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We further required the Soviets to agree that such deliveries should not commence for two years. In order to avoid our having to finance Italy's purchase of raw materials to furnish manufactured products to the Soviets, we also required agreement that the imported materials needed by Italy to make these deliveries should be supplied by the Soviets.
There remain some questions in the Italian treaty and other treaties on which we were unable to reach final agreement. As the Soviet Delegation took the position that they would not agree to the calling of the Peace Conference until the four governments had harmonized their views on fundamental questions, we assume that the Soviets do not regard these issues as fundamental and will accept the decisions. of the Peace Conference.
I admit that prior to our meeting in April I had little hope we would every reach agreement. After our April meeting I had less hope. Now the prospect for peace treaties with five countries is bright. Ninety days after ratification of those treaties occupation armies must be withdrawn except where they protect a line of communications. Then the people of the occupied states can live and breathe as free. people. We are on the road back to peace.
I have no desire to conceal from the American people the great struggle and tremendous difficulties the four governments had in harmonizing their views to the extent they did on these treaties. In the long run we shall have a much better chance to work out our problems if we and our Allies recognize the basic differences in our ideas, standards, and methods instead of trying to make ourselves believe that they do not exist or that they are less important than they really
While the Council made real progress toward peace with Italy and the ex-satellite states, it made no progress at all on the German and Austrian questions. Perhaps the time taken in discussion was not wholly lost, because our experience suggests that understandings, particularly with our Soviet friends, cannot be reached until we have gone through rounds of verbal combat, in which old complaints are repeated, past positions reaffirmed, differences accentuated, and crises provoked.
I am ready to believe it is difficult for them to understand us, just as it is difficult for us to understand them. But I sometimes think our Soviet friends fear we would think them weak and soft if they agreed without a struggle on anything we wanted, even though they wanted it too. Constant struggle, however, is not always helpful in a world longing for peace.
The Soviets started the German discussion with a prepared statement on the draft treaty we had proposed to guarantee the continued demilitarization and disarmament of Germany for at least a quarter of a century. The Soviet statement reveals how hard-pressed the Soviets were to find real objection to a treaty which gives them the assurance that Germany should never again become a threat to their security or to the security of Europe.
I do not believe that the Soviets realize the doubts and suspicions. which they have raised in the minds of those in other countries who want to be their friends by the aloofness, coolness, and hostility with which they have received America's offer to guarantee jointly the continued disarmament of Germany.
Had America been a party to such a guaranty after World War I, World War II would never have occurred, and the Soviet Union would never have been attacked and devastated.
Is German militarism going to be used as a pawn in a struggle between the East and the West, and is German militarism again to be given the chance to divide and conquer?
To that question there must be an unequivocal answer, for equivocation will increase unbearably the tensions and strains which men of good-will everywhere are striving to relieve.
The Soviets stated that our proposed treaty was inadequate; that it did not assure the de-Nazification and democratization of Germany; that it did not assure them reparations. But these are political matters which are already dealt with in the Potsdam Agreement.
Our military agreement of June 5, 1945 provided for the prompt disarmament of armed forces and demilitarization of war plants. By our 25-year treaty we propose that when Germany is once disarmed we shall see that she stays disarmed. We cannot understand Soviet opposition, especially as Generalissimo Stalin on last December 24th agreed with me in principle on this subject.
The Soviet representative stated he had reports that in the British zone the disarming of military forces was not being carried out. The British representative stated he had reports that in the Soviet zone German war plants were being operated.
We asked that the Control Commission investigate the accuracy of both reports. The British and the French agreed. But the Soviet Government would not agree to the investigation unless we limited it to the disarmament of armed forces.
