Tehran Conference (EUREKA)

U.S. State Department (December 20, 1943)

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union to the President

Moscow, 20 December 1943

Personal and secret for the President from Harriman.

At the Tehran Conference you and the Prime Minister agreed that the Italian ships requested by the Soviets should be delivered on one February. Request that I be informed of the action taken to carry out this commitment as I shall undoubtedly be queried by Molotov at a meeting with him scheduled for Friday or Saturday to discuss unfinished business of Tehran.

U.S. State Department (December 21, 1943)

The President to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union

Washington, 21 December 1943


For Ambassador Harriman from the President. Repeated to Prime Minister

Referring to your message [Alusna Moscow 201719 December] it is my intention that Italian surrendered ships to a number of one-third of the total be allocated to the Soviet war effort as rapidly as they can be made available from their present employment in the Allied war effort commencing about February 1.

Title of ownership to be decided after the surrender of our common enemies.

I have requested combined Chiefs of Staff to issue necessary orders to General Eisenhower.


U.S. State Department (December 22, 1943)

740.00119 EW 1939/2036

The British Embassy to the Department of State

Washington, December 22, 1943

Aide Mémoire

The Tehran Conference considered the question of a joint declaration to the German people on the basis of unconditional surrender. Marshal Stalin informed President Roosevelt on November 29 that he thought this would be bad tactics vis-à-vis of Germany and suggested instead that the Allied Governments concerned should work out terms together and make them generally known to the German people.

Mr. Eden suggests that this matter should be dealt with as soon as possible by the European Advisory Commission. He hopes that, if the United States Government agree, they will send appropriate instructions in this sense to their representative on the Commission.

U.S. State Department (December 23, 1943)

740.00119 EW 1939/2057½

The President to the Secretary of State

Washington, December 23, 1943

Memorandum for the Secretary of State

This I think should be taken up by Winant with Prime Minister Churchill as soon as the latter gets back. It was not brought up in any way at Tehran in my presence.


The Ambassador in the Soviet Union to the President

Moscow, 23 December 1943

Personal and secret for the President from Harriman.

Referring to your cable to me USnavcom 211720 of December, I beg respectfully to mention that the request Stalin made to you and the Prime Minister at Tehran was for the fulfillment of the Soviet request for a specific number of Italian ships, namely one battleship, one cruiser, eight destroyers and four submarines for dispatch to North Russia and 40,000 tons displacement of mer[chant] shipping for use in the Black Sea.

After some discussion both you and the Prime Minister agreed that the Soviet request should be approved and that the delivery of the ships was to be made by the 1st of February. No mention was made at Moscow or Tehran of their getting additional ships up to one-third of those captured.

I believe Stalin expects all the ships he requested will be turned over to the Soviet Government’s control by February first.

If for any reason it is not now advisable to meet this commitment on time I recommend that the facts be given to the British Minister and myself in Moscow as promptly as possible with instructions that we go directly to Stalin to explain to him the situation in full. Under this method of handling I have no doubt that Stalin will be reasonable and cooperative. On the other hand if the commitment cannot be carried out and we wait for him to bring pressure on us to carry out our earliest commitment resulting from Tehran I am afraid that suspicion might be aroused in his mind or in the minds of his associates who were not present as to the firmness of the other commitments taken at Tehran.

I interpret your cable as being for my information and if queried by Molotov will simply advise him that you are giving active consideration to the matter.

U.S. State Department (December 24, 1943)

The British Ambassador to President Roosevelt

Washington, December 24, 1943

Dear Mr. President, Mr. Eden has asked me to let you know that the question of Italian ships for the Russians, which was dealt with in your telegram No. 422 of December 21 to the Prime Minister,” has been considered in London in the light of the telegram which you sent to Mr. Harriman.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There is a further point on which there appears to be some uncertainty in London. According to our record of what was said at Tehran, it seems to have been agreed there between yourself and the Prime Minister to assign “a battleship and a cruiser” for Soviet use “about the end of January,” the title of ownership to be decided upon after the surrender of Germany. The suggestion mentioned in your telegram to Mr. Harriman of handing over to the Russians a third of surrendered Italian ships appears to be a different one. (The request which the Soviet Government made at the Moscow Conference was for one battleship, one cruiser, 8 destroyers, 4 submarines and 40,000 tons of merchant shipping.)

Eden has not specifically asked me to put to you the point contained in this last paragraph, but he has put it to our Chargé d’Affaires in Moscow, who may therefore be speaking to Harriman about it.

Believe me, Dear Mr. President,

Very sincerely yours,

U.S. State Department (December 27, 1943)

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union to the President

Moscow, 27 December [1943]

Personal and secret for the President from Harriman.

