Third session of the Council of foreign ministers


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Third session of the Council of foreign ministers New York city, November 4 to December 12, 1946
Series Title:
United States Department of state. Publication 2747. Conference series 93
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1 p. l., 13 p. : ; 20 cm.
Council of Foreign Ministers
U.S. Govt. print. off.
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Subjects / Keywords:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Peace   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

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University of Florida
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Resource Identifier:
aleph - 004823123
oclc - 06829268
lccn - 47032797
lcc - D814.43.A2 T5
ddc - 940.53141
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Third Session of the

Council of



November 4 to December 12 1946


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Third Session of the
Council of Foreign Ministers
New York City, November
4 to December 12, 1946


THE third session of the Council of Foreign
Ministers which was held in New York City
at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel from November 4
to December 12, 1946, finally completed the texts
of the treaties of peace with Italy, Rumania, Bul-
garia, Hungary, and Finland. These texts have
now been published and will be presented on Feb-
ruary 10,1947, for signature by the representatives
of the states which participated in the Paris Peace
Conference and which were at war with the enemy
states in question. The United States was not at
war with Finland and consequently will not be
a party to the peace treaty with Finland. They
will enter into force immediately upon ratification


by the Allied states signatories to the respective
armistices and by France in the case of Italy. 1
Although it had been hoped that time would'per-
mit the Council of Foreign Ministers to draw up .
final texts of these treaties in Paris following the
close of the Paris Peace Conference, this task .
proved to be impossible in view of the forthcoming
meeting of the General Assembly of the United
Nations in New York, which certain of the Foreigq -
Ministers desired to attend in person. Secretary
of State Byrnes therefore invited the Council of
Foreign Ministers to meet in New York concur-
rently with the General Assembly in order to avoid
any further delay in the completion of these five
peace treaties. The purpose of this session of the
Council of Foreign Ministers, which was the third
devoted to the drafting of these peace treaties, was
to consider the recommendations of the Paris
Peace Conference and to endeavor to agree upon
the final texts.
Secretary Byrnes had since the April-May
meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers urged
the calling of the Paris Peace Conference, which
met from July 29 until October 15, believing that
all members of the United Nations who had par-
ticipated actively in military operations against
the European members of the Axis were entitled to
be given a full opportunity to make known their
views and to have those views taken into considera- .
tion. Furthermore, the members of the Council
of Foreign Ministers had solemnly agreed to "give -l
the fullest consideration" to and "not reject arbi-


trarily" the recommendations from this Confer-
ence. Secretary Byrnes had also pointed out on
a number of occasions that the recommendations
of this Conference should be of great assistance to
the Council of Foreign Ministers in finding solu-
tions to the issues on which they had been unable
to agree.
The Paris Peace Conference, through long dis-
cussion both in the commissions and in plenary
sessions, had given the fullest possible considera-
tion to every aspect of the peace treaties and had
adopted 59 recommendations by two-thirds ma-
jority and 48 recommendations by a simple ma-
jority. For the most part, these recommendations
related to questions which the Council of Foreign
Ministers, despite protracted negotiation and dis-
cussion, had left in disagreement or had not con-
sidered. Thus the third session of the Council of
Foreign Ministers in considering those issues which
had previously divided the Council and Confer-
ence had the advantage of formal recommenda-
tions on these and other issues by the 21 nations at
the Paris Conference. These recommendations
and especially those backed by two thirds of the
members of the Conference were a new factor in
the work of the Council of Foreign Ministers and
played a large if not determinant part in settling
the still unsolved issues in these treaties. In effect
the final texts of these treaties reveal that on the
majority of issues final agreement was based upon
the recommendations returned to the Council of
Foreign Ministers by the Paris Conference.

This agreement was particularly evident in re-
gard to the draft statute of the Free Territory of
Trieste. Although the Council of Foreign Min-
isters last July had reached an agreement on the
internationalization under the United Nations of
this territory and on its proposed boundaries, no
agreement had been reached by the special Com-
mission on Trieste appointed by the Council of
Foreign Ministers on the principles which were to
govern the temporary regime and on the perma-
nent statute for the area. Secretary Byrnes had
made it clear that the United States, having
agreed-contrary to its original position-to the
internationalization of this area, was determined
that the proposed Free Territory should be genu-
inely international in character and not a hotbed
of friction and dispute between Italy and Yugo-
slavia. In view of the tension existing in the area
and the rivalry between these two countries, the
United States believed it to be essential that the
representatives of the Security Council and the
United Nations who were to assume responsibility
for the integrity and security of this area must
have adequate powers to discharge these responsi-
bilities. As a neutral figure-representative of
the United Nations as a whole-the proposed Gov-
ernor for the Free Territory of Trieste would have
no interest except to safeguard the security of the
area and to promote the well-being and preserve
the rights and freedoms of the inhabitants. The
representatives of Great Britain and France had
held similar views. The Soviet representative,


