740.0011 European War 1939/375: Telegram

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

1692. My 1688, September 17, 6 p.m. In a brief conversation this morning with Cadogan63 regarding the Russian invasion of Poland he said that no question arose of Great Britain’s declaring war on Russia [Page 438] or through the terms of the Anglo-Polish pact64 considering herself automatically at war with Russia. In fact the Poles had not even asked that Great Britain take such action. The Polish Ambassador requested this morning however that Great Britain deliver a formal protest to the Russian Government against the action taken and this he said would probably be done although the exact line to be taken has not yet been determined. Exception will be taken generally to the Russian action and probably to the Russian pretext that the Polish Government no longer exists.

Russian military action has greatly complicated the whole problem, particularly with respect to countries of southern and southeastern Europe. Cadogan feels that it is impossible to make any assessment of probable results of the policy of Balkan countries which would not be pure conjecture. The same is true in Bulgaria. The Turks so far have indicated that they are unperturbed and unmoved by the Russian action; that their policy vis-à-vis Great Britain and France remains the same and they have expressed their willingness to push negotiations now going on for a permanent pact between Great Britain, France and Turkey to a conclusion. These negotiations it is understood have not been held up on any matter of principle but through necessity for reaching agreement on details, mainly of an economic character.

Kennedy
  1. Sir Alexander Cadogan, British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Signed August 25, 1939; British Cmd. 6106, Misc. No. 9 (1939), doc. No. 19, p. 37.