124.61/182: Telegram

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

The entire American personnel of the Embassy was evacuated yesterday to the Dacha which had been prepared for that purpose. The necessary tents have been erected and a mess organized. The Embassy is prepared to function there but we will continue to work daily in Moscow as long as conditions permit.97 A calm atmosphere has prevailed in Moscow since the outbreak of hostilities, although the customary war measures have been taken including general mobilization in the western part of the Soviet Union and the establishment of martial law in the same area and the restriction of gasoline sales. Heavy pressure has developed on the food stores which I ascribe to a natural tendency to hoard rather than to any present shortage. I am endeavoring today to arrange with the Soviet authorities for transportation on the Trans-Siberian in the hope that I may be able to send out most of the clerical personnel, retaining only a skeleton staff. This would relieve the burden of food stocks and make for greater mobility. The first war communiqué states that the German Army attacked from the Baltic to the Black Sea and that the attack was held at all points except Grodno and Khristynopol, where slight advances of 10 to 15 kilometers were made. It also states that 65 German planes were shot down while attacking Soviet airfields. A fairly lengthy summary of Churchill’s speech,98 and another of the President’s message99 are published. After some delay, the Department’s telegrams and others are being received by the Embassy.

  1. On June 22, 1941, all the papers of the American Embassy were destroyed by burning, covering happenings since the establishment of relations in 1933 ( Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, pp. 1 ff.), except for a small quantity previous to 1938, which had already been sent to the National Archives in Washington.
  2. Winston Spencer Churchill, British Prime Minister. His speech of June 22, 1941, is printed in the New York Times, June 23, 1941, p. 8.
  3. For the statement of June 23, 1941, by Acting Secretary of State Welles, which President Roosevelt supported, see telegram No. 836, June 23, 1941, to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, p. 767; or Department of State Bulletin, June 28, 1941, p. 755.