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I wish to talk with you about the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers at Paris. On that mission I was accompanied by Senator Connally, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Vandenberg, a Republican member of that Committee. I cannot adequately express my appreciation of their wise counsel and loyal cooperation. Senator Connally was exceedingly helpful. Senator Vandenberg by his wholehearted cooperation let the world know that regardless of how much he and his party may disagree with the administration domestic issues, in our relations with foreign governments we have but one policy, the policy of the United States.
Building the foundations of a people's peace in a war-shattered world is a long, hard process. A people's peace cannot be won by flashing diplomatic triumphs. It requires patience and firmness, tolerance and understanding. We must not try to impose our will on others, but we must make sure that others do not get the impression they can impose their will on us.
The progress made towards peace at the Paris meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers was disappointingly small in light of the expectations we had when it was agreed at Moscow last December that the Council should resume the work which had been interrupted by our inability to agree at London last September.
But the progress towards peace at Paris was infinitely greater than I expected when I suggested that the Council should meet in Paris preparatory to the prompt calling of a peace conference. The Ministers did come to Paris seriously intending to pave the way for a peace conference. We differed considerably on a number of fundamental points; but we did come to know what those fundamental points were and the varying weight the different Ministers attached to those points.
We found that there were three basic issues outstanding on the Italian treaty: reparations, the colonies and the Italian-Yugoslav boundary, particularly as it concerns the Italian city of Trieste.
In summarizing the significance of these basic issues, I shall deliberately seek to avoid intensifying the conflict in viewpoints.
Our position on reparations is simple. To enable the Italian nation to live we have already advanced directly or indirectly $900,000,000. We should prefer in the interest of peace to forget about reparations. But we are willing to agree to limited reparations, provided these do not deprive Italy of resources necessary to enable her to subsist without external assistance.
If Italy requires help from others she will look to us. And we made it clear we are not going to advance millions of dollars to enable Italy to produce goods to be paid as reparations to any of our Allies.
The Soviet Government has insisted on reparations for itself of $100,000,000. We have pointed out certain sources from which reparations can be taken which would not seriously affect the Italian economy and which would yield substantially the amount which the Soviets claim. But the Soviet Government is unwilling to count what she will obtain from some of these sources as reparations.
For example, she insists that some of the naval ships surrendered by Italy to the navies of the United States and Britain be shared with her. She declares the ships are war booty. But war booty belongs to the nation capturing it. The Soviet Union has never shared with Allied nations any war booty captured by her. We are willing to give to her in lieu of reparations some of the naval ships surrendered to us. She demands the ships but refuses to consider them as a substitute for reparations. She insists upon being paid out of current production. We would have to finance the production, and therefore I refused to agree with the proposal.
Differences regarding the colonies have been narrowed but not resolved. The Soviet Government receded from its claim for a trusteeship of Tripolitania, first in favor of a joint Soviet-Italian trusteeship and later in favor of an Italian trusteeship as originally proposed by the French.
Our position has always been that the colonies should be placed under United Nations trusteeship, having as its objective the welfare of the inhabitants and their independence at the earliest practicable date. The Trusteeship Council should appoint a neutral administrator responsible to it, thus avoiding all possible rivalry between the powers. Libya and Eritrea should be granted independence in ten years.
It is open to question whether Italy is in an economic position to assume the responsibility of trusteeship and whether the return of the colonies to Italy as trustee takes sufficiently into account the wishes of the inhabitants. For these reasons it was with considerable reluctance that I indicated my willingness to yield to the French suggestion of an Italian trusteeship if that would bring about an agreement in the Council, and if it were agreed that a definite date would be fixed for the independence of Libya and Eritrea. But the French Government was unwilling to agree to a fixed date for independence.
The British felt that because of their promises during the war they could not agree to an Italian trusteeship for territory occupied by the Senussi tribes. For security reasons they also proposed a British trusteeship for Cyrenaica.
When no agreement was reached, I again urged the original American proposal for a United Nations trusteeship.
