741.61/765: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State

954. My 942, July 5, 8 p.m. first two paragraphs. The Russian demand for guaranteeing of the Baltic States against “indirect aggression” according to the Foreign Office was defined by Molotov as including “a coup d’état or a change of policy”. Such a definition, which could be interpreted to include almost anything, is regarded by the Foreign Office as absurd and an official expressed the opinion that the Cabinet would not consent to undertake such an obligation. In the last instructions sent to Moscow, the British have made the counter proposals that indirect aggression be defined as something which a guaranteed state might be compelled to accept by threat of force and which would jeopardize the independence of the country or nullify its neutrality. The willingness expressed by Molotov to consider the inclusion of Holland and Switzerland in the states to be guaranteed, provided reciprocal agreements are reached between Russia on the one part and Poland and Turkey on the other, would only serve to delay further the conclusion of an Anglo-French-Russian agreement and for this reason the British are prepared to drop the question of a guarantee by Russia of Holland and Switzerland. Any present agreement could of course be implemented in this sense in the future if and when agreements are reached between Russia and Poland and Turkey.

A view has been expressed by the Foreign Office that a highly probable objective of Russia with respect to the Baltic States is to establish in effect a Russian protectorate over those countries, for which the treaty of guarantee might afford a convenient machinery.25 [Page 286] Publicity regarding details of proposals and counter proposals in the negotiations is said to emanate from Russian sources in London.

  1. The enforcement by the Soviet Union of pacts of mutual assistance upon Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is described in Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, pp. 934 ff. The refusal of Finland to accede to demands by the Soviet Union and the Soviet aggression against Finland are described, ibid., pp. 785 ff.