however, had supported the claims of Yugoslavia
to a special and privileged position in this territory
and had opposed the granting to the Governor and
to the United Nations what the United States
regarded as absolutely essential powers for the
maintenance of the international character and
stability of the area. By a two-thirds vote the
Paris Conference recommended the adoption of a
French compromise proposal setting forth the
principles for the organization of the Free Terri-
tory of Trieste, wnich were in basic accord with
the views of the British and American Govern-
At the New York session of the Council of For-
eign Ministers the principles for the permanent
statute and provisional regime of the Free Terri-
tory of Trieste as recommended by the Conference
were incorporated in a final draft after protracted
negotiation. The statute as finally agreed upon has
been incorporated as an annex to the peace treaty
for Italy. If backed by an honest intention on the
part of the states directly concerned to implement
this statute as written, it provides the framework
for the creation and maintenance of a genuine in-
ternational regime for this troublesome and dis-
puted area.
After agreement on the statute for the Free
Territory of Trieste had been reached, the only
other questions of importance still in dispute re-
lated to reparations, other economic clauses, and
the question of freedom of navigation on the
Danube River.

The reparation problem proved to be one of the
most difficult. Marked difference in attitude
existed between countries which had been devas-
tated by one or another of these ex-enemy states
and which therefore felt entitled to the maximum
amounts possible, and between countries like the
United States which felt that the most important
thing was to build for a future in which the ex-
enemy states would have some prospect of eco-
nomic recovery. In the cases of Rumania, Hun-
gary, and Finland, the reparation terms as set
forth in their armistices provided for $300,000,000
of commodities at 1938 prices. Although the
United States argued at great length that these
three countries were not identical in the degree of
their aggression nor equal in their capacity to pay,
this Government was unable to obtain any change
in the established arrangements which had already
been implemented by bilateral agreements. In the
case of Bulgaria, where the reparation terms were
not fixed in the armistice, the situation was re-
versed, the Soviet Union arguing for an extremely
low reparation obligation. Actually, the figure of
$70,000,000 which was agreed on is not far out of
line when compared with the obligation of Ru-
mania, but it does throw into sharp contrast the
burden of reparations placed on Hungary and
The problem of reparation is much simpler in
the case of those four countries which were all
net exporters than in the case of Italy. In order
to find a practical means for payment by Italy,



the formula previously agreed upon for Italian
reparation to the Union of Soviet Socialist Re-
publics-namely, that the reparation-receiving
country must supply the required raw material-
was utilized in connection with the other re-
cipients. There were two particularly difficult
problems: that of the relative treatment of Greece
and Yugoslavia and that of whether Albania
should be included at all. The first problem was
resolved by giving Greece and Yugoslavia each
the same total amount of $150,000,000 from
Bulgaria and Italy. The second problem was
resolved by giving a smaller payment of $5,000,000
to Albania.
It is also important to note that the commercial-
policy provisions which this Government has
urged from the very start are now incorporated
in the treaties. These provisions establish, for a
period of 18 months, an obligation on the part of
the ex-enemy state not to discriminate among
nations in matters pertaining to commerce and
industry. This requirement is limited to 18
months in order to permit, the concluding of com-
mercial treaties. Furthermore, that period of
time should determine whether international
trade throughout the world will follow the liberal
principles outlined in the American proposals for
the expansion of world trade or whether various
countries themselves will revert to discriminatory
and restrictive-trade regulation. A similar pro-
vision with respect to aviation rights, including

the first two freedoms of the air, is included in
each treaty.
The question of including a clause expressing ac-
ceptance of the principle of free navigation on that
great European waterway in the peace treaties
with the ex-enemy states bordering on the Danube
had been the subject of long dispute and acri-
monious debate at previous sessions of the Council
of Foreign Ministers, particularly at the Paris
Peace Conference. In this case again the Con-
ference had voted by a two-thirds majority for the
inclusion in the appropriate treaties of some state-
ment of the important principle of free navigation.
It is gratifying to report that at the New York
meeting the Soviet objections on this score were
overcome, and the three Balkan treaties include
the following statement of principle: "Navigation
.on the Danube shall be free and open for the na-
tionals, vessels of commerce and goods of all States
on the footing of equality with regard to port and
navigation charges and conditions for merchant
shipping." In order to reduce this general prin-
ciple to specific operation, the Council of Foreign
Ministers has agreed to call a conference within
six months in which the United States, Great 'Bri-
tain, the Soviet Union, and France would partici-
pate, as well as the countries in the Danubian basin;
for the purpose of establishing an international
regime with respect to the Danube. The United
States has very little direct interest in the Danube
as such. The great concern of the United States.
has been to do all that it could to remove artificial

