clark Kerr to discuss the formalities of release with M. Molotov on their return to Moscow.
C. R. Attlee
Berlin, August 1, 1945
Your letter of August 1 received. I have nothing against the British Ambassador in Moscow discussing with V. M. Molotov the question of the Soviet citizens who married British subjects during the war leaving for Great Britain.
August 7, 1945
I send you my warm congratulations on the coming of peace and the complete victory of our united armies over the last of the aggressor nations.
We have now before us the prospect of building a new spirit amongst nations which will banish suspicion and fear of war and replace them with trust and cooperation, without which there can be little hope for the world. It is therefore my earnest hope that the friendship and understanding which has grown up between the U.S.S.R. and the United Kingdom during the war may endure and expand still further in the years of reconstruction, and that our treaty of alliance may be the basis of close and lasting collaboration between us.
August 17th, 1945
I thank you for your friendly greetings and congratulations on the victory over Japan and in turn congratulate you on the victory. The war against Germany and Japan and our common aims in the struggle against the aggressors have brought the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom closer and have promoted our cooperation, which for many years to come will be based on the treaty of alliance between us.
I am confident that this cooperation, tried in war and in the perils of war, will develop and grow stronger for the benefit of our peoples in the post-war as well.
August 20, 1945
A difference of opinion arose yesterday over the composition of the Council of Foreign Ministers for the purpose of its work on preparation of peace treaties. The discussion centred round the interpretation of the Berlin Protocol.
2. Mr Bevin maintained that the overriding provision was the decision to establish a Council composed of Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R., China, France and the United States of America to do the necessary preparatory work for the peace settlements (paragraphs A and A (1) of Part 1 of Protocol of the Berlin Conference), and that the Council as a whole is thus responsible for discharging all tasks remitted to it. He therefore maintained that the following decision reached by the Council on September 11th is correct:
“it was agreed that all five members of the Council should have the right to attend all meetings and take part in all discussions but that in matters concerning peace settlements members whose governments had not been signatories to the relevant terms of surrender should not be entitled to vote.”
3. I have spoken to Mr Eden who tells me that his understanding at the Potsdam Conference was that the Council was free to arrange its own procedure and that it was not bound within the limits of the exact terms of the Potsdam Agreement.
4. M. Molotov considers that the decision of the Council on September 11th was a violation of the Potsdam Agreement, that it should be rescinded and that in future the Council, for work on the peace treaties, should be composed only of Foreign Ministers of States signatory to Armistices and that whilst the United States of America would be added in the case of Finland, China would be excluded altogether and France from all treaties except the Italian. This does not accord with my understanding of the spirit and intention of the decision arrived at in Potsdam.
5. The decision of the Council on September 11th was agreed by the five Ministers present, including M. Molotov, and it accords with the understanding held in good faith by the United States and British Foreign Secretaries. It seems to me beyond question that the Council was entitled to adopt the above resolution (see paragraph A (4) (ii) Part 1 of Berlin Protocol). Moreover it cannot be held to depart in any way from the Potsdam decision as restriction of the vote means in effect that the Council will be composed for taking decisions as proposed. Since this question has been referred to me I should like to touch on a broader aspect of the matter. The decision of September 11th was adopted unanimously after discussion and I should view with grave misgiving the institution of a precedent calling in question decisions so taken and seeking to reverse them and therefore rejecting conclusions arrived at by the British Foreign Minister acting in faithful concert with the other Foreign Ministers. That I should fear would change altogether in an adverse sense the nature and indeed the value of the Council of Foreign Ministers and introduce an element of confusion into their proceedings. Indeed I doubt whether it would be possible to gain unanimous consent of the Council to a reversal of its earlier decision and any attempt to do so would clearly cause grave offence to France and China and be completely misunderstood here by public and Parliament to whom we reported in good faith that the Council would act as a Council of Five, a statement which was received with a sense of relief in this country. M. Molotov argues that under his proposals the work of the Council would be greatly accelerated. Even if this were so, which is by no means proved by the course of the discussions, it would certainly not counterbalance the damage to harmonious collaboration caused by the offence given. To my mind the success of the present Conference123 and indeed of the whole future of the Council and confidence in a just peace is at stake. Therefore I earnestly hope you will agree to authorise your delegation to adhere to the decision taken on September 11th. After all it is peace we are endeavouring to establish which is more important than procedure.
23rd September, 1945
Sent on September 24, 1945
Your message on the differences over the Council of Ministers has reached me.
V. M. Molotov’s stand on this issue derives from the necessity of faithfully carrying out the Berlin Conference decision, clearly formulated in paragraph 3 (b) of the decision on the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers decision of September 11 runs counter to the Berlin Conference decision mentioned above and is, therefore, inacceptable.
The point, then, is not Council of Ministers procedure, but whether the Council of Foreign Ministers has the right to revoke this or that provision of the Berlin Conference decisions. I think we shall depreciate the Berlin Conference decisions if we for a single moment grant the Council of Foreign Ministers the right to revoke them.
I do not think that rectification of the error committed – a rectification designed to reaffirm the decisions of the Berlin Conference, on which V. M. Molotov insists – can give rise to a negative attitude to the Conference or to the Council of Ministers, or offend anyone.
Received on October 30, 1945
I wish you to know that I am visiting President Truman shortly in Washington to discuss with him and the Prime Minister of Canada problems to which the discovery of atomic energy has given rise.
2. I trust that you are benefiting from your short respite from work.
Received on November 6, 1945
On this anniversary of the foundation of the Soviet State I send you my warmest greetings and congratulations. May the Soviet Union long flourish under your leadership and may the friendship of our people, based on our victory, upon the Anglo- Soviet alliance and upon our common membership of the United Nations Organisation, grow ever stronger in the coming year of peace.
I am in receipt of your message about the meeting with President Truman. Thank you for the communication.
November 8, 1945
Sent on November 15, 1945
Thank you for your congratulations on the 28th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet State.
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