760D.61/890: Telegram

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

60. Your 1164, December 31, 8 p.m.41

The Department has just been informed, through sources upon which it cannot fully rely but which it feels should not be ignored, that officials of a foreign government who are in exceptionally close touch with the situation are inclined to believe that both the Soviet and Finnish Governments would welcome an opportunity to settle their differences without further bloodshed.
You are therefore authorized, unless in your opinion such action would be inadvisable at the present time, to seek an interview with Molotov42 and to inform him that for some time various neutral non-Baltic governments have been suggesting that this Government approach the Finnish and Soviet Governments in the hope that some means might be found for a cessation of the present conflict without further bloodshed; that this Government is reluctant to make any such move unless it has grounds to believe that such an approach would not be unwelcome to both Governments and that there is at least a possibility that it might meet with some success; and that your Government would appreciate learning whether in his opinion any kind of approach such as that suggested would be received by the Soviet Government in the friendly spirit with which it would be made. You may add that neither the Finnish Government nor any other Government is aware that you have been instructed to lay this matter before him; and that your inquiry directed to him and the reply which he may see fit to make to you will be regarded by this Government as a strictly confidential exchange of views. You should make it clear that in instructing you to discuss this matter with him this Government is motivated solely by its desire to avoid the further shedding of the blood of two peoples for both of whom the American people have feelings of both friendliness and esteem.
In case Molotov manifests any interest, you may add that your Government would appreciate and treat as confidential any informal [Page 282] suggestion which he may have to offer relative to the manner in which such an approach might best be made.
  1. Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. i, p. 1038.
  2. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.