At a meeting with Molotov last night he gave me a memorandum in reply to the memorandum you handed Stalin at Teheran asking for action on the proposals presented by the United States Delegation at the Moscow conference concerning use of air bases for shuttle bombing, communications, etc., paraphrase of which follows:

There is no objection in principle, as was indicated previously from the Soviet side, to the granting of air bases in the territory of the USSR for American military airplanes for the purpose of carrying out the shuttle bombing of Germany. The organization of such bases, however, and the use of the appropriate airdromes for this purpose must be coordinated with the plans of the Command of the military Air Force of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Air Force Command will be instructed for this purpose to begin preliminary conversations on the above question with the appropriate military representatives in Moscow with the subsequent consideration of this question by the Soviet High Command. It goes without saying that there will be made available, after a definite decision of the question concerning the organization of air bases from the Russian side, all necessary information concerning weather related to the operation of shuttle bombing.

With regard to the establishment of air communications between the USSR and the United States along the Moscow-Teheran-Washington route, there is no objection from the Soviet side to the renewal of conversations on this question between representatives of the Chief Administration of the Civil Air Fleet of the USSR and the corresponding American representatives at Moscow for the conclusion of an agreement on a reciprocal basis. December 25, 1943.

Molotov also gave me a preliminary reply to the two other memoranda you handed Marshal Stalin at Teheran concerning advance planning in the North West Pacific for Naval operations and for air operations. Reading from a paper he made the following statement orally which he preferred not to give me in writing:

Under point A of the President’s memorandum concerning Naval operations in the Pacific the Soviet Government is prepared to utilize existing facilities to obtain intelligence information concerning Japan and to make such information available to the United States authorities through the United States Military Mission in Moscow.

With reference to weather information referred to in the President’s memorandum concerning air operations in the Pacific the Soviet Government agrees to furnish the necessary supplementary information concerning the weather in the Far East. Instructions to this effect will be relayed to the Soviet Meteorological Services and information will be exchanged through the United States Military Mission in Moscow or through such other channels as the American Government may prefer. This exchange of information is to be on a reciprocal basis.

[In] Regard to the other questions contained in the President’s memoranda, certain of these questions, because of their importance and complexity require more time for study by the Soviet Government. Others for reasons which the American Government will understand it is difficult for the Soviet Government to give affirmative answers to at the present time.

In making this statement Mr. Molotov said he desired to emphasize the words “at the present time.”

I thereupon said I knew you would be glad to learn that the Soviet Government was ready to begin cooperation in regard to the Pacific war. I pointed out, however, that Marshal Stalin had indicated to you at Teheran that it was of equal importance to the Soviet Union as to the United States to bring the war against Japan to a successful conclusion at the earliest date. Molotov interrupted me to say that Stalin had made this quite clear.

I explained further in considerable detail the need for immediate planning in order to make possible the achievement of Stalin’s objectives.

Molotov appeared to accept the validity of my statement and indicated that the subject was being actively studied.

Marshal Stalin, however, had just gone to the front and I do not expect to get any further reply for some days.

U.S. State Department (December 30, 1943)

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union to the President

Moscow, 30 December 1943

Op priority

Your 291729.

The minutes prepared by Bohlen relating to the question of the Italian ships will be found beginning with the 2nd paragraph of the minutes of the 6 p.m. meeting 1 December. These minutes are as follows:

Mr. Molotov inquired whether it would be possible to obtain any answer on the Soviet Union’s request for Italian ships.

The President replied his position on this question was very clear; that the Allies had received a large number of Italian merchant ships and a lesser number of warships and that he felt they should be used by our three nations in the common cause until the end of the war when the division based on title and possession might be made.

Mr. Molotov answered that the Soviet Union would use these ships during the war in the common war effort, and after the war the question of possession could be discussed.

The Prime Minister asked where the Soviet Union would like to have these ships delivered.

Marshal Stalin replied in the Black Sea if Turkey entered the war. If not, to the northern ports.

The Prime Minister said it was a small thing to ask in the face of the tremendous sacrifices of Russia.

Marshal Stalin said that he knew how great the need for war vessels was on the part of England and the United States but that he felt the Soviet request was modest.

Both the President and the Prime Minister said they were in favor of acceptance of the Soviet suggestion.

The Prime Minister said it would require some time to work out the arrangements and that he personally would welcome the sight of these vessels in the Black Sea and hoped some English war vessels could accompany them in action against the enemy in those waters.

He said it would take a couple of months to work out the arrangements with the Italians, since they wish to avoid any possibility of mutiny in the Italian Fleet and the scuttling of the ships.

It was agreed that the ships would pass over to Soviet command sometime around the end of January, 1944.

