16 – 26 December 1945
Interim Meeting of Foreign Ministers at Moscow
After the failure of the London Conference earlier that year, Byrnes decided that the chances for a compromise solution of the Eastern European question would be greater if he could talk directly with Stalin. Therefore a meeting (labeled an “Interim Meeting” rather than a full-scale conference) convened in Moscow on December 16. Although it did not produce anything like a final settlement of the Eastern Europe question, there was an agreement regarding the procedure by which peace treaties would be drawn up for countries that had been Allied to Nazi Germany—Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, Italy, and Finland. It was agreed that a peace conference would be held in the following spring in Paris.

Serious differences remained over the nature of the governments of Bulgaria and Rumania, as Byrnes continued to believe that free elections might produce a government that was favorably disposed to the Soviet Union. As such he informed Stalin that the United States would only recognize the new regimes in these countries if they were broadened to include representatives from non-communist parties.

- Interim Meeting of Foreign Ministers, Moscow