740.0011 European War 1939/12040: Telegram

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

1138. The British Chargé d’Affaires told me this morning that in the course of a conversation on June 11 between Eden and the Soviet Ambassador the latter had stated that no conversations were in progress between the Soviet and German Governments. While there might have been economic discussions for the extension of existing commitments Maisky was reasonably certain that no negotiations of major importance were under way.

Baggallay added he assumed that one of the objects of Eden’s talks with Maisky had been to prepare the ground for a discussion of Soviet-British relations on Cripps’ arrival at London39 but that he personally could see little to discuss other than Soviet Baltic ships and gold in return for which the Soviets had promised “more friendly atmosphere”. Baggallay expressed the opinion that Soviet fear of Germany was so great that such a transaction would only result in the Soviet Government’s [sic] obtaining its objective and as usual doing nothing in return, and said he thought that the British Foreign Office had by now learned the futility of appeasing the Soviet Government as long as the dominating factor in Soviet policy continued to be fear of Germany.

While not disposed to place too much reliance on the accuracy of statements made by Soviet Ambassadors the foregoing tends to confirm my impression that notwithstanding the rumors and sensational newspaper reports emanating from neutral capitals no major Soviet-Turkish, Soviet-German or Soviet-British negotiations are at present in progress.

  1. Cripps arrived on June 11.