278 Attlee to Curtin

Circular cablegram D650 LONDON, 13 September 1943, 4.40 p.m.


Received 14 September 1943

President Roosevelt recently communicated to Prime Minister informally text of a suggested Four Power declaration by the United States, United Kingdom, Russia and China in the terms set out in my immediately following telegram. [1] Discussion between the President and Prime Minister has proceeded on the basis of the possibility of the document being included on the agenda of the forthcoming Three Power meeting of foreign ministers referred to in my telegram D.623 of 6th September. [2] If this is decided upon, the procedure would, we expect, be that the United States Government would informally communicate the draft to us and to the Russians simultaneously before the conference takes place.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet here have been giving preliminary consideration to the document. In general, the Cabinet cordially welcome the declaration of this nature in view of the great advantages which it would have in proclaiming the interest of the United States in post-war system and in linking up Soviet Russia with United States and ourselves in a joint policy for future security.

We should be grateful if we could receive the earliest possible expression of your views on this proposal. In view of the importance of the issue we are naturally anxious to have the fullest possible consultation with the Dominions Governments in the matter before the United Kingdom representative deals with it at the proposed Three Power Conference.

On points of detail it has occurred to us that paragraphs 3 and 4 might read better as follows:-

'3. That they will take all measures deemed by them to be necessary to provide against any violation of the terms imposed upon the enemy.

4. That they recognise the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organisation for the maintenance of international peace and security based on the principle of the sovereign equality of nations.' It has further occurred to us that the few words of paragraph 4 in the United States draft might be an embarrassment in the future since they might encourage the smaller Powers to hope that in the future planning for Europe they will be treated as in all respects equivalent to the larger Powers. It is, of course, important to avoid the impression that the greater Powers would ride roughshod over the smaller Powers and this could, it seems to us, be achieved equally well by somewhat different wording such as:-

'. . . a general international organisation for the maintenance of inter national peace and security in which all peace loving nations, great and small, may play their just part.'

It is probable that these amendments will be put forward by us at the Three Power Meeting. Generally, we think it important to adhere as closely as possible to the wording proposed by the United States.

Very grateful if we could receive your views at the earliest possible date.

1 Document 279.

2 On file AA:A989, 43-44/970/53. It reported that, because it was difficult for Roosevelt to go to Moscow and impossible for Stalin to leave the Soviet Union, it was proposed to hold a meeting of the U.K., U.S. and Soviet Foreign Ministers in place of the Churchill-Roosevelt-Stalin meeting considered at the Quebec Conference. On 14 September Attlee advised Curtin that the meeting of Foreign Ministers would take place in Moscow as soon as possible (see cablegram D655 on the file cited in this note).

[AA:A989, 43/1/1]