barriers and discriminatory practices from na-
tional trade regulations and specifically from this
vital waterway in southeastern Europe.
Other economic articles which dealt with such
problems as restitution, compensation for damages,
ex-enemy property in the United Nations, and the
reinstatement of debt obligations posed certain
difficulties of one kind or another; however, it is
believed that the interests of the United States
have been safeguarded so far as possible under the
After more than 15 months since the opening
session of the Council of Foreign Ministers set up
by the Potsdam Conference to draft in the first
instance treaties of peace with Italy and the for-
mer satellite states, the final texts of these treaties
have now been completed. It cannot be said that
the treaties themselves are entirely satisfactory,
and, as Secretary Byrnes said in discussing the
drafts presented to the Pence Conference, they are
"not the best which human wit could devise", but
they do represent the best which could be reached
by unanimous agreement among the members of
the Council of Foreign Ministers. When they
enter into effect, despite their imperfections, they
will be the first real step forward toward the return
to normal peacetime conditions for these countries.
They will bring to an end armistice regimes giving
to the occupying power almost unlimited control
over the national life of these countries, and they
will, in some cases, mean the complete withdrawal
of and, in others, major reduction in the occupy-

ing forces which, since the end of the war, have. '
imposed such heavy burdens on their national
economies. Finally, the treaties will permit Italy.
Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Finland to
reassume their responsibilities as sovereign states
in international affairs and will afford them-an
opportunity to qualify for membership in the
organization of the United Nations.


1 0 .:'



In addition to completing final texts of the
five peace treaties the Council of Foreign Min-
isters, as had been agreed in Paris, devoted several
meetings of its New York session to tl'e German
and Austrian questions. As early as May 1946
Secretary Byrnes had endeavored without suc-
cess to obtain agreement for the setting up of
special deputies to start the preliminary work for
the eventual pence settlement with Germany and
to prepare a draft settlement with Austria so that
without undue delay the Council of Foreign Min-
isters could take up these two questions vital to
the entire future of Europe. The Soviet Govern-
ment in May and again in July had been unwill-
ing to agree to these proposals and had main-
tained that further study was required before
deputies could be appointed to begin actual work
concerning either a future German settlement or
an Austrian treaty. At the New York session,
however, these objections were overcome, and the
following are the main points in the agenda
adopted for the next meeting of the Council of

Foreign Ministers -to be held in Moscow on
lMarch 10, 1947:
1. Consideration of the report from the Allied
Control Council;
2. Consideration of the form and scope of the
provisional political organization of Germany;
3. Preparation of a peace treaty with Germany,
taking into account the report to be received from
the deputies and also including consideration of
boundary questions, questions of the Ruhr and
Rhineland, and others;
4. United States draft disarmament and de-
militarization treaty and other measures for politi-
cal, economic, and military control of Germany;
5. Consideration of the report already sub-
mitted by the Committee of Coal Experts; and
6. Consideration of the report of the deputies
on the Austrian treaty.
The deputies appointed for discussion of Ger-
man questions, who are now meeting in London',
were instructed to: (a) hear the views of govern-
ments of neighboring Allied states and of other
Allied states who participated with their armed
forces in the common struggle against Germany
and whio wish to present their views on the German
problem;. (b) consider questions of procedure
with regard to the preparation of a peace treaty
for Germany; and (c) submit a report on the above
matters to the Council of Foreign Ministers by
February 25, 1947.
The deputies appointed for Austria were in-
structed to: (a) proceed with the preparation of


a treaty recognizing the independence of Austria,
taking into consideration the proposals already
submitted by the Governments of the United States
and the United Kingdom, as well as any further
proposals which may be submitted by any member
of the Council of Foreign Ministers; (b) hear the
views of the governments of neighboring Allied
states and of other Allied states who participated
with their armed forces in the common struggle
against Germany and who wish to present their
views on the Austrian problem; and (c) submit
proposals on the above matters to the Council of
Foreign Ministers by February 25, 1947.
Thus, in addition to the completion of the five
peace treaties which was its primary charge, the
Council of Foreign Ministers at its third session in
New York made the first real progress in the direc-
tion of the consideration of the even more im-
portant problems regarding the future of Germany
and Austria.



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