It was my impression that agreement on reparations and the colonies as well as on a host of other questions would not be long delayed if only a solution of the Trieste problem could be found. The Soviet Representative finally indicated that there would be no serious question on the cession of the Dodecanese Islands to Greece but he refused to approve it until the other territorial dispositions could be agreed upon.
The experts appointed to investigate the Italian-Yugoslav frontier did not differ as to the facts. But the Soviet Representative differs from the other members of the Council as to the conclusions to be
Drawn from the facts. It is his position that Venezia Giulia must be treated as an inseparable whole, and that so treated the claim of Yugoslavia to the area is superior to that of Italy. The other Representatives believe that wise statesmanship as well as the explicit decision taken by the Council at London requires a boundary line which will in the main be an ethnic line leaving a minimum of people -under alien rule.
It was wrong to give Italy the whole of Venezia Giulia after World War I. It would be equally wrong to give Yugoslavia the whole of Venezia Giulia now. It would transfer from Italy to Yugoslavia approximately 500,000 Italians.
The British and French experts proposed ethnic lines more favorable to Yugoslavia than our own. In an effort to reach agreement we stated we were willing to accept the British or French line or any other ethnic line that could be justified upon the basis of the London decision.
The American Delegation suggested a plebiscite for the area between the line proposed by the United States and the line proposed by the Soviet Union-but the Soviet Delegation would not consider a plebiscite except for the whole Venezia Giulia area. All of us are agreed that Yugoslavia and the countries of Central Europe which have for years used the port of Trieste shall have free access to Trieste at which there shall be a free port under international control. But we will continue to appeal to the Soviet Government and the Yugoslav Government not to press for a boundary line which will needlessly violate ethnic principles and will breed trouble in the future.
Agreement on the Balkan treaties is blocked principally by the inability of the Council to agree upon the economic clauses. Agreement on these provisions may have been delayed as part of a bargaining process, although so far the Soviet Government has stood out against the inclusion in the treaties of any provision which would promise freedom of commerce on the Danube, the gateway to Central Europe.
If the Soviet Government is opposed, as the United States Government is opposed, to the formation of exclusive political and economic blocs, they will not persist in their refusal to permit the countries of Central Europe to open their gates to the commerce of all nations.
It is regrettable that our outstanding differences on the treaties could not have been adjusted at our recent meeting in Paris. A short recess to allow a calm re-examination of our respective positions should expedite agreement when we reconvene. But when a world short of goods and short of food is crying for the return of conditions: of peace, we cannot indefinitely delay the making of peace and the withdrawal of troops from occupied areas. The four Allied governments cannot indefinitely delay the making of peace with countries which they have long ceased to fight, simply because they cannot agree among themselves on peace terms. The Council of Foreign Ministers was formed to facilitate and not obstruct the making of peace.
If a peace conference is not called this summer, the United States will feel obliged to request the General Assembly of the United Nations under Article 14 of the Charter to make recommendations with respect to the peace settlements. But I confidently expect a peace conference to be called this summer.
The situation which we will face in the coming months will be a test not only of others but of ourselves. There are now and there will be in the future many occasions which might impel us to say as we did after the last war that, much as we would like to cooperate in the restoration of Europe, cooperation as a practical matter is impossible without the sacrifice of our principles and that we must be content to cultivate and defend our own hemisphere.
But we must not forget that if we fail to cooperate in a peace which is indivisible we may again find that we will have to cooperate in a war which is world-wide. Whether we like it or not, we live in one world.
I am unwilling to admit that we cannot cooperate without sacrifice of our principles. If we are going to play our part we must take the offensive for peace as we took the offensive for war.
But the victories of peace like those of war require sacrifice not of principle but for principle. They require faith in ourselves and in our ideals. They require initiative, resourcefulness, and unrelenting effort. There is no iron curtain that the aggregate sentiments of mankind cannot penetrate.
The American Delegation at Paris did not hesitate to start the offensive for peace.
Security is the concern of every nation. But the effort of one nation to increase its security may threaten the security of other nations and cause them in turn to try to increase their own security. The quest for security may lead to less rather than more security in the world.
