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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States. Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945
(1945)

Introduction,   pp. XI-XX PDF (3.9 MB)


Page XV


INTRODUCTION
conference subjects. The scope of coverage in each of these categories
is as follows:
  (1) Minutes of International Meetings-Even with the addition of
documents from the White House, the Department of Defense, and
the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, the official American record of the
international discussions at these conferences contains some gaps.
For Malta there are minutes (reproduced herein) of all the meetings
of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, but on the political side there are e
minutes for only one of the several meetings of the Foreign Secretaries,
and no American minutes of the Roosevelt-Churchill talks. With
respect to the Yalta conference there are minutes of all international
military meetings in which the United States Chiefs of Staff partici-
pated, and these are included in this volume. No records have been
found, however, of the private Roosevelt-Churchill meetings. There
are minutes or notes on most of the other political discussions but
these are not so complete or definitive as might be desired. On this
point the late Secretary of State Stettinius wrote as follows:
  "It would . . . have been better at Yalta to have had a steno-
graphic record made of the discussions. The record then could have
been distributed to and approved by each delegation and become the
official record of the proceedings. There was, however, no single
official record of the meetings, nor was there any stenotypist record-
ing every word. Instead, each delegation kept its own minutes.
Bridges, for instance, took notes in shorthand for the British, while
Bohlen had the double task of interpreting and note taking for the
United States. In addition, some members of the American delega-
tion, at least, kept their own personal notes. Every noon at the for-
eign ministers' meetings to discuss problems assigned by the three
leaders, Edward Page of the American Embassy in Moscow served
both as interpreter and as note taker for the American delegation. . ..
  "The military followed a different practice in keeping a record of
their discussions. Although each of the three nations had its own
representative taking notes, these three individuals cleared their
versions with each other and with all the participants. In the case
of the diplomatic discussions, this practice was unfortunately not
followed. . ."I
  In view of this situation the editors decided to include in this
volume all available minutes or notes on the international political
discussions at Yalta. Thus for a majority of the political meetings
at Yalta there will be found in this volume two or more accounts,
generally in the form of minutes prepared by Charles E. Bohlen,
Edward Page, or H. Freeman Matthews, or rough notes in abbreviated
long-hand taken by Matthews or Alger Hiss.
  (2) Documents Considered at International Meetings-This cate-
gory comprises proposals, memoranda, and correspondence, of
  3 Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Roosevelt and the Russians: The Yalta Conference
(New York, 1949), pp. 103-104.
2RV


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