740.0011 European War 1939/3188: Telegram

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

564. Rumors of an impending Soviet move against Rumania persist among some diplomats and foreign press correspondents in Moscow. The Rumanian Minister, however, has consistently rejected the possibility of a Soviet offensive at this time and he assured me today that he has had no reason to change his opinion.

With respect to the border incidents mentioned in the Embassy’s 465, April 27,10 the Minister stated that some time ago the Soviet Government [Page 466] lodged another complaint alleging that on two occasions shots had been fired across the Rumanian border into Soviet territory. The Rumanian Government has also submitted a reply to this charge. The Minister did not make it clear to me whether these incidents are regarded by the Soviet Government as closed, and it is of course possible that they may be revived should that Government consider such a course to be desirable. With respect to the appointment of a Soviet Minister at Bucharest, Mr. Davidescu stated that there had been no developments, notwithstanding Molotov’s assurance some weeks ago (Embassy’s telegram 353, April 4) that the appointment had been decided upon.

Current Soviet military activities, which may be responsible for the rumors referred to, are attributed by the Rumanian Minister and by the Turkish Military Attaché whose opinion is concurred in by Captain Yeaton,11 to general uneasiness on the part of the Soviet Government arising out of the European war now in progress. The persons cited believe that the Soviet is merely redistributing its forces, largely along its western frontier, for defensive and protective purposes. Figures furnished by our Military Attaché indicate that approximately 1,500,000 Soviet troops, the bulk of which is made up of infantry with lesser forces of cavalry and mechanized brigades, were distributed on April 1 as follows: In the northern or Finnish area, 62 divisions; White Russian area, 30 divisions; Ukraine, 30 divisions; Odessa, 5 divisions; unknown, 20 divisions. Approximately 17 divisions are stationed in the Caucasus and 54 in the Far East.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Ivan D. Yeaton, American Military Attaché in the Soviet Union.