I certainly made clear in our earlier meeting in Paris that the proposed guaranty of German demilitarization was only a part of the German settlement. I proposed then and I proposed again at our recent meeting that deputies be appointed to start work on the whole settlement which the Allies expect the Germans to accept. The British and French accepted the proposal. The Soviets rejected it. The Soviets suggested that we have a special session of the Council on the German problem. I agreed and insisted on setting a date. But from my experience with the Italian and Balkan settlements I fear that, until the Soviets are willing to have responsible deputies who are in close touch with the Foreign Ministers sit together continuously over a period of time and find out just what is the area of our agreement and our disagreement, the exchange of views between the Ministers on the complicated problems of the German settlement will not be sufficient.
It is no secret that the four-power control of Germany on a zonal basis is not working well from the point of view of any of the four powers. Under the Potsdam Agreement Germany was to be administered as an economic unit and central administrative departments were to be established for this purpose.
But in fact Germany is being administered in four closed compartments with the movement of people, trade, and ideas between the zones more narrowly restricted than between most independent countries.
In consequence none of the zones is self-supporting. Our zone costs our taxpayers $200,000,000 a year. And despite the heavy financial
burden being borne by ourselves and other occupying powers, the country is threatened with inflation and economic paralysis.
This condition must not continue. At Paris we proposed that the Control Commission be instructed to establish the central administrative agencies necessary to administer Germany as an economic unit, and to arrange for the exchange of products between the zones and for a balanced program of imports and exports.
The French Government, which had previously opposed the establishment of central administrative agencies, indicated their willingness to accept our proposal when we suggested that the Saar be excluded from the jurisdiction of these agencies. The British agreed.
But the Soviets said that they could not agree to the exclusion of the Saar without further study, and therefore no immediate progress was possible.
I made clear that we were unwilling to share responsibility for the economic paralysis and suffering we felt certain would follow a continuance of present conditions in Germany.
I then announced that as a last resort we were prepared to administer our zone in conjunction with any one or more of the other zones as an economic unit. I indicated that recently we had secured cooperation with the Soviet zone in one matter and with the British in another. I explained that our offer was made not in an effort to divide Germany but to bring it together.
I stated that whatever arrangements were made with one government would be open on equal terms to the governments of the other zones at any time they were prepared to participate.
The British stated that they would consider our proposal and indicated they hoped to agree. Neither the Soviets nor the French expressed any view.
Our military representative in Germany will this week be instructed to cooperate with any one or all of the three governments in essential administrative matters like finance, transportation, communication, trade, and industry. We will either secure economic cooperation between the zones or place the responsibility for the violation of the Potsdam Agreement.
Finally we came to a discussion of the Austrian problem. On June 1, I had circulated a proposed draft treaty recognizing the independence of Austria and providing for the withdrawal of the occupying troops. The British also had submitted a draft for consideration. asked that the Deputies be directed to prepare the treaty.
The Soviets submitted a counterproposal calling first for further action to insure the de-Nazification of Austria and the removal of a large number of displaced persons from Austria whom they regard as unfriendly to them.
The British and French were willing to join us in submitting to the Deputies the consideration of the treaty and in requesting the Control Council to investigate and report on the progress of de-Nazification and on the problem of the displaced persons. But the Soviets were unwilling to agree to the Deputies' taking up the Austrian treaty until more tangible action was taken on these other two problems. We recognize the seriousness of these problems and have been grappling with them. The problem of displaced persons is particularly difficult to solve. Where they are willing, we help them to
return to their homes. But many refuse to return to their own countries because they fear death or imprisonment for their political views. Our tradition of protecting political refugees is too precious for us to consent to the mass expulsion of these people from our zone. United Nations has a committee studying the problem, and we shall continue to do our part to try to find a solution, but it cannot be a cruel solution that will reflect discredit upon the American people.
It would be a tragedy to hold up the peace treaty with Austria because she is obliged to afford temporary refuge to these people until homes can be found for them in other countries.
We shall press on in session and out of session to restore conditions of peace to this war-sick world, to bring soldiers back to their homes and to their families, to beat our swords into plowshares. The war has left wounds, but we must work to heal those wounds.
