740.00119 EW/3–1345: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman )

596. You are instructed immediately to communicate to Molotov the following reply, approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and cleared with the Combined Chiefs, to the Soviet request contained in your 716, March 12.58 These instructions were drafted after careful consideration by the Department and the Joint Chiefs of the recommendations [Page 731] in your 728, March 12 [13]58a and General Deane’s message to General Marshall.

  • “1. You should inform Soviet Government substantially as follows:
  • 2. The Berne meeting is only for the purpose of establishing contact with a view to getting German representatives to Field Marshal Alexander’s headquarters where all matters concerning surrender will be discussed. Field Marshal Alexander’s representatives are already secretly in Berne and, in view of the time element, they are being instructed to give to the representatives of the German Commander the instructions which have already been communicated to the Soviet Government.
  • 3. Field Marshal Alexander is being instructed to make all necessary arrangements for the presence of Soviet Representatives at any discussions which may take place at A.F.H.Q.: but, as the German proposal is for the surrender of a military force on a U.S./British front, Field Marshal Alexander, as Supreme Commander in this theatre, would alone be responsible for conducting negotiations and reaching decisions.
  • 4. Field Marshal Alexander is being instructed to communicate to the Soviets through Admiral Archer and General Deane the results of any contact in Berne and to use this channel for any subsequent arrangements connected with the presence of Soviet representatives at his headquarters.”
  1. Not printed, but see footnote 43 p. 725.
  2. Not printed.