It is in truth extremely difficult to know to what extent the action of any nation may be ascribed to its quest for security or to its desire to expand. But some so-called security moves on the diplomatic checkerboard have not contributed to a general sense of security.
Many of these moves are said to originate in the fear of the revival of German military might.
On our way to Potsdam last summer President Truman and I discussed this situation and agreed that it should be American policy to disarm Germany and keep her disarmed and to do what we can to prevent a struggle between the powers for the control of Germany which might give Germany the chance to divide and conquer.
Those principles were stated in the Potsdam agreement. But President Truman and I thought at that time that the policy of disarming Germany and keeping Germany disarmed for a definite period of years should become a part of a solemn treaty between the principal Allied powers. Our policy should be to prevent war and not to wait until aggression gets out of hand.
It was not a new thought. It had been foreshadowed in the Moscow Declaration of 1943. Others had discussed it, but no one more forcefully than Senator Vandenberg in a speech in the Senate in January, 1945.
At the London meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers when the Soviet Foreign Secretary seemed greatly concerned about the Soviet security requirements in the Balkans, I suggested a twenty-five year four-power treaty, to keep Germany disarmed as a means of preventing any real threat to Soviet security. I explained that we contemplated a similar joint guaranty of the disarmament of Japan.
I again proposed such a treaty in a talk with Generalissimo Stalin on December 24 while I was in Moscow The Gerneralissimo said that if the United States made such a proposal he would wholeheartedly support it.
Later I also spoke to Mr. Bevin who advised me that he personally was most sympathetic to the suggestion.
In February I sent a working draft of the proposed treaty for German disarmament to the Soviet, British and the French Governments and the proposed treaty for Japanese disarmament to the Soviet, British and Chinese Governments. I invited their suggestions as to the draft.
I was informed by Mr. Bevin and M. Bidault that they favored the proposal in principle but would have a few suggestions to make. I did not hear from Mr. Molotov. Just before the Paris meeting I advised the Ministers I would like to discuss the proposal at Paris.
The Soviet Minister agreed to discuss it informally but stated without specification that there were serious objections to the draft.
At Paris the Soviet Representative stated he first wanted to know if Germany was being disarmed as contemplated by the Potsdam Agreement and he feared the treaty might delay immediate disarmament. I pointed out that our proposal could not fairly be so construed; that it did not lessen the obligation to disarm Germany now but provided machinery to keep Germany disarmed.
To remove any question as to our purpose I asked General Clay to request the Allied Control Council to appoint representatives with power to go into every zone and make a report as to the disarmament of Germany.
Later the Soviet Representative stated that when Generalissimo Stalin agreed with me to support the treaty I did not have a draft of it. He said that as it could not become effective until after a German treaty was signed, consideration of it could be delayed.
It Is our sincere hope that after the Soviet Union studies our proposal and comes to appreciate our earnest desire to see Germany disarmed and kept disarmed, the Soviet Union will support it wholeheartedly
While the making of the German peace settlement may take some time, we took the initiative at Paris to propose the immediate appointment of special deputies to prepare a peace settlement which could be considered at a general Allied conference, the date of which should be fixed by the Council at its next session.
While there is no German government yet which could accept the settlement, agreement among the Allies on the nature of the settlement is necessary to enable the Allies to know the goal towards which the Allied occupation and administration should be directed and the kind of German government which should be created to accept the settlement.
I also asked that the Special Deputies on Germany be instructed to report on several pressing problems, including boundary and economic questions. We cannot, for example, continue to carry out the reparation program if Germany is not to be administered as an economic unit as agreed upon at Potsdam. Whatever boundaries are agreed upon for Germany, she must be able to subsist without external assistance. We cannot subsidize Germany to enable her to pay reparations to other nations.
I regret that the Soviet Representative was not prepared to act upon my proposal for the appointment of Special Deputies without further study. I shall renew my proposal when the Council reconvenes.
Important as the German questions are and eager as we are to press for their speedy solution, we must not and cannot delay the peace settlements with other countries. At Potsdam it was agreed that the start should be made with Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania and Finland. While Germany must remain under occupation for some time, we cannot fail to do our part to rid the rest of Europe of the burden of the forces of occupation. There can be no recovery in Europe until we do.
