[Department of State Bulletin, September 27, 1941.]
Adherence to the principles set forth in the Roosevelt-Churchill Declarations by the governments allied with Great Britain was formally declared at the second meeting of the Inter-Allied Council, held in London on September 24, 1941.
The position of the Soviet Government was given by its Ambassador, Mr. Maisky, in the following terms: "The Soviet Union defends the right of every nation to the independence and territorial integrity of its country and its right to establish such a social order and to choose such a form of government as it deems opportune and necessary for the better promotion of its economic and cultural prosperity." He added that the Soviet Union advocates the necessity of collective action against aggressors and that "the Soviet Government proclaims its agreement with the fundamental principles of the declaration of Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill."
The following resolution was then adopted unanimously:
"The Governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Yugoslavia, and representatives of General de Gaulle, leader of Free Frenchmen, having taken note of the declaration recently drawn up by the President of the United States and by the Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill) on behalf of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, now make known their adherence to the common principles of policy set forth in that declaration and their intention to cooperate to the best of their ability in giving effect to them."
The Netherlands Foreign Minister, Dr. van Kleffens, voted for the resolution but wished to make clear his Government's position concerning the words "with due respect for their existing obligations" in point four of the declaration.* He declared: "My Government takes the reservation in point four to mean that just as no existing obligations are invalidated by that point, ipso facto no such obligations are thereby to be perpetuated." He continued: "Such existing obligations should not be perpetuated, even as exceptions, when it is clear that their continued operation would seriously impair or diminish the beneficial effect which is to accrue to all from the application of the general rule." He expressed the belief that there should be no important exceptions to the general rule of free access to trade and raw materials on the basis of equal opportunities for all, otherwise this fine principle would degenerate into a fine phrase as it did following the last war.
The meeting also considered the problem of the re-provisioning of Europe with foodstuffs and raw materials after the war. A resolution providing for the collaboration of the allied governments in dealing with post-war needs of European nations was introduced at the meeting and was generally accepted in speeches by the delegates, reservations being made by the Netherlands and Soviet representatives. The provisions agreed to are substantially as follows:
(1) That it is their [the allied governments and authorities] common aim to see that supplies of food and raw material should be made available for the post-war needs of their territories.
(2) That while each of the allied governments and authorities will be primarily responsible for making provision for the economic needs of its own territories, their respective plans should be coordinated in a spirit of collaboration for the successful achievement of the common aim.
(3) That they welcome the preparatory measures which have already been undertaken for this purpose and express their readiness to collaborate to the fullest extent of their power in pursuing the action required.
(4) That, accordingly, each of the allied governments and authorities should prepare estimates of the kinds and amounts of foodstuffs and raw materials required for the re-provisioning of its territories and the order of priority in which it would desire supplies to be delivered as soon as circumstances permit.
(5) That the re-provisioning of Europe will require the most efficient employment after the war of the shipping resources controlled by each government and of allied resources as a whole, as well as of those belonging to other European countries and that plans to this end should be worked out as soon as possible between the allied governments and authorities, in consultation as and when appropriate with other governments concerned.
(6) That, as a first step, a bureau should be established by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with which the allied governments and authorities would collaborate in framing estimates of their requirements and which, after collating and coordinating these estimates, would present proposals to a committee of allied representatives under the chairmanship of Sir Frederick Leith-Ross.
With the prior consent of the State Department, the British Foreign Minister read the following statement:
"The Government of the United States has been advised of the purpose of this meeting and acquainted with the terms of the draft note which has been distributed and of the draft resolution which is to be presented for consideration. It has requested my Government to state to this meeting its opinion that the undertaking is of great prospective usefulness. It understands that the present discussions will be of an exploratory nature and states that it stands ready at the appropriate time to consider in what respects it can cooperate in accomplishing the aims in view.
"It has pointed out that any plans that may be worked out are of great potential interest to the United States for various reasons. They might affect the current American defense effort. According to their substance, form, and method they might also affect commercial policies and relationships and even broader post-war arrangements. For these reasons it makes the request that it be kept fully advised regarding the course of these exploratory discussions and that it be consulted regarding any plans that might emerge therefrom."
Assurances were given by the British Foreign Minister that the United States Government will be kept fully informed of the discussions at and arising out of the meeting and of the work accomplished by the bureau and the Inter-Allied Council and that the United States would be consulted before any concrete plans are decided upon.
* Point four reads: "Fourth, they will endeavor, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity."