Foreign Relations of the United States, 1944, vol. 4: Europe, pp. 1005-15
Letter from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Roosevelt (1) (Oct. 10, 1944) | Letter from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Roosevelt (2) (Oct. 10, 1944) | Letter from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Roosevelt (Oct. 11, 1944) | Letter from the British Prime Minister (Churchill) to President Roosevelt (Oct. 11, 1944) | Letter from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Roosevelt (Oct. 12, 1944)
Personal for the President. Supplementing my 092352z from my talk with the Prime Minister yesterday I believe that the British conversations here are likely to take the following course.
It would be helpful to have your reaction to any of the above for my guidance.
October 10, 1944
Personal for the President. Stalin gave a lunch today to the Prime Minister lasting in all about 4 hours which combined some enthusiastic speeches at lunch and interesting private discussions afterward. As I sat next to Stalin I had an opportunity to talk with him and to hear his conversations with Churchill. These confirmed my feeling that if we can get the matters in which we are interested direct to him satisfactory agreements can be reached.
He paid sincere tribute to you personally, to the value of the collaboration between our three countries and to the importance of cementing our relations for the future. Churchill and Stalin had agreed last night to send you daily a joint telegram of their talks. Churchill prepared a draft of last night’s discussions which is now being sent you with certain modifications by Stalin. The most important change Stalin made related to the Balkans.
I have not the message before me but after the sentence that tells of their talks regarding the Balkan countries Churchill had included the words “having regard to our varying duty towards them.”
The implication of this phrase was clearly a recognition of a sphere of influence of Russia and Britain in the several countries. Stalin crossed this phrase out and Churchill agreed.
After lunch talking across Churchill I told Stalin that you would be very glad that he had eliminated this phrase as you believed that all questions should be dealt with by the three of us. Stalin said he was glad to hear this and reaching behind Churchill’s back shook my hand.
Molotov confessed to Eden that Tito had recently visited Moscow. Churchill thereupon expressed to Stalin his surprise at Tito’s visit without informing the British and explained that he would have heartily endorsed it if he had known in advance. Stalin replied cryptically that it was “a folly” on Tito’s part but that it was nationally characteristic of the Yugoslavs to be secretive and suspicious.
Stalin gave Churchill no explanation of why the Russians had concealed the visit from the British.
I am dining with Churchill tonight and he has asked me to give him the Chiefs of Staff’s cable to Deane on the Pacific War preparatory to his talk with Stalin on this subject. I am going to try to persuade him not to do anything that would jeopardize the agreement we have reached with Stalin regarding staff talks between Deane and the Red Army Staff.
October 11, 1944
Personal for the President. At dinner last night I got for the first time a more definite picture of what the Prime Minister and Eden have in mind working out with the Russians in regard to the Balkan countries and Hungary. In connection with this Churchill has been using the unpopular term “sphere of influence” but as Eden describes his objectives it is to work out a practical agreement on how the problems of each country are going to be dealt with and the relative responsibility of the Russians [and] the British. They stated that they have explained to Stalin and Molotov that they have no authority to commit us and that whatever is worked out will be submitted to us. They consider that on the basis of the armistice terms Russia will have a pretty free hand in Rumania since our representatives on the Control Commission have little or no authority. In connection with the Control Commission for Bulgaria and Hungary, Eden is attempting to get Molotov’s agreement to greater authority for the British and our representatives. As to Yugoslavia he is attempting to obtain Molotov’s agreement that the Russians should not take any independent action but should join with the British and ourselves in bringing the factions together and continue to work with us rather than independently as the Russians have in the past. Eden feels he has made some progress with Molotov.
As to Greece the Prime Minister feels he has already obtained Stalin’s approval to keep hands off and to use Soviet influence to prevent the Greek Communists from being a disruptive influence and to induce them to play a constructive part in a national government. Churchill and Eden both hope that you and Mr. Hull will be satisfied with the agreements that are worked out as they feel that unless something along these lines is done there will be political turmoil in these countries if not civil war, and the British will find most difficult situations to deal with. They put Poland in an entirely different category as the Polish question requires specific solution involving all of us. Mikolajczyk placed conditions on his coming to Moscow but after a firm message from Churchill he is now on his way.
For speed, security, and your convenience I have been using your Navy channel of communication for all reports both political and military of the Prime Minister’s visit here. May I assume that Secretary Hull is being kept informed?
October 11, 1944
795. We have found an extraordinary atmosphere of goodwill here, and we have sent you a joint message. You may be sure we shall handle everything so as not to commit you. The arrangements we have made for Averell [Harriman] are I think satisfactory to him and do not elude necessary intimate contacts which we must have to do any good. Of all these I shall give you a faithful report.
It is absolutely necessary we should try to get a common mind about the Balkans, so that we may prevent civil war breaking out in several countries when probably you and I would be in sympathy with one side and U. J. ["Uncle Joe" Stalin] with the other. I shall keep you informed of all this, and nothing will be settled except preliminary agreements between Britain and Russia, subject to further discussion and melting-down with you. On this basis I am sure you will not mind our trying to have a full meeting of minds with the Russians.
October 12, 1944
Personal for the President. In a series of conversations during and after dinner lasting in all 6 hours the following were the principal matters discussed: