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276 Officer to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 186 Moscow, 10 September 1943, 3.30 p.m.

My telegram No. 183. [1]

Canadian Minister and I saw Mr. Molotov [2] last night. The former
made his representations in the terms communicated to you in my
telegrams 178, 179 and 180. [3] I made a communication in the
terms of your telegram 128. [4]

Mr. Molotov listened to both representations and said that we
would receive, in due course, considered replies, but he wished to
say at once that the Soviet Government was fully informed of and
understood the International position of Canada and Australia.

Meanwhile he wished to put before us the point of view that
Ukrainian and Byelorussian etc.

people, who had suffered terrible wrongs, were deeply interested
in their representation on the commission dealing with wrongs of
which they had been the victims. Did we intend to deny them such
an opportunity? If so how was the Soviet Government to explain our
attitude to these people?
Mr. Wilgress and I pointed out that our instructions were to make
clear to the Soviet authorities the undoubted International status
of our respective countries.

Mr. Molotov explained again that that status was not questioned.

What the Soviet authorities were concerned with was representation
of the Ukrainian etc. people. Their advisers saw no legal
obstacles to representation of Federated Republics on such a
'judicial' commission. The Soviet Government felt that an
important matter of this character should not be dealt with
according to ordinary standards of International practice. [5]

Mr. Wilgress and I said that we had no instructions on this point.

Both our countries desired the wrongs of all nations to be fully
considered. The method by which the case of the people forming a
part of the U.S.S.R. as represented before the commission was a
matter for the Government of the U.S.S.R. to consider.

Mr. Molotov said that the Soviet Government endeavoured to deal
with that point in its reply to the United Kingdom Government. He
would supply us with copies so that we might send it to our
respective Governments for consideration. [6]


1 Dispatched 5 September. On file AA:A989, 43/735/580. It advised
that Evatt's instructions (see Document 269) had been received.

2 Soviet Foreign Minister.

3 Cablegrams 178-81 were in fact the four parts of a single
cablegram dispatched by Officer on 4 September (on the file cited
in note 1). They set out the terms of the aides-memoire which
Officer and Wilgress proposed to deliver to Molotov.

4 Document 269.

5 In a separate message dispatched later the same day Officer
commented that 'chief aim of the Soviet Government is to
demonstrate before other Governments the fact that the peoples of
this country have been subjected to far greater suffering than
those of any other United Nation.

Like the second front agitation they wish to build up credits
which they will be able to use effectively at the Peace Conference
to help them achieve their major objectives.' See cablegram 187 on
the file cited in note 1.

6 On 14 November Officer dispatched to Evatt a summary of a
written reply received from Molotov (see cablegram 247 on the file
cited in note 1). This argued that the republics within the Soviet
Union were no less independent than the British Dominions and that
the fact that they had so far chosen to delegate their right of
representation on international bodies to the Soviet Govt did not
preclude them from exercising it in the future. By then a meeting
of Allied representatives in London (which the Soviet Union
refused to attend) had agreed to the establishment of a United
Nations Commission on War Crimes (see Dominions Office cablegrams
D820 of 20 October and D819 of 21 October on file AA:A816,

[AA:A989, 43/735/580]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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