740.0011 European War 1939/9592: Telegram

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

667. In the course of conversation last night with Sobolev,47 the Secretary General of the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, who was more communicative than usual, he expressed the view that the situation in the Balkans had reached a crisis and that “something would happen within the next few days”. He remarked that the Yugoslavs were good fighters and that he expected them to defend themselves unless internal dissension prevented an organized defense.

When I remarked that I assumed he had heard the rumors of a possible German attack on the Soviet Union he replied that not only would such an attack be “madness” but that he could not conceive of any reason therefor as “this was no time” for the Germans to create a second front. When I replied that the German attack on Stavanger, Bergen and Narvik could have been considered “madness” and that there was no “front” in western Europe he remarked that he still could find no “adequate reason” for a German attack on the Soviet Union particularly with “conditions as they are in the Balkans”.

  1. Arkady Alexandrovich Sobolev.