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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

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]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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