740.0011 European War 1939/1786: Telegram

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

265. A member of the Embassy has been informed by a personal friend who is a Soviet Army officer that an extensive movement of Soviet troops from Moscow to the Caspian Sea area will begin tonight. Included in equipment which will accompany these forces are some 60 large tanks which were personally seen by the members of the Embassy staff in question. The informant further stated that Voroshilov75 left for the Caspian area on March 6 and advanced as the explanation for these activities the fear which is entertained by the Soviet Government of some act of aggression on the part of the British and French, especially with respect to the Baku oil fields and pipe lines.

The connection between Soviet concern in regard to the Black Sea and Caucasus areas which I have previously reported and the decision to negotiate with Finland76 would appear to be obvious.

  1. Marshal Kliment Efremovich Voroshilov, People’s Commissar for Defense in the Soviet Union.
  2. For correspondence regarding relations between Finland and the Soviet Union, the Winter War, and the Peace of Moscow, see pp. 269 ff.