761.00/264: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union ( Henderson ) to the Secretary of State

16. My 15, January 11, noon.5 The latter part of Molotov’s speech5a was devoted to the international situation. He said that in [Page 283] general Soviet relations with other countries had developed normally in the last year. The references to England, France and Czechoslovakia contained nothing of special interest.

“The relations of the Soviet Union to the United States of America have in general developed normally, principally in the commercial and economic field. In addition one cannot pass over the repeated attempts to develop anti-Soviet campaigns artificially in a certain portion of the American press—attempts being made by certain reactionary and Fascist-inclined circles with the purpose of disrupting the policy of rapprochement between the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America which has enormous significance from the point of view of the preservation of general peace.”

After noting that during the past year Belgium, Luxembourg and Colombia had recognized the U.S.S.R. he discussed the break with Uruguay in sarcastic and contemptuous words which were greeted with much laughter and applause.6 Lengthy passages discussing relations with Germany and Japan contained little that is new. He stated that the Soviet Government desired an improvement in relations with Germany but that the German Empire had made no attempt to remove the plans of territorial acquisition at the expense of the Soviet Union mentioned in Hitler’s writings. In discussing Japan he said that it was clear “that the playing with fire along our Far Eastern borders is not ceasing and that the Japanese military caste is creeping up to our border not only directly but also through other territories.” He saw nothing unexpected in the reported military agreement between Japan, Germany and Poland. Japan and Germany had left the League “in order to free their hands.” Germany was “feverishly preparing to occupy a dominant position in the Baltic Sea.” All these factors necessitated increased defense appropriations for the Soviet Union.

In discussing the League and the Italian-Abyssinian war he said that superficially it might appear that there were differences in principle among the various powers with respect to the policy of colonial acquisition but that this was not the case. “The difference in the position of the various capitalist states members of the League …7 is explained above all by the extent of their interest in the degree of the strengthening of the imperialist power of Italy. This can be said just as well with respect to the powers not members of the League of Nations. Among the capitalist powers there are no powers which would place the independence of any weak country above the interests of their own selfish participation in the distribution of colonies. With respect to the Italian-Abyssinian war, only the Soviet Union has taken [Page 284] a special position founded on principle far from every sort of imperialism, far from every sort of policy of colonial seizures. Only the Soviet Union has stated that it based itself on the principle of equality of rights and the independence of Abyssinia …8 this policy of the Soviet Union …8 has a unique international significance and will yet yield great fruits.”

Soviet entrance into the League9 had justified itself in practice. While the League had not done sufficient in the Italian-Abyssinian war and had done nothing to prevent this war, one could not ignore the fact “that in the present case the League of Nations had hindered not those who were serving the cause of peace but those who wished to help the aggressor.” He added that in certain cases in the past, imperial cliques relying on the passivity of the masses of the people had suffered failures at the most unexpected moments and that those who involved themselves in a new imperialist war might break their necks before their rapacious plans had been realized. The Bolsheviki knew that the masses in the capitalist countries were far from sharing the rapacious plans of the imperialists. “But we the toilers of the Soviet Union in defending our own cause must count on our own forces and in defending our fatherland …8 above all on our Red Army.”

  1. Not printed.
  2. Speech of January 10, 1930, at Second Session of the All-Union Central Executive Committee.
  3. Relations were established between the Soviet Union and Belgium on July 12, 1935, Luxembourg on August 26, 1935, and Colombia on June 25, 1935; but Uruguay had broken relations on December 27, 1935.
  4. Omission indicated in the original.
  5. Omission indicated in the original.
  6. The Soviet Union entered the League of Nations on September 18, 1934.
  7. Omission indicated in the original.