740.0011 European War 1939/4261: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany ( Heath ) to the Secretary of State

2189–2190. Despite the attitude adopted by the German press noted in my 2188, June 28, 7 p.m.,15 there is no doubt of the resentment of the German Government over the occurrence at this time of the Russian move into Bessarabia and Bukowina. The real reaction [Page 557] towards the occurrence was scarcely disguised by a high official in conversation today although he insisted that in the negotiations of last fall Russia, had made it known to Germany that it reserved freedom of action with regard to its territorial claims in this region and German press authorities are intimating to foreign correspondents here that Russia gave Germany advance notice of its action.16 It is assumed, however, that the notice was brief since it is known that the Italian Ambassador17 was summoned urgently to the Foreign Office 3 days ago to discuss the situation with State Secretary Weiz-säcker. The Italian Ambassador indicated to me the belief that England had some connection with Russia’s action but no such statement has been made by German contacts nor does this view find much credence in diplomatic circles.

The view is frequently expressed, however, that one of the principal reasons of German displeasure with Russia’s present activity is fear lest it may encourage Britain to continue the war. In this connection it may be noted that the official above referred to denied any knowledge of British peace overtures, rumors of which are persistent here, stating that according to his latest information and to his regret Great Britain seemed determined to carry on the war, a decision which he attributed to the effect on the Government of British public opinion which he asserted had been misled and misinformed as to the gravity of the British military situation.

This official expressed the opinion that Russia would make no further moves at this time in the Balkans or against Turkey although he remarked that the Soviet Government was maintaining its refusal to permit the visit of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs18 to Moscow.

The Foreign Office he said was informed of Finnish anxiety over a possible repetition of Russian aggression, but he thought there was no ground for such anxiety. He also expressed doubt that Turkey had at present the ambition or was in a position to attempt to get back its former territories lost following the World War through the creation of mandates and independent kingdoms.

Repeated to Rome for Kirk.

Heath
  1. Not printed.
  2. The Chargé in the Soviet Union stated in his telegram No. 770, June 28, 4 p.m., that a Secretary of the German Embassy had said that Ambassador von der Schulenburg had been advised of the Soviet Government’s intentions against Rumania on June 23 (740.0011 European War 1939/4262). The Chargé had earlier reported in his telegram No. 762, June 27, 8 p.m. that the German Ambassador, however, had told some colleagues that he had been informed only on June 26 (740.0011 European War 1939/4220).
  3. Bernardo Attolico.
  4. Sükrü Saraçoglu.