861.00 Supreme Soviet/27: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Thurston) to the Secretary of State

337. My 336, March 29, 4 p.m.31 Molotov spoke for an hour on Soviet foreign policy this evening at a meeting of the Supreme Soviet and while an analysis of his remarks must await the publication of the full text his speech was generally regarded as moderate with emphasis on the “neutrality” of the Soviet Union in the present war. He spoke of Soviet-German friendship and the mutual advantages which will result from the development of trade following the conclusion of the economic agreement in February.32 His remarks in regard to England and France, while critical were more in the nature of complaints of hostile treatment without just cause. Fully half of his speech was devoted to a review along previous lines of the Finnish-Soviet conflict and in citing the aid received by Finland stated that “even such a lover of peace as the United States sent military supplies.” He said that when Finland proposed peace the People’s Government was consulted which after expressing assent dissolved itself. He reiterated Soviet objections to the proposal for a defensive alliance between Sweden and Norway and Finland and stated that Finnish participation therein would not only be in contravention of Article III but of the entire peace treaty33 and warned Finland and the Scandinavian countries against any policy of “revanche.”

In regard to the Near East and Balkans he said that recently the foreign press had been manifesting suspicious interest in Soviet frontiers in the region of the Caucasus and with Rumania and stated that the anti-Soviet implications of the concentration of the Anglo-French army under General Weygand in the Near East had forced the Soviet Union to take counter measures for defense. In the only reference to Turkey he stated that Soviet-Turkish relations remain unchanged and mentioned that the Soviet Union has a nonaggression pact with both Turkey34 and Iran.35 In regard to Rumania he stated that no [Page 192] such pact exists since the question of Bessarabia remains unsolved adding that while the Soviet Union had never recognized Rumania’s possession of Bessarabia the question of its restitution by force had not been raised and there was therefore no obstacle to normal relations with Rumania. In a brief reference to Japan Molotov stated that great satisfaction cannot be expressed over present relations.

Molotov stated that relations with the United States36 had not changed, leaving aside the moral embargo which is still in force despite the conclusion of peace with Finland. He added that Soviet imports from the United States were greater in 1939 than in the previous year and that the Soviet Union was prepared to buy even more if the American authorities would not place obstacles in the way.37

In conclusion he outlined Soviet policy as follows:

Neutrality and non-participation in the European war;
Opposition to the extension of the war; and
Continued efforts to strengthen the defenses and safeguard the frontiers of the Soviet Union.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The commercial agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union signed on February 11, 1940, is described in a German Foreign Office memorandum dated February 26; Department of State, Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939–1941 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1948), p. 131.
  3. Treaty of Peace between Finland and the Soviet Union signed at Moscow on March 12, 1940; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, April 27, 1940, p. 453, or Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, The Finnish Blue Book (Philadelphia, 1940), p. 115.
  4. Treaty of Neutrality and Mutual Nonaggression signed at Paris on December 17, 1925, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clvii, p. 353; prolonged by protocols signed on December 17, 1929, ibid., p. 360; on October 30, 1931, ibid., p. 366; and finally on November 7, 1935, for 10 years, ibid., vol. cxxxix, p. 127.
  5. Treaty of Guarantee and Neutrality signed at Moscow on October 1, 1927, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cxii, p. 275.
  6. For difficulties affecting relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, see pp. 244 ff.
  7. Regarding trade and the renewal of the commercial agreement with the Soviet Union by an exchange of notes signed on August 6, 1940, see pp. 441 ff.