741.61/704: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Wilson) to the Secretary of State


1142. I called on Bonnet yesterday afternoon. Referring to the negotiations with the Soviet Union he stated his belief that they would come to a successful conclusion. He said that the British had gone so far in an effort to meet the point of view of the Soviet Union (much farther than anyone had expected they would go) that it was inconceivable that agreement should fail. The only reason for failure would be a desire for failure on the part of the Soviet Government, and he would not admit that hypothesis.

As regards the request to subordinate the political agreement to the military agreement Bonnet said that the French Government would agree to open military conversations with Moscow immediately after the conclusion of the political agreement and he looks for no difficulties on this point.

He also professes to believe that the conversations now taking place in Moscow will convince the Soviet Government that no rigid guarantee by the Soviet Government is necessary so far as the Baltic States are concerned since, if there should in fact be a German move against one of the Baltic States which threatened the security of the Soviet Union, Britain and France would be at the side of the Soviet Union.

I asked Bonnet whether, in addition to the written instructions, Strang7 had received oral and secret instructions giving more latitude. Bonnet said that this was in fact so and that if the early talks in Moscow convinced the British that the Soviet Government meant business the British would find a way of reaching agreement with the Soviet Government. He added that Naggiar, French Ambassador at Moscow, had telegraphed that after conferring with Seeds and Strang he was convinced that agreement would be reached. …

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  1. William Strang, expert on Russian affairs in the British Foreign Office, temporarily in Moscow.