It is particularly important that we press forward vigorously with the Austrian treaty. The Moscow Declaration on Austria contemplated that Austria should be regarded more as a liberated than as a satellite country. It was agreed at Potsdam that no reparations would be taken from her. She was one of the first countries in Central Europe to have free elections following the liberation. The continuance of foreign troops in Austria is an undue burden on her economy.
In February we asked that the Austrian treaty be prepared along with other treaties for satellite states. At Paris I insisted upon its preparation but the Soviet Representative declined to discuss the Austrian treaty or say when he would consider it.
The making of peace with Austria is essential to the restoration of anything like conditions of peace in Europe. As long as there is no peace with Austria and foreign troops remain on her soil, military communication lines will continue to be maintained in Rumania and Hungary and possibly Italy.
It was for that reason that the American Delegation proposed that the Council at its next meeting on June 15 should conclude as far as possible its work on the proposed drafts, but that the date for the peace conference should be definitely fixed for July l or July 15 and invitations should be issued at once.
It was our view that the Council had taken sufficient time to try to narrow their differences and at this stage with the principal issues defined, we should not deny to our other war partners their right to participate. The making of peace is not the exclusive prerogative of any four governments.
The Soviet Delegation insisted that invitations for the conference could not be sent until we had reconvened and agreed on all fundamental questions. Unanimous agreement was necessary and we were forced, therefore, to recess without agreement for the actual calling of the peace conference.
While the American Delegation will, when the Council reconvenes, make every effort to reach agreement on fundamental questions, it. will renew its demand for the calling of a peace conference on July l or July 15.
If we cannot have a peace conference until the four nations agree on every subject deemed fundamental by any one of them, that will give to one member of the Council the power to stop all efforts toward peace. It would be better for the Council to submit to the peace conference a single draft of each treaty and to set forth in this draft both the matters on which agreement had been reached and those on which agreement had not been reached. This would permit free discussion in the peace conference by all the nations that did the fighting, and world opinion will then point the way to a final settlement.
If peace could be made with Austria concurrently with the treaties now under consideration, there would be no necessity or excuse for a single soldier on foreign soil in Europe with the exception of Germany and a line of communication through Poland. European States would have a chance to live and breathe.
It is American policy to press unremittingly for the conclusion of peace settlements to make possible the withdrawal of troops from countries where they do not belong and where they impose Justified economic and social difficulties upon the people. And even without waiting for the conclusion of peace treaties it is American policy to press for the reduction of occupation troops in all countries.
Our policy of continuing to press for the return of conditions of peace, without regard to the making of formal peace treaties, finally yielded some constructive results in the case of Italy. For months we have been urging the revision of the Italian armistice so as to restore virtually complete sovereignty to Italy except in the colonies and in the controversial Venezia Giulia area. At Paris this revision was agreed to.
While the absence of a peace treaty still handicaps Italy in her effort to rebuild her broken economic and political life, the revised armistice gives the Italian Government the largest possible freedom that can be given to it without a formal peace treaty.
Our problems are serious, but I am not discouraged. Our offensive to secure peace has only begun. We are determined to work for political and economic peace in Europe, in the Near East and in the rest of the world. We shall work for it in the peace conferences and in the councils of the United Nations. The objective of our offensive is not territory or reparations for the United States. The objective is peace-not a peace founded upon vengeance or greed, but a just peace, the only peace that can endure.
After every great war the victors find the making of peace difficult and disappointing. It took the 13 American states more than 5 years after winning their independence to agree upon a constitution which promised anything like a durable peace among themselves.
To build world peace, bridging differences in ideas, values, codes of conduct, and deeply cherished aspirations, requires even greater tolerance, patience, and understanding. It requires the will and ability to seek the best, to accept the best obtainable, and then to make the best obtainable work. As war breeds war so peace can be made to breed peace.
