760d.61/247: Telegram

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

732. The press this morning reports without comment the arrival of the Finnish delegate accompanied by two officials. It is perhaps significant that according to the press he was met by only minor officials of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs in addition to the staff of the Finnish Legation and the Swedish Minister to Moscow.42

I am informed that the Finnish delegate saw no Soviet officials yesterday but that a meeting is expected this afternoon at 5 o’clock. Although in view of the extreme secrecy which surrounds such matters in the Soviet Union no official confirmation can be obtained of reports of extensive Soviet troop and air concentrations on the Finnish frontier, in view of the employment of similar tactics in respect of Estonia and Latvia it is extremely probable that such measures have been taken by the Soviet Government to support its demands on Finland. I do not believe, however, that any additional mobilization or substantial troop movements are contemplated for this purpose. As reported in 532, September 12, 2 p.m.,43 at the time the mobilization was effected which preceded the Soviet invasion of Poland the strength of the Leningrad military district was substantially increased, movement of troops from Moscow to that area was noted. The Finnish Legation here has been somewhat concerned at the publicity given abroad to the measures of defense undertaken by Finland on the ground that such publicity may aggravate the Soviet Union and cause it to regard its prestige as a great power to be at stake. The Legation believes that while the precautionary measures in themselves may have a salutary effect in moderating the Soviet demands too great publicity might have the opposite effect.

  1. Wilhelm Winther.
  2. Not printed.