740.0011 European War 1939/10825: Telegram

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

948. In the course of a conversation with the German Ambassador last night he categorically stated to me that the closing of the Norwegian, [Page 142] Belgian, and Yugoslav Missions in Moscow was not “at the suggestion or request of the German Government or myself”. He expressed the opinion that recognition might be withdrawn from the Greek Legation as the Greek Government still exists on Greek soil. He also told me that the Soviet Government is indicating a desire to “cooperate” with Germany and that while he anticipated “tedious negotiations” he did not anticipate “trouble”.

The Italian Ambassador66 told me that he considered Stalin’s assumption of the post of Prime Minister67 and the withdrawal of recognition of these Missions constitutes an admission by Stalin that Soviet policy has erred during the past 2 months in opposing Germany. He considers the closing of the Missions to be the first of a series of steps to curry favor with Germany.

  1. Augusto Rosso.
  2. Stalin took over the office of President (Chairman) of the Council of People’s Commissars on May 6, 1941. See telegrams No. 922, May 7, and No. 934, May 8, from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, pp. 613 and 615, respectively.