740.0011 European War 1939/5837: Telegram

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

1267. The Turkish Military Attaché,35a who in the past has proved to be a reliable observer and who has just returned from a trip to Sweden and Finland, told me yesterday that in his opinion there is [Page 566] considerable evidence that the Germans are concentrating large forces in areas which might serve as eventual bases of operation against the Soviet Union. He said he had obtained reliable information that at the present time the Germans have 79 divisions on the Soviet-German frontier supported by 3- to 4,000 first-line planes with 2,000 additional planes in reserve. In addition he stated that at least half of the more than 150,000 troops in Norway are in the northern area of Norway close to the Norwegian-Finnish frontier with many in the vicinity of Petsamo where an important German military base is in the process of construction and that roads in northern Norway leading to the Finnish frontier are being built by German troops.

The Attaché stated that while he was in Sweden the German Military Attaché there had told him with conviction that the Soviet-German Pact had served its purpose and that should the Soviets again attack Finland, Germany would without question go to the latter’s assistance. He added that from the same source he had been informed that at a meeting with most of the German Military Attachés, Hitler had stated that the invasion of England might have to be postponed until next year. While I am unable to confirm the foregoing it is interesting as indicating the speculation which has been aroused in diplomatic circles in Moscow by the recent German diplomatic moves as to Germany’s intentions in regard to the Soviet Union and particularly the conclusion of the military alliance with Japan. While the extent of the German forces bordering on the Soviet Union may be exaggerated it is of interest in connection with the information contained in my 1247, September 28, 4 p.m. from a German source.

Steinhardt
  1. B. Türkmen.