I have compared Bohlen’s notes with those of Major Birse now in Moscow who acted as interpreter for the Prime Minister and they agree on all points of substance. Major Birse has some more detail in regard to the Prime Minister’s explanation as to why the delay of a couple of months was necessary and the desire of Great Britain to help in the reconditioning of Soviet ships when the Dardanelles was open. Both Bohlen and Birse recall the Prime Minister asking Eden during the discussion how many war vessels were covered by the Soviet request and Eden replied “1 battleship, 1 cruiser and 8 destroyers and 4 submarines.” This is the number which the Soviet Government asked for at the Moscow Conference. My recollection is quite clear[ly] confirmed by both Bohlen and Birse that the number of ships under discussion at the meeting recorded above was that requested at the Moscow Conference and no mention was made of ½ of the Italian Fleet being turned over to the Soviet Union, nor do we know of any discussion about Italian ships at any other time during the Tehran Conference.

U.S. State Department (January 2, 1944)

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt

London, 2 January 1944

Prime Minister to President Roosevelt. Personal.

Hull tells Eden that you have no recollection of any remarks by UJ about unconditional surrender. I certainly heard, with great interest, him saying something to the effect that he thought it might be well to consider telling the Germans at some stage what unconditional surrender would involve, or perhaps what it would not involve. After that we began talking about the 50,000 and your compromise and my high falutin, and I finished up by no means certain that the Germans would be reassured if they were told what he had in mind.

Find also Anthony telegraphed to the Foreign Office on November 30 as follows:

Last night (November 29) Marshal Stalin spoke to the President about unconditional surrender. Marshal Stalin said he considered this bad tactics vis-à-vis Germany and his suggestion was that we should together work out terms and let them be made known generally to the people of Germany.

Perhaps this may give you a cue to what Anthony and I had in our memories and you may feel inclined to join with us in asking UJ whether he would care to develop his theme to us. If however, you prefer we can of course leave things where they are for the time being.

U.S. State Department (January 3, 1944)

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom to the President

London, 3 January 1944

To the President from Winant.

After reading the Prime Minister’s number 530 to you, I wanted you to know that a message from Mister Hull instructed me to take up the question of what was said in relation to unconditional surrender at Tehran with the Prime Minister on his return to London… I hope the Prime Minister’s query to you was in a form acceptable to you. Eden meant it to be so and the Prime Minister followed his suggestion in his cable to you. Eden thought that the subject had come up at a luncheon conversation at the Russian Embassy. There has been no further word from Stalin.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

U.S. State Department (January 6, 1944)

740.0011 EW 1939/32572: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union to the Secretary of State

Moscow, January 6, 1944

43, January 6, 4 p.m. Personal and secret for the President and the Secretary from Harriman:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Molotov continued that Marshal Stalin at Tehran had outlined the terms which the Soviet Government were prepared to accord Finland and, as he recalled it, the President and Mr. Churchill had expressed no objection to these terms.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


U.S. State Department (January 7, 1944)

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt

London, 7 January 1944

No. 536

Prime Minister to President Roosevelt. Personal and most secret.

Bedell Smith and Devers came through here morning of 5th. Bedell told me that he and Montgomery are convinced that it is better to put in a much heavier and broader OVERLORD than to expand ANVIL above our pre-Tehran conception and that he is putting this to Eisenhower and your Chiefs of Staff…

It also seems to me from what I heard very probable that the Y Moon (see my immediately following) will be at the earliest practicable date. I do not see why we should resist this if the Commanders feel they have a better chance then. At Tehran, however, COS recommendation was Y1 or one day earlier which you and I agreed to express more agreeably as “During May.” In conversation with UJ we never mentioned such a date as May 5 or May 8 but always spoke to him around 20th. Neither did we at any time dwell upon the exact phase of the operation which should fall on any particular day. If now the Y date is accepted as final I do not feel that we shall in any way have broken faith with him. The operation will anyhow begin in May with feints and softening bombardments and I do not think UJ is the kind of man to be unreasonable over 48 hours.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

If that is “Uncle Joe”, it is understandable why it was so easy for Stalin to get things his way. Emotionaly the western leaders made him a family member.

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U.S. State Department (January 8, 1944)

President Roosevelt to Prime Minister Churchill

Washington, 8 January 1944

Op priority

Personal and secret, Number 437. For the Former Naval Person from the President.

As I told you in my 422, Harriman requested information on the action we were taking to carry out our commitments to turn over Italian ships to the Soviet by 1 February so that he could discuss the matter with Molotov if he were queried. I told him it was my intention to allocate one-third of the captured Italian ships to the Soviet war effort beginning 1 February as rapidly as they could be made available.

