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taken from the east, west and south. ... We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which will command the good will of the overwhelming mass of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations.
We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends in fact, in spirit and in purpose.
This declaration indicated, more than spelled out, the cooperation of the three allies—America, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The military con
clusions were not made public until Plans for March 24, 1947 when they were future action revealed by the United States. In adopted at brief, the Big Three agreed to supTehran port the partisans in Yugoslavia;
expressed the hope that Turkey could be induced to come into the war on the allied side before the end of the year; noted that the invasion of Western Europe would take place in May 1944 and that an operation against Southern France would be mounted in conjunction with OVERLORD;7 recorded the fact that the Soviets would launch an offensive against the Nazis to coincide with the Anglo-American operations; and planned that the military staffs would keep closely in touch with one another as well as develop cover plans to mystify the enemy.
As another outcome of the Tehran conference a significant declaration on Iran was issued.
THREE-POWER DECLARATION ON IRAN, TEHRAN, DECEMBER 1, 1943: ... The Callied) Governments recognize the assistance which Iran
has given . . . particularly by facilitatThe
ing the transportation of supplies from question of overseas to the Soviet .Union. . . . they Iran
are agreed that they will continue to
make available to Iran such economic assistance as may be possible. ... The (three) Governments ... are at one with the Government of Iran in their desire for the maintenance of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of
Iran. .. This declaration was of special importance after the war when the United Nations felt it necessary to direct the attention of the Soviet Union to its pledges under the 1943 Tehran declaration.
Before returning to the United States, President Roosevelt went again to Cairo where he and Mr. Churchill conferred with President Ismet Inonu of Turkey, December 4-6, 1943. The efforts of the
two western statesmen to bring TurThe second key into the war against Germany Cairo were unsuccessful. However, they Conference, received assurances of Turkish sup1943
port short of actual fighting. The
President also met briefly with King Feisal of Iraq aboard a cruiser anchored in the Great Bitter Lake which is a part of the Suez Canal waterway.
These interallied conferences of 1943 marked significant advances in the direction of better understanding and mutual cooperation among the
powers fighting the Axis partners. The
On the basis of the personal relasignificance of tionships developed at these conferallied wartime ences, the Big Three leaders learned conferences to treat with one another in the
direct fashion that made for frank interchange of views. Whether there was complete frankness on the part of all participants at each meeting will probably never be fully revealed. Mr. Churchill has given to the world his own interpretation of the wartime meetings. President Roosevelt's part in the wartime meetings has been told second hand many times. Marshal Stalin may have left a record of his impressions and actions but this is not likely to be published for a long time to come, if at all. We can only surmise from the bulk of official documents, semi-official and private recollections, shrewd guesses by observers and students of the subject, and partisan “exposures" or "apologies” that large matters were discussed and settled by these interallied leaders on a face-to-face basis to a degree hitherto believed impossible. And for historians of American foreign policy the difference between the public acceptance of President Roosevelt's frequent trips to far-off places and the clamorous criticism of President Wilson's journeys to Paris in 1918 and 1919 was a revealing commentary on the changed role of the United States in world affairs. (48)
6. The Yalta Agreements and
Victory in Europe The year 1944 was principally occupied with military events. After the allied invasion of France, President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill met again at Quebec, September 11-16. There plans for moves against Germany and Japan were further
* This was the international code name assigned to the invasion from the United Kingdom, tentatively aimed at Northern France.
developed. Simultaneously, designs for a postwar organization of states were under discussion, especially at the Dumbarton Oaks conference in the District of Columbia, August 21, to October 7, 1944. The significance of this conference will be noted in a later section of this publication.
As 1945 opened, victory over Germany seemed ony a matter of months, in spite of temporary allied reverses in Normandy. The Big Three
leaders met once more—this time The Yalta at Yalta, a Crimean resort which Conferences,
had been freed from Nazi occupa1945
tion in the great Russian counter
attack. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin conferred from February 4 to 11, 1945. Their conversations and their decisions were not all made public at the time. A general statement was issued at the close of the meetings. Several so-called “secret” agreements were not published until after the war. However, since they were all drawn up at the time of the Yalta talks, they are included here.
THE YALTA AGREEMENT, YALTA, FEBRUARY 11, 1945: ... The timing, scope and coordination of new and even more powerful blows to be
launched by our armies and air forces Postwar
into the heart of Germany from the
East, West, North and South have been Planning
fully agreed and planned in detail. ...
