AUGUST 6, 1945
NEW YORK, Sunday—When the communique finally came from the Big Three meeting, it partially satisfied many curious people. I have listened over the radio and watched in the press the groans and lamentations of correspondents who felt they were wasting their time and the money of those who employed them, since no news was reaching this country from Potsdam. I have taken these wails quite calmly, however, for any sensible person knows that until the final decisions are reached there is bound to be constant shifting of position among individuals representing great interests; and if each shift were reported, it would minimize the chance of ultimate agreement.
We choose the best people we have to go to these meetings, and we ought to be willing to wait until they are ready to report on what they have accomplished. In no other way can we hope to get the most favorable atmosphere for their negotiations.
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I have seen some adverse comment because this first communique does not state whether the Soviet Union is joining with Great Britain, China and the United States in the war against Japan. I have no more knowledge than anybody else as to what we will eventually be told, but it seems to me only common sense to say nothing about what is going to be done until it actually is done. In military affairs, the element of surprise has great advantages. If you announce everything through the press beforehand to the world, you remove all opportunity to use surprise as a military asset.
The decisions on Poland were, of course, to be expected.
The way reparations are planned seems to me sensible, and the breaking up of German cartels is a great safeguard. The setting up of a new council which will meet in London by September 1 and continue working out the details of the peace and the final arrangements with the satellites of the Axis countries would seem to be very wise. I hope very much that our ambassador to Great Britain, John G. Winant, will be of use to this council. He has always seemed to me to have not only wisdom and integrity but, because of his long service abroad, great experience and background for this work.
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I am glad we are out in the open as opposed to governments which collaborated with the Axis. It is a relief to know where we stand as regards Franco Spain and the present Argentine government. I am glad that in the new council Chinese and French representatives will join the Big Three, which becomes the Big Five. But I think it is a wise decision that representatives of the Big Three may continue to meet and discuss questions of primary interest to them.
We will all look forward to the President's safe arrival in this country, and to his fuller report, with gratitude and appreciation for the services which he has rendered to the nation.