740.0011 European War 1939/352: Telegram

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

555. Personal for the Secretary and Under Secretary. The course of events since the signing of the Russian-German non-aggression pact2 culminating this morning with the invasion of Poland by Russian troops apparently along the whole Polish frontier convinces me that the recent understanding between Russia and Germany for the division of Poland (see my telegram No. 465, August 24, noon3) has reached the stage of active cooperation between the two countries. The alleged pretext for the present invasion should not be permitted to hide this unholy alliance.4 I do not believe that Russia desires or intends to take an active part in the war but in the [sharing of?] the spoils which she is about to seize must of necessity do everything within her power to assist her partner.

  1. Signed at Moscow on August 23, 1939; for text, with secret additional protocol, see Department of State, Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939–1941, p. 76; or Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, Series D, Vol. vii, p. 245. Regarding the improvement in German-Soviet relations which resulted in the conclusion of this treaty, see Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. i, pp. 312 ff.
  2. Ibid., p. 342.
  3. In regard to the note of September 17, 1939, from Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, to the Polish Ambassador, Waclaw Grzybowski, asserting that the Polish State and Government had ceased to exist and announcing that, in consequence, the Red army had been ordered to cross the frontier to take under protection the life and property of the population in the territory described as the Western Ukraine and Western White Russia, see telegram No. 551, September 17, 1939, from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, p. 782.