We have agreed on common policies and plans for enforcing the unconditional surrender terms which we shall impose together on Nazi Germany after German armed resistance has been finally crushed. ... Under the agreed plan, the forces of the three powers will each occupy a separate zone of Germany. through a central control commission consisting of the Supreme Commanders of the three powers with headquarters in Berlin. It has been agreed that France should be invited by the three powers, if she should so desire, to take over a zone of occupation, and to participate as a fourth member of the control commission. ... We are resolved upon the earliest possible establishment with allies of a general international organization to maintain peace and security. ... the Conference agreed that permanent machinery should be set up for regular consultation between the three Foreign Secretaries. They will, therefore, meet as often as may be necessary, probably about every three or four months. Only with the continuing and growing cooperation and understanding among
three countries and among all the peaceloving nations can the highest aspiration of humanity be realized.
held, the delegates of the United Kingdom and of the United States ... will support a proposal to admit to original membership two Soviet Socialist Republics, i.e., The Ukraine and White Russia. ... Each member of the Security Council of the world organization) should have one vote. .. Decisions
on all matters should be made by an affirmative vote of seven members, including the concurring votes
of the permanent members. Other matters discussed in the 1945 statement from the Crimean conference dealt with the
future of liberated Europe, the reThe future of organization of the provisional govEastern Europe ernment of Poland to include all
elements of the resistance movement, the insurance of early action to permit the holding of “free and unfettered" elections in Poland, the recognition of the Curzon line as the basis of Poland's eastern frontier, and certain recommendations relating to the constitution of orderly government in Yugoslavia.
In an effort to assure Russian participation in the war against Japan, President Roosevelt and
Prime Minister Churchill, acting Russia upon military intelligence informato join in tion made available to them by the war against their staffs that such participation Japan was necessary, entered into a series
of secret commitments with Marshal Stalin. These agreements were not made public until February 11, 1946, a year after they were signed at Yalta. The principal reason for secrecy was given as the need to prevent, if possible, a Japanese attack upon Russia while the war in Europe continued.
SECRET AGREEMENT ON SOVIET ENTRY INTO THE FAR EASTERN WAR, YALTA, FEBRUARY 11, 1945: The leaders of the three Great Powers . . . have agreed that in two or three months after Germany has surrendered and the war in Germany has terminated the Soviet Union shall enter into the war against Japan on the side of the Allies on condition that: ... The status quo in OuterMongolia . . . shall be preserved. ... the southern part of Sakhalin as well as the islands adjacent to it shall be returned to the Soviet Union. ... the commercial port of Dairen shall be internationalized
and the lease of Port Arthur as a naval base of the USSR restored. ... the Chinese-Eastern Railroad and the South Manchurian Railroad . . . shall be jointly operated by the establishment of a joint Soviet-Chinese Company, it being understood that the preeminent interests of the Soviet Union shall be
When the conference on world organization is
* See p. 98 above.
safeguarded and that China shall retain full sovereignty in Manchuria. ... The Kuril islands shall be handed over to the Soviet Union. It is understood that the agreement concerning Outer-Mongolia and the ports and railroads referred to above will require concurrence of Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek. The President will take measures in order to obtain this concurrence on advice from Marshal Stalin. ... For its part the Soviet Union expresses its readiness to conclude with the National Government of China a pact of friendship and alliance between the USSR and China in order to render assistance to China with its armed forces for the purpose of liberating China from the Japanese yoke. Another facet of the Yalta discussions which
was withheld from public knowlThe treatment edge for a time was the decision of postwar concerning German reparations and Germany
the dismemberment and occupation
of Germany. The agreement on reparations was published March 19, 1947.
SECRET AGREEMENT ON GERMAN REPARATIONS, YALTA, FEBRUARY 11, 1945: Germany must pay in kind for the losses caused by
her to the Allied nations in the course of Secret
the war. Reparations are to be received agreements
in the first instance by those countries
which have borne the main burden of on Germany
the war, have suffered the heaviest
losses and have organized victory over the enemy. . . . Reparation in kind is to be exacted from Germany in three following forms: (a) Removals within two years from the surrender ... to be carried out chiefly for the purpose of destroying the war potential of Germany. (b) Annual deliveries of goods from current production for a period to be fixed. (c) Use of German labor. ... The Soviet and American delegations agreed [that] the reparation commission should take in its initial studies as a basis for discussion the suggestion of the Soviet Government that the total sum of the reparation
. . should be 20 billion dollars and that 50 per cent of it should go to the Union of Soviet So alis Republics. The British delegation was of the opinion that, pending consideration of the reparation question by the Moscow reparation commission, no figure
of reparation should be mentioned. The agreements as to dismemberment and a supplementary definition of occupation policies were made public on March 25, 1947.
