740.0011 European War 1939/2485: Telegram

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

449. In the course of a conversation yesterday with the British Chargé,97 he expressed the view that there has been no fundamental change in Soviet foreign policy since the conclusion of the Soviet-Finnish peace. He gave it as his opinion that for the time being at least the Soviet Government would continue to pursue a policy of close cooperation with Germany insofar as concerns deliveries under the recent commercial agreements98 and would lend its active political and diplomatic support to Germany while at the same time endeavoring to placate England and France insofar as the latter objective does not in any manner impair the existing relations between Germany and the U. S. S. R.

The French Chargé on the other hand is of the opinion that little importance should be attached to any apparent attempt by the Soviet Government to placate England and France as he suspects the ulterior motive at German instigation of persuading England and France into the mistaken belief that a wedge can ultimately be driven between Germany and the Soviet Union thereby according Germany substantial advantages in the prosecution of the war.

  1. John H. LeRougetel.
  2. An economic agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union was signed at Moscow on February 11, 1940. For a summary of its terms, see memorandum of February 26, by Dr. Karl Schnurre, Head of the Eastern European and Baltic Section of the Commercial Policy Division of the German Foreign Office, printed in Department of State, Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939–1941 (Washington, 1948), p. 131. See also telegram No. 172, February 13, 1 p.m., from the Chargé in the Soviet Union, and telegram No. 186, February 18, 5 p.m., from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, ante, pp. 544 and 546, respectively.