761.94/1253: Telegram

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



. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The halt in the Soviet-German negotiations appears to have been occasioned by considerably more than Schnurre’s casual reference in a conversation with me 3 days ago to “endless detail and Russian exactions in respect of unimportant matters.” The Soviets have been insistent in seeking a final adjustment of the problems affecting German interests which have arisen out of the seizure of the Baltic States2 by the Soviets (see my 13, January 5, 1 p.m.), and that while this [Page 118] subject will probably be amicably disposed of it has caused the present delay. I am also inclined to the view that the recent démarches by the Soviet Government to the United States and Great Britain with respect to the Baltic gold [and] ships constitute an attempt to offset German pressure with respect to German interests in the Baltic States, the Soviets entertaining the hope that concessions by the United States or Great Britain, or both, could be used to their advantage in dealing with the German demands. This view is supported by the Soviet endeavors to extract concessions from the United States and Great Britain by holding out the hope that such concessions will result in driving a wedge between the Soviet Union and Germany without any real intention at the present time on the part of the Soviet Government to depart from its policy of cooperation with Germany. Apparently the Soviet Government hopes by these means to gain concessions from the United States and Great Britain without giving anything in return other than the encouragement of wishful thinking.3

The halt in the Soviet-Rumanian negotiations4 appears to have been occasioned by an unwillingness of the Soviet Government to conclude these negotiations until its agreement with Germany has become effective, while at the same time giving evidence to the Rumanian Government of its displeasure with German domination of Rumania and for the further purpose of having the question of control of the mouths of the Danube determined according to the Soviet desire that they be exclusively under joint Soviet-Rumanian supervision.

  1. The first two paragraphs of this telegram are printed in vol. iv, p. 905.
  2. For correspondence concerning the forcible occupation of the Baltic States and their incorporation into the Soviet Union, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. i, pp. 357 ff.
  3. For correspondence regarding discussions of difficulties affecting relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, see pp. 667 ff.
  4. For correspondence on the interest shown by the United States in German and Soviet activities in the Balkan States, see pp. 272 ff.