861.20/369: Telegram

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

24. There are indications that the motives behind the increased military budget and the increased emphasis on military affairs are the same as those which prompted Molotov to say in his speech of January 1013a that from now on the Soviet Union could count only on its own strength. “The friends of peace” said the Journal de Moscow on January 14, “can already no longer count on the policy of certain great powers who have always during the years since the war been the supporters of collective security and the League.” The paper [Page 286] went on to sum up as follows: the factors leading the Soviet Union to place its faith exclusively on its own armed forces: “the incessant acts of aggression of Japan, the aggressive plans of Germany, the passage—which is becoming more and more probable—of Italy into the camp of the aggressors and at the same time the hesitations which have manifested themselves in the case of certain great powers with respect to the positions which they occupy—powers which formerly were considered as partisans of the collective security of the League,” these passages are apparently intended to give the impression that the Kremlin has finally abandoned hope of being able to rely for its defense against attack from without, on the League of Nations or on those collective security arrangements which Litvinov has cultivated so assiduously for the last 3 years and for which he has made so many sacrifices. Our usual emissary from the Kremlin told me yesterday that the Soviet Government had become convinced that it could not rely on French military assistance; that the French shopkeeper would not be willing to fight unless France was attacked. Although it is impossible to gauge at the present time the extent to which this represents a shift in Soviet policies the Embassy has the impression that while the Soviet Government will continue to push the program of collective security the Kremlin in the future will place little dependence on the success of that program in making decisions of a military or international political character.

  1. See footnote 5a, p. 282.