741.61/651: Telegram

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

274. My telegram 267, May 26, 4 p.m.94 The reply to the Soviet proposals in the form of a joint Franco-British note was delivered late Saturday95 afternoon by the British Ambassador and the French Chargé d’Affaires to Molotov in his office in the Kremlin. Potemkin was present as interpreter. I understand that the conversation lasted less than an hour and that Molotov gave no indication of the Soviet attitude to the proposed plan, merely promising to refer it to his Government.

In the light of further details which have been provided by the British Embassy here in regard to the Franco-British plan it appears that the pact of mutual assistance for Europe alone becomes operative under the following three conditions:

In the event of a direct attack on any one of the signatories,
In the event that any of the signatories should become involved in hostilities as a result of (individual, not joint as previously reported) obligations already assumed towards other states, and
In the event that any of the signatories should become involved in hostilities as a result of coming to the assistance of a country whose neutrality has been violated and which has requested such assistance.

I am informed by a member of the British Embassy that although the purpose of this plan is to insure Soviet assistance to Poland and [Page 264] Rumania in the event of an attack on those countries, the proposals as worded contain no specific mention of these or other countries and relate merely to mutual assistance between England, France and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics under the conditions outlined above. It was further stated that since the Soviet Union assumes no obligations to states other than France and England the obligations referred to in 2 above relate only to those already assumed by the latter in Europe, and in respect of any future obligations to additional countries in Europe which might be assumed by any one of the signatories the pact of mutual assistance will only be operative providing that the signatory assuming such obligations obtains the prior approval of the other two parties. The conditions set forth in 3 above, I am further informed, are designed to respect the desire of the Baltic States to avoid accepting guarantees of their independence, especially on the part of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, and to retain their freedom of action. Although I understand that Molotov did not state specifically when the Soviet reply would be forthcoming it is expected shortly, possibly tomorrow.

  1. Not printed.
  2. May 27.