That is why President Truman and I were determined at Potsdam
last summer two months after V-E Day to set up the Council of Foreign Ministers. We were eager to have the Council start the making of peace and to make peace as quickly as possible wherever possible.
It was obvious then that the making of peace with Germany would take time. There was no German government to deal with, and no agreement as to how soon we should permit a German government to function. It was equally obvious that a start could be made toward making peace with Italy and the states which were satellites of the Axis. They had governments. So we started there.
The whole world knows how great the struggle has been during the last 10 months to harmonize the views of the great powers so as to make possible the presentation of tentative drafts of treaties to a peace conference. That struggle has now been brought to a successful conclusion and the Peace Conference has been called to meet in Paris on July 29.
In addition to the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France China, and the United States, the states which are represented on Council of Foreign Ministers, the 16 other states which took an active part in the fighting against the European Axis will be represented at the Conference.
While the Council of Foreign Ministers has made some suggestions as to the organization and procedure of the Conference, the Conference will be free to determine its own organization and procedure.
It was proposed that the meetings of subcommittees should be secret. But on our objection this provision was eliminated. I gave notice that, so far as the United States is concerned, it will use its influence to open to the press the meetings of the Conference and of its committees.
The Conference will make only recommendations. But the members of the Council are committed, in drafting the final texts of the treaties, to consider the recommendations of the Conference and not to reject any of them arbitrarily.
It is my hope that the Council of Foreign Ministers will consider the recommendations and agree upon the final text so that the treaties may be signed by the delegates before the Conference adjourns.
The drafts of treaties agreed upon are not the nest which human wit could devise. But they are the best which human wit could get the four principal Allies to agree upon. They represent as satisfactory an approach to the return of peace as we could hope for in this imperfect and war-weary world.
The attitude of the United States in these matters represented not only the judgment of the President and the Secretary of State but also the judgment of Senator Connally and Senator Vandenberg, whose long experience in our foreign relations and intimate knowledge of the specific issues made their counsel invaluable.
The greatest struggle was over the Italian treaty, and the greatest issue involved in that treaty was the fate of Trieste and adjacent territory along the western shore of the Istrian Peninsula. The American Delegation, supported by the French and British, urged that Trieste and adjacent territory which are predominantly Italian should remain with Italy, and the predominantly Slavic hinterland should go to Yugoslavia.
The Soviet Union argued strongly that Trieste and adjacent territory should not be cut off from its immediate hinterland. While it admitted that a few cities and towns along the coast were predominantly Italian, it urged that the Istrian Peninsula should be regarded as a whole and that so regarded it was predominantly Yugoslav. This view was also urged by Czechoslovakia.
The Soviet Union further urged that greater consideration should be given to the Yugoslav claims than to the Italian claims because, while Italy as one of the Axis partners was responsible for bringing on the war against the Allies and for the loss of thousands of Allied lives, Yugoslavia had fought on the Allied side throughout the: war and suffered from the attacks of- Italy.
As neither the Soviets nor ourselves were prepared to-yield, we then proposed that the issue be left to the Peace Conference, but the Soviets would not agree.
This left us in a more serious dilemma than most people realize. We could make a separate peace with Italy, leaving her Trieste, but the Soviet and Yugoslav Governments and possibly others would not accept that treaty.
If we made a separate peace, the Soviet and Yugoslav Governments would undoubtedly demand that Italy make a separate peace with them, ceding Trieste to Yugoslavia. If Italy refused, it is not difficult to foresee the difficulties which would arise.
Even if no one of us presented a treaty to Italy, a disarmed Italy could hold Trieste against the Army of Yugoslavia only so long as our troops held it for her.
In an effort to break this deadlock the French informally suggested that Trieste and adjacent territory be separated from Italy but not ceded to Yugoslavia, and that its security and integrity be internationally guaranteed.
At first no one liked this proposal. But the more it was studied the more it seemed to offer a reasonable basis for agreement. It was recalled that before Italy entered World War I she had proposed that the Trieste area should become an autonomous state.
Our delegation insisted that the area should be protected by the United Nations and not by joint agreement between Italy and Yugoslavia as the Soviets proposed, and not by the four principal Allied powers as suggested by the French. Our proposals were accepted.
