740.00/334: Telegram

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

87. For the President and the Secretary of State.

Following is a brief summary of the viewpoints of this Government as voiced by Litvinov to me yesterday.

There will be a period of calm now in Europe but the issue of either war or a virtually complete Fascist domination of Europe would positively be determined this summer.
Germany would later in the summer aggressively press Czechoslovakia because even though this might not precede within Hitler’s immediate program the Sudeten minorities would force his hand.
Czechoslovakia might succumb to the strongest pressure because of Czechoslovakia’s lack of confidence in France and because of the lack of confidence with which both France and the Soviet Union regard each other.
Europe was confronted with the extreme probability of Fascist domination as a fait accompli in which case the only independent states left would be Great Britain and the Soviet Union; that nothing but an immediate reversal of policy by Great Britain would prevent this because the smaller states are slipping surely into the Fascist orbit.
Chamberlain probably would make peace with Italy but it will be only a facade establishing another gentlemen’s agreement as to the Mediterranean, agreeing to discontinue Italian anti-British propaganda “which it could resume later” and withdrawal of troops in Libya.
The Polish-Lithuanian situation was settled for the time being but only time would tell whether Poland would continue her aggression there.
Germany is opposed to Poland’s alleged designs on Lithuania because she, Germany, is “greedy” for Lithuania and the Baltic States herself.
Hitler would soon take over the Polish Corridor and Memel and will pay Poland nothing therefor; in support of this Litvinov quoted a statement made to him recently by a high German authority personally.
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The League of Nations is dead and he, Litvinov, will not return to Geneva for the Council session in May unless some definite proposals are agreed upon in advance.
Of course it suits the foreign policy of this Government to see European peace through a glass darkly because its interest requires that it arouse the Baltic and other smaller states and the democracies to antagonism toward and fear of the Soviet’s arch enemy Hitler.
With reference to the Sino-Japanese conflict he stated that Japan has a million men in China and 300,000 in Manchuria; Japanese aggression against the Soviet Union is out of the question now because China is causing Japan too much trouble by her unexpected military successes.

Detailed memorandum follows.67

  1. Despatch No. 1062, March 24, not printed.