701.6151/47: Telegram

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

331. An announcement by the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs published in the Soviet press today states that on March 19th the French Chargé informed the People’s Commissariat [Commissar] for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, that the French Government considered a telegram sent by Suritz, Soviet Ambassador to Paris, to Stalin84 in connection with the conclusion of the treaty of peace with Finland to be “interference by the Ambassador in the internal political life of France.”85 The announcement, after stating that according to the communication of the French Chargé d’Affaires the French Government considered certain expressions contained in the telegram as “improper” in respect of the French Government, quotes the passages in question which contain a reference to the forestalling by [the] Soviet Union of the “plans of the Anglo-French incendiaries of war” and a statement that in the future the Soviet Union will continue to disrupt the “dark conspiracies of the enemies of Socialism”, and adds that although this telegram was not passed by the French censorship the French Government has declared that Suritz is no longer persona grata and expresses the hope that he will be recalled by the Soviet Government.

According to the announcement the reply of Lozovski,86 the Assistant Commissar for Foreign Affairs, transmitted to the French Chargé on March 26th states:

  • “(1) The Government of the Soviet Union does not in essence find any grounds on which the French Government can no longer consider the Ambassador, Mr. Suritz, persona grata by reason of the contents of the telegram to Moscow in which the French Government is not even mentioned.
  • (2) However, in view of the fact that the French Government has raised in regard to Mr. Suritz a formal question of confidence, the Government of the Soviet Union states that Mr. Suritz is being relieved of his duties as plenipotentiary representative of the Soviet Union in France.”

Repeated to Paris.

  1. Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Secretary General of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks); member of the Politburo and Orgburo of the Party, etc.
  2. In telegram No. 323, March 23, 11 a.m., Ambassador Steinhardt reported that the French Chargé had said that he had seen Molotov on March 21 to request the recall of Suritz (701.6151/46).
  3. Solomon Abramovich Lozovsky.