We do not believe in a peace based on a desire for vengeance. We believe in justice, charity, and mercy. If we act with charity and mercy, those we fear as enemies may become our friends. We must trust to the healing processes of peace and pray that God in His mercy will give peace to the world.
21. PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE, JULY 29 TO OCTOBER 15,
Report by Secretary Byrnes, October 18, 19461
It is now 15 months since the decision was reached at Potsdam to set up the Council of Foreign Ministers to start the preparatory work on the peace treaties with Italy, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, and Finland.
Those months have been hard, difficult months.
At the Council of Foreign Ministers and at the Paris Peace Conference your representatives were a united and harmonious delegation acting under the guidance and instructions of the President of the United States. The difficult tasks were immeasurably lightened by the splendid work and cooperation of my associates, Senator Connally, Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Vandenberg, spokesman for the Republican Party in foreign affairs. In the Conference we have represented no political parties. We have been united in representing the United States.
After every great war the victorious allies have found it difficult to adjust their differences in the making of peace. Even before the fighting stopped, President Roosevelt warned us that
"The nearer we came to vanquishing our enemies the more we inevitably became conscious of differences among the allies."
That was why President Roosevelt was so insistent that the United Nations should be established before the peace settlements were made. It was inevitable that in the making of concrete peace settlements the Allies should discuss and debate the issues on which they disagree and not those on which they agree. It was also inevitable that such discussions should emphasize our differences.
Department of State publication 2682: Conference Series 90; Department of State Bulletin of October 27, 1946. See also, Paris Peace Conference: Selected Documents, Department of State publication 2868, Conference Series 103.
That is one reason I have continuously pressed to bring about agreements upon the peace settlements as rapidly as possible.
Leaving unsettled issues which should be settled only serves to increase tension among the Allies and increase unrest among the peoples affected.
We cannot think constructively on what will or will not contribute to the building of lasting peace and rising standards of life until we liquidate the war and give the peoples of this world a chance to live again under conditions of peace.
It is difficult to deal with the problems of a convalescing world until we get the patient off the operating table.
These treaties are not written as we would write them if we had a free hand. They are not written as other governments would write them if they had a free hand. But they are as good as we can hope to get by general agreement now or within any reasonable length of time. Our views on reparations are different from the views of countries whose territories were laid waste by military operations and whose peoples were brought under the yoke of alien armies and alien gestapos. The reparation payments are heavy-excessively heavy in some cases. But their burdens should not be unbearable if the peoples on which they are laid are freed from the burdens of sustaining occupying armies and are given a chance to rebuild their shattered economic lives.
For Europe with her mingled national economies there are no ideal boundary settlements.
The proposed settlement for the Trieste area was long and warmly debated. The Conference approved the proposal of the Council of Foreign Ministers that this area should become a free territory under the protection of the United Nations. The Conference also by a twothirds vote made recommendations for an international statute defining the responsibilities of the United Nations in relation to the free territory. Such recommendations are an expression of world opinion and cannot be arbitrarily disregarded.
Those recommendations of the Conference provide that the governor appointed by the Security Council should have sufficient authority to maintain public order and security, to preserve the independence and integrity of the territory, and to protect the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of all the inhabitants.
The minority proposal which was supported by the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and other Slav countries would have made a figurehead of the United Nations governor and would have given Yugoslavia virtual control of the customs, currency, and foreign affairs of the territory. Certainly we could not agree to that. It would make the territory a protectorate of Yugoslavia and would leave the United Nations powerless to prevent it becoming a battleground between warring groups. There must be no seizure of power in Trieste after this war as there was in Fiume after the last war.
The Yugoslav Delegation advised the Conference it would not sign the treaty recommended. My hope however is that after consideration Yugoslavia will realize that just as other states have made concessions she must make concessions in order to bring about the peace.
Although the Council of Foreign Ministers were unable to agree to any change in the Austrian-Italian frontier, the representatives of