761.62/877: Telegram

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

521. During the past 2 weeks occasional reports have reached the Embassy of speeches made by Party officials at factory meetings in Moscow in which the speakers have alluded to the possibility of a conflict between the Soviet Union and Germany. Of perhaps greater significance is an alleged statement by “a Party official” at a meeting a few days ago implying that Germany is attempting to get control of the Dardanelles and that this would not be permitted. He is said to have declared that Germany is maintaining an army of one million men on the Soviet Union’s western frontier and to have warned his audience that the Soviet Union must be ready for any aggression.

All competent observers in Moscow remain convinced that the Soviet Union will not consider attacking a strong Germany and to the extent to which statements of the above character may be intended to prepare the population for eventualities they may be taken to indicate fear of a German attack. I do not believe, however, that they constitute [Page 133] in themselves any indication that such attack is believed to be imminent.