740.0011 European War 1939/4031: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

The following telegram has been received from Moscow for transmission to the Department.

“713. June 19, 6 p.m. The newly appointed British Ambassador, Sir Stafford Cripps, informed me this afternoon that he has tentatively taken up with Molotov the subject of a switch in Soviet policy away from Germany to active support of France and Great Britain. While this approach was made several days ago, prior to the breaking of the French Army, and was supported by Labonne, the new French Ambassador, it is Cripps’ intention to follow it up and he is awaiting a new appointment with Molotov for that purpose. He stated that he has suggested to his Government that the British Ambassador at Washington be instructed to say to the President or the Secretary that it would be helpful if the Government of the United States would intimate to the Soviet Government that it would welcome such a shift.7 The principal argument put forward by the British and French Ambassadors apparently was that it is in the immediate self-interest of the Soviet Government to prevent German domination in Europe as it has been reported by British and French agents in Germany that once the Allied forces operating in Europe have been disposed of Germany will turn against the Soviet Union. Molotov apparently did not reject the argument.

The Ambassador also stated that he has discussed with the Turkish Ambassador here8 the advisability of the formation of a Soviet-Turkish association for the preservation of the status quo in the [Page 607] Balkans. The Turkish Ambassador seemingly acquiesced but pointed out that the present pro-German Government in Rumania would vitiate such an association and that moreover he is inclined to believe that the Soviet Government may decide this week to move against Bessarabia.9 Thurston.”

  1. See the memorandum of June 18 by the Under Secretary of State of a conversation with the British Ambassador, vol. iii, p. 321.
  2. Ali Haydar Aktay.
  3. For correspondence regarding the seizure of Bessarabia by the Soviet Union, see pp. 444 ff.