The proposal as finally agreed upon leaves Gorizia and Montefalcone with Italy in the north and includes within the Free Territory of Trieste the rest of the area west of the agreed ethnic line.
It is true that the Free Territory of Trieste is predominantly Italian in the city and predominantly Slav outside of the city. But neither the Italians nor the Slavs in this territory are placed under alien rule. They are given home rule. The people will elect their own Assembly and the Assembly will elect the officials to administer the laws. They will be subject to supervision only by the United Nations Security Council and by an impartial governor appointed by the Security Council.
The prosperity and welfare of Trieste are linked not only with Italy but with Yugoslavia and the countries of central Europe. It is the natural outlet of central Europe to the Mediterranean. The only railroads entering Trieste come through Yugoslavia and are controlled by Yugoslavia. Representatives of that Government asserted that if Trieste were given to Italy they would divert traffic to Flume or some other port in Yugoslavia.
Because of the bad feeling between the two peoples in that area, the control by the United Nations may prove to be the best means of preventing armed conflict and relieving tension.
If the area were joined either with Italy or Yugoslavia, its political and economic relations with the other would suffer. Its industries might be unable to attract the necessary capital, and labor might have difficulty finding employment.
If friendly relations are maintained between the Free Territory of Trieste and her neighbors, this little territory may enjoy greater prosperity and be a source of greater prosperity to its neighbors than; would be the case if it were joined: either with Italy or Yugoslavia.
I am convinced that the agreed solution to the problem of Trieste, is fair and workable if the peoples most concerned work together to make it so. Unless they work together, there can be no solution.
No final decision was reached on the disposition of the Italian colonies.
It will be recalled that originally the Soviets had requested the trusteeship of Tripolitania. They stated they wanted a base in the Mediterranean for their merchant ships. The French favored Italy as trustee for all the colonies, and at the April session the Soviets expressed their willingness to accept the French proposal. Except for certain reservations in respect of Cyrenaica, the British were willing to accept our proposal to have all the colonies placed under the trusteeship of the United Nations.
In view of the difficulty the Foreign Ministers were having in reaching agreement and the danger of the colonial question becoming a pawn in the settlement of other issues, I suggested that we defer a final decision.
It was finally agreed that the ultimate disposition of the colonies should be made by the four principal Allied powers in light of the wishes and welfare of the inhabitants and world peace and security, taking into account the views of other interested governments.
If the four principal Allied powers do not agree upon the disposition to be made of the colonies within a year after the coming into force of the treaty, they have bound themselves to make such disposition of them as may be recommended by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The four powers have further agreed to send commissions to the colonies to ascertain the wishes of the local population.
Pending the final disposition of the colonies, they will remain under the existing British military administration.
The thing I like about the agreement on the colonies is that the ultimate decision does not require unanimity. Failing agreement among the four powers, the decision rests with the United Nations.
The Soviets finally withdrew their objection to the cession of the Dodecanese to Greece and to the permanent demilitarization of the Islands.
It was, however, extremely difficult for us to reach agreement on reparations. The Soviets insisted that they were entitled to at least $100,000,000 reparations for the devastation of their territory by the Italian armies.
Moreover, under the armistice agreements with Hungary, Rumania, and Finland reparations payments of $300,000,000 from each had been imposed. The Soviets found it difficult to reconcile themselves to a more lenient reparations policy in the case of Italy.
We on the other hand were more deeply conscious of the help that Italy gave us in the last months of the war and opposed putting on her a reparations burden which would delay her economic recovery.
We had previously agreed that reparations could be taken in war plants not needed for Italian peacetime economy and could be paid out of Italian assets in Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. But the Soviets insisted that part of the reparations should come from current or future production of Italian factories and shipyards.
We reluctantly agreed that the Soviets could receive reparations up to $100,000,000. But we required them to agree that, in so far as reparations were taken from Italian production, the deliveries must be arranged so as to avoid interference with economic reconstruction.
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 these 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 are.
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 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 feet 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 follower 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. I 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. The 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.