741.61/735: Telegram

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

[Extracts]

353. Pravda which appeared late this morning contains a front page article, signed by Zhdanov15 as Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, under the heading “The British and French Governments Do Not Wish an Equal Treaty With the Soviet Union”. …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The open accusations of insincerity against the British and French Governments contained in Zhdanov’s article constitute a clear attempt to exert pressure on those Governments during the next and possibly critical stages of the negotiations by intimating the possibility of a breakdown thereof unless the Soviet demand for a guarantee of the Baltic States is accepted and have been interpreted in some quarters here as supporting the opinion that one of the purposes of the Soviet tactics in the present negotiations has been to bring about the downfall of the Chamberlain Government. In addition, the views expressed in this article probably reflect an attempt to relieve the Soviet Government in advance of any blame for the delays already encountered or [Page 279] for a possible failure to reach any agreement. A certain loophole for compromise however may be found in Zhdanov’s statement that his point of view regarding British and French insincerity is not shared by “his friends”. While it is impossible on the basis of this article to forecast the final attitude of the Soviet Government toward any new Anglo-French proposals which might fall short of a complete surrender to the Soviet position, the views of so important an official as Zhdanov who, although writing in his capacity as a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet, is generally regarded here as among the very closest of Stalin’s associates in the Politburo, would appear to indicate a further stiffening of the Soviet attitude toward the present negotiations.

Grummon
  1. Andrey Alexandrovich Zhdanov, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Leningrad oblast since 1934, and holder of other Party and Government positions.