SECRET AGREEMENT ON DISMEMBERMENT OF GERMANY, YALTA, FEBRUARY 11, 1945: It was agreed that ... the Surrender Terms for Germany should be amended to read as follows: ... (the three powers) shall possess supreme authority with respect to Germany. In the exercise of such authority they will take such steps, including the complete disarmament, demilitarization and dis
memberment of Germany as they deem requisite for future peace and security. .
SECRET AGREEMENT ON FRENCH PARTICIPATION IN THE OCCUPATION OF GERMANY, YALTA, FEBRUARY 11, 1945: It was agreed that a zone in Germany ... should be allocated to France. This zone would be formed out of the British and American Zones. ... It was also agreed that the French Provisional Government should be invited to become a member of the Allied Control Council for Germany.
There has been considerable controversy, ever since 1945, as to the desirability and propriety of some of these agreements. Partisan critics of
American foreign policy as conThe continuing ducted by the late President Roosedebate over
velt have intimated that there may the Yalta have been other secret commitments agreements made at Yalta which have not yet
been published. Numerous individuals connected with the American State Department have denied that such additional secret agreements were made. As recently as March 2, 1953, Charles E. Bohlen, ambassador-designate to the Soviet Union, told a Senate committee questioning him that he did not hold with the belief that President Roosevelt was to blame for entering into these agreements with the Russians. Since Mr. Bohlen was Roosevelt's principal interpreter at Yalta and, while not in a policy-making capacity at the conferences, an authoritative observer of Russian wartime and postwar policies, his testimony on this point is particularly valuable.
In Mr. Bohlen's view the agreements on Poland were a recognition by Churchill and Roosevelt that the Russians were, at the time of Yalta, in actual control of Poland. Therefore the attempt was made to mitigate the effects of Russian control. According to Mr. Bohlen, “... the alternative was to ignore Eastern Europe. You could not afford not to make the attempt that was made at Yalta.” As for the secret agreement on Russian participation in the Far Eastern war, Mr. Bohlen said that in hindsight it appeared
several years project under way in the Department of State to publish all the documents in its files relative to the Yalta Conference. This publication was delayed, reportedly because of the unwillingness of Sir Winston Churchill to give the British government's consent to the inclusion of documents involving joint Anglo-American discussions and communications concerning the Yalta meetings. However, in response to demands from Republican Congressmen, the State Department reversed its policy of not issuing the documents and, on Mar. 16, 1955, published the series with some deletions for security
that such an agreement was unnecessary. He added that "the Yalta pact should not have been signed without the participation of the Chinese Nationalists." Nevertheless, he emphasized that “no President of the United States could have been unresponsive to a proposal that would bring the Soviet Union into the war in the Far East and might . save from 200,000 to 300,000 American lives.” He further pointed out that the Chinese Nationalists "later agreed to the territorial concessions made at Yalta, including Soviet rights in Manchuria.”10
This continuing debate over the Yalta agreements is not likely to be settled by legislative investigations or political candidates. In the circumstances of the date early 1945 even the Big Three leaders may not have been in possession of all the facts necessary to reach decisions of lasting value. It is probably true that Franklin Roosevelt was not as adroit and as alert as he had been earlier in the war. Perhaps his trust in Marshal Stalin was misplaced and his belief in his own ability to convince and cajole his two fellow statesmen was exaggerated. However erroneous the decisions reached at Yalta may have been, they
were, insofar as they were made President known, generally received by the Roosevelt American public in February 1945 defends
as important steps on the road to the Yalta the end of the war.(49) agreements President Roosevelt's defense of
the Yalta agreements made upon his return to Washington from the Crimea lacked much of his usual oratorical skill. This was his
last address to the Congress. On
April 12 Franklin Roosevelt died Death of
suddenly at Warm Springs, Georgia. President
Vice-President Harry S. Truman Roosevelt
was immediately sworn in as his
successor. Although the connection between the Yalta agreements and the Soviet repudiation of its 1941 non-aggression treaty with Japan on April 5, 1945, a year before its expiration date, was not readily apparent to the general public, it did foreshadow the Soviet Union's later fulfillment of the part of the Yalta pacts calling for Russian entry into the war against Japan.
On the diplomatic front, along with projects for the terms of armistice and peace settlements, work went forward on the creation of a postwar international organization. The San Francisco conference, scheduled for April 1945 by the Yalta conferees, was held as originally planned in spite of President Roosevelt's untimely death.
