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

My Dear Ambassador: The President has asked me to send you these urgent lines, which will reach you as soon as I can get them to you,32 to let you know that in a conversation had with Oumansky33 just before the latter left Washington, the President gave him to understand that while he was making no suggestion, much less any official indication of any desire on the part of this Government, he nevertheless wished to make it clear that this Government was viewing the present situation in an objective manner. The President said that if war were now to break out in Europe and in the Far East and were the axis powers to gain a victory, the position of both the United States and of the Soviet Union would inevitably be immediately and materially affected thereby. In such event, the position of the Soviet Union would be affected more rapidly than the position of the United States. For these reasons, while he was, of course, in no position either to accept any responsibility or to give any assurances as to the possible course which Great Britain and France might undertake in connection with their present negotiations with the Soviet Union, the President could not help but feel that if a satisfactory [Page 294] agreement against aggression on the part of other European powers were reached, it would prove to have a decidedly stabilizing effect in the interest of world peace, in the maintenance of which, of course, the United States as well as the Soviet Union had a fundamental interest.

The President believes that it would be desirable for you at this juncture to reiterate to Mr. Molotov at the first opportunity the views which he so expressed, with the understanding, of course, that the transmission of these views shall be regarded as absolutely and completely confidential.

Please do not refer to the subject matter of this letter in any telegram which you may send the Department. I suggest that when this message is delivered you send me a personal telegram referring to the date of this personal letter to you and merely add “Message delivered”.

My best regards [etc.]

[File copy not signed.]
  1. In letters to Ambassador William C. Bullitt in France, dated August 4, the Under Secretary of State advised him to forward this letter by an officer of his staff on a special courier trip to Moscow, and to proceed at once (741. 61/825a, 826a).
  2. Konstantin Alexandrovich Umansky, Soviet Ambassador in the United States.