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Posted Thursday, April 15, 2004

Extracts from General Dwight D Eisenhower's presidential library, relating to publication of the Yalta Papers over British objections.

Extracts from the office diary kept by Eisenhower's secretary Jim Hagerty

David Irving dictated these extracts in Abilene in about 1976. They may contain phonetic or transcription errors. We invite comments, corrections and expansions. Please give date of letter referred to. [comment]

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 1955 (Cont'd)

[. . . ]

2. Release of Yalta Papers -- [John Foster] Dulles said if the President were questioned on this, he should say it is entirely a State Department matter. Actually, we are trying to get them released and yesterday Dulles again cabled Eden to see if they would withdraw their objection but as yet, has received no answer, The British opposition is based on two reasons: (a) Some remarks in the minutes by Churchill which are rather disparaging of the French and (b) A rather terse comment by Churchill to Eden when Eden interrupted him. Churchill turned to Eden on that occasion and said, "Aw, shut up."

Re Yalta papers: Message received 5:45 from the Prime Minister [Churchill] to the President [Eisenhower], March 18, 1955.

My dear Friend,

I am so glad that you disclaimed responsibility for the issue of the Yalta papers. Personally I do not at all mind their publication though I feel a strong line should be drawn by the Governments between formal and plenary sessions on the one hand and after dinner conversations on the other. Also I think people should know whether they are being reported by interpreter [Charles] Bohlen or not. Otherwise so far as I am concerned I am very content with the tale. What worries me is whether its publication at this moment may not endanger French ratification of London and Paris Agreements.

I thought your letter to me and the other NATO Prime Ministers was a splendid declaration which doubles our strength and halves our risks. I am sorry that we shall never meet in a top level confrontation of our would-be friend, but I hope indeed this applies to political occasions only.

With my sincere good wishes.

Yours always, Winston.

P. S. : How are you getting on with the portrait? I hope you will show it to me when it is finished and I warn you I shall claim full rights of retaliation.

[Source: DDE Libr., Þle 'Churchill']

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 1955 (Cont'd)


2. Yalta Papers -- On the Yalta Papers, Dulles pointed out that during the last two years the Senate Appropriations Committee, on its own initiative, requested that the papers be published and had appropriated money for that purpose. Dulles and the State Department had held up publication because of a British objection but that objection was withdrawn by Eden prior to the release of the papers even though Eden did so rather reluctantly and looked upon the publication of the papers as the lesser of two evils; namely, having to come out piecemeal or having to come out all at once.

As far as the President was concerned, Dulles said that he had discussed the problem of the Yalta Papers with him and that the President was kept fully informed on the changing British position. The President knew they were in the process of preparation but never actually saw the galley proofs.

Dulles said that as far as other meetings were concerned, the Historical Section of his Department is working on the Potsdam papers but no date has been set for their release. He said that this is a normal procedure and that it normally takes the Historical Section many years to get the papers in shape for release.

TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 1955 (Cont'd)

[. . . ]

When the Yalta Papers were published, the Democratic high command, of course, trying to get Roosevelt out from under the political decisions that were made at Yalta, embarked on a campaign to blame the Yalta decisions on our military. This, of course, is completely ridiculous and Yalta was a political conference, not a military conference. It is the same sort of Democratic defense that they made about Roosevelt's Boston speech in 1940 when he said, "And I tell you mothers again and again and again that your sons shall not fight on foreign soil." In this case the Democrats tried to add the words "unless we are attacked" which, of course, Roosevelt never said.

The Democratic speakers on the floor of the Congress after publication of the Yalta Papers have been saying that the decisions taken at Yalta were urged by the military. Sunday General MacArthur issued a statement in which he said that this was not true, that he was opposed to the entrance of Russia into the war in the Pacific and that he urged the Defense Department to publish all the papers dealing with the conduct of the war in the Pacific to prove his point.

The New York Times claims that many of the papers were not classified in any of our three classifications -- Top Secret, Secret or Confidential -- but were merely "Restricted". And with the issuance of our Executive Order in 1953 on classifications made that "Restricted" classification one which was of a public nature. They asked me to look into the situation and I told them I would.

[. . . ]

The above material has been researched by David Irving for the third volume of his Churchill biography, "Churchill's War", vol. iii: "The Sundered Dream."

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