There remained the last military efforts in Europe. The allied armies thrust eastward through Germany and Austria. Other Anglo-American
and Italian units drove the Germans Allied victory from Italian soil. The Russians in Europe
moved westward aiming for Berlin
and central Germany. Benito Mussolini was captured and killed by anti-Fascist forces on April 29th. Adolf Hitler reportedly committed suicide in a Berlin shelter on May 1st. 11 The Nazi subordinates gave themselves up, killed themselves, or fled before the allied armies. Representatives of the provisional German government under Admiral Karl Doenitz surrendered unconditionally to the allies at Rheims on May 7 and on May 9 in Berlin. The long struggle against Nazi Germany had been brought to a victorious conclusion. Peace in Europe may not have been established by the defeat of Germany. But the allied world celebrated VE Day and believed that peace was within the grasp of those who had fought so long and so hard to win it.
7. The Potsdam Conference and the
Surrender of Japan
While the United States Senate was considering the Charter adopted at San Francisco in June 1945 for the establishment of the postwar inter
national organization, President New faces Truman, accompanied by a number at the of aides including James F. Byrnes, conference newly appointed Secretary of State, tables sailed aboard the USS Augusta for
Germany. At Potsdam, near Berlin, the President met with Mr. Churchill and Marshal Stalin for a series of discussions which opened on July 17. During the early days of the conference the British General Elections caused a change in Britain's representation at Potsdam. The Brit
10 Material on the views of Charles E. Bohlen taken from press dispatch in New York Times, March 3, 1953, p. 14.
11 The facts of the last hours of the Nazi Führer are not in agreement to the manner and time of his death. There seems no question but that he killed himself or commanded an associate to do the work.
ish Labour Party won a majority in the Parliament and its leader, Clement R. Atlee, Deputy Prime Minister in the wartime coalition cabinet, became Prime Minister. On July 28th he took Mr. Churchill's place as the chief British delegate at the Potsdam sessions. This meant that Josef Stalin was the only member of the original Big Three to sit throughout the final top-level conference during the war period.
The first accomplishment of the Potsdam conference was a proclamation on July 26th, defining the terms for the surrender of Japan. Since
the Soviet Union was not yet at war The Potsdam with Japan, this proclamation was Conference, signed by President Truman and 1945
Prime Minister Churchill. It was
concurred in by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek who communicated his assent to the document by message to President Truman.
TERMS 'FOR JAPANESE SURRENDER, POTSDAM, JULY 26, 1945: We ... have conferred and agree that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war.
.. (our military] forces ... are poised to strike the final blows Surrender
upon Japan. This military power is susterms
tained and inspired by the determination offered to
of all the Allied Nations to prosecute Japan
the war against Japan until she ceases to resist. ... The time has come for
Japan to decide. . . . Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay. ... There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world. . . . Until ... there is convincing proof that Japan's war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory ... shall be occupied. ... The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine. The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes. ... We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals. ... The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. ... Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those
which would enable her to re-arm for war. ... The occupying forces . . . shall be withdrawn . . . as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established
a peacefully inclined and responsible government. We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces. ... The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.
How literal was the meaning of this concluding sentence of the Potsdam declaration few of the participants in the conference could have imagined. The Japanese government failed to reply to the ultimatum issued by the allies at Potsdam, even though Japan had had a foretaste of what might come. Between July 10 and July 19, 1945, mass air attacks upon leading Japanese cities accomplished widespread destruction, and British and American naval fleets closed in on the remnants of the Japanese navy which had scurried for cover in home harbors. However, before the last momentous events of the Far Eastern war are mentioned, it is necessary to record another accomplishment of the Potsdam meeting.
As a concluding statement of the Big Three conferences a protocol of the proceedings was
summarized on August 1, 1945. This Establishment dealt, among other matters, with of the
the establishment of a Council of Council of Foreign Ministers. This Council was Foreign to hold its first meeting in London Ministers not later than September 1, 1945.
Membership was to be limited to the foreign ministers of the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, China, and France. The Council would have as a principal task the drawing up of peace treaties with Italy, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Finland, and preparing for the treaty of peace with Germany.
Further provisions related to the treatment of Germany during the initial control period. Every
vestige of Hitlerite Germany was to Provisions disappear and, moreover, no central for the control government for Germany was to be of Germany permitted. The German economic
structure was to be decentralized and in its reorganization primary emphasis would be given to the development of agriculture and peaceful domestic industries.
The section of the Potsdam agreement relating to German reparations was especially significant.