Harriman then reminded me that Stalin’s request at Tehran was a reiteration of the Soviet request originally made at Moscow in October (namely for one battleship, one cruiser, eight destroyers and four submarines for North Russia and 40,000 tons displacement of merchant shipping for the Black Sea) and that no mention was made at Moscow or Tehran of the Russians’ getting additional ships up to one-third of those captured. Accordingly Harriman regarded my cable of December 21 as being for his information and he has not discussed the question of one-third with Molotov.

Harriman also emphasized the very great importance of fulfilling our pledge to yield these ships. For us to fail or to delay would in his opinion only arouse suspicion in Stalin and in his associates as to the firmness of other commitments made at Tehran.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

U.S. State Department (January 10, 1944)

The President to the President’s personal representative, temporarily in Iran

Washington, January 10, 1944
Personal and secret

Dear Pat: I am given to understand by the State Department that the Foreign Minister of Iran is very much perturbed about the stories the American press and radio have carried about a reported plot to assassinate the various Heads of State during the conferences at Tehran in December.

I wish you would explain to the Foreign Minister that there was never any question of suspicion about any Iranian, but that the report of threatened violence involved German agents who were believed to have entered Iran without authority. As you know, my move from the American Legation was made primarily in order not to expose any of the conferees to the risk of attack by Axis agents while coming to visit me. I hope that you can put at rest any misunderstanding about the incident. I do not wish to make any further statement to the American press about it as such action would only increase general attention to the matter.

I hope that you may be making fine progress in your work.

With all good wishes [etc.]


U.S. State Department (January 11, 1944)

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, January 11, 1944

Memorandum to the President

I wish to refer to telegram no. 9050 of December 29 from Ambassador Winant which reads in part as follows:

The Department will be familiar with the Soviet accusations against the Polish resistance groups in Poland which were lodged at Tehran to the effect that these resistance groups were actually cooperating with the Germans in that they were fighting the so-called partisans which were really Russians dropped by parachute.

It would be helpful to me and to the senior members of the Department who are handling Soviet-Polish matters if the pertinent sections of the report on the Tehran Conference with regard to the aforementioned Soviet accusations might be made available to the Department.


I have read this 10 times and I still have no idea what it means.


U.S. State Department (January 14, 1944)

President Roosevelt to Prime Minister Churchill

London, 14 January 1944

Op priority

Number 441, personal and secret, from the President for the Former Naval Person.

Your 536. It is my understanding that in Tehran UJ was given a promise that OVERLORD be launched during May and supported by strongest practicable ANVIL at about the same time and that he agreed to plan for simultaneous Russian attack on Eastern front.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


U.S. State Department (January 16, 1944)

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt

London, 16 January, 1944


Prime Minister to President. Personal and most secret.

… My recollection is clear that nothing was said at Tehran about “one third” but that promise was made to meet the Russian claim put forward at Moscow to have transferred to them one battleship, one cruiser, eight destroyers, four submarines, and forty thousand tons of merchant shipping.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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U.S. State Department (January 29, 1944)

Marshal Stalin to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill

29 January 1944

Personal and secret from Premier J. V. Stalin to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill

On January 23 I have received your two joint messages, signed by you, Mr. President, and you, Mr. Prime Minister, on the question of transference for the use of the Soviet Union of Italian vessels.

I have to say, that after your joint affirmative reply in Teheran to my question regarding the transference to the Soviet Union of Italian vessels before the end of January, 1944, I considered this question as settled and it did not occur to me that there was a possibility of revision of this accepted and agreed upon, among the three of us, decision. So much the more, as we came to an agreement, that in the course of December and January this question should have been settled with the Italians as well. Now I see that this is not so, and that the Italians have not been approached on that question at all.

In order not to delay, however, this matter, which is of vital importance for our common struggle against Germany, the Soviet Government is ready to accept your proposal…

In your reply, however, is no mention made of the transference to the Soviet Union of eight Italian squadron destroyers and four submarines, regarding the transference of which to the Soviet Union still at the end of January, you Mr. President, and you Mr. Prime Minister, gave your consent in Teheran. Undoubtedly for the Soviet Union primarily is this question, the question regarding destroyers and submarines, without which the transference of a battleship and a cruiser is of no value. You will understand yourself that cruisers and battleships are powerless without destroyers escorting them. Since you have at your disposal the whole Italian naval fleet, fulfillment of the decision agreed upon in Teheran pertaining to the transference for the use of the Soviet Union of eight destroyers and four submarines from this fleet should not be difficult. I agree, that instead of Italian destroyers and submarines the Soviet Union be given to use the same number of American or English destroyers and submarines. Besides, the question of transference of destroyers and submarines cannot be postponed, but must be solved simultaneously with the transference of the battleship and cruiser, as it was agreed upon, among the three of us, in Teheran.

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