740.0011 European War 1939/19695: Telegram

The Second Secretary of Embassy in the Soviet Union (Thompson) to the Secretary of State

46. For Stettinius34 from Faymonville.35

Reference your 38, February 17, 11 a.m.36 As Colonel Michela37 and Captain Park38 were unavoidably delayed in reaching Moscow, their visit to front was postponed and they have returned to Kuibyshev to participate there in Red Army Anniversary observances February 23. They are expected in Moscow again shortly. I have been promised that on their forthcoming trip to front, their itinerary will be similar to that which Lieutenant General MacFarlane, Chief of British. Military Mission, was permitted to follow.
At suggestion of Minister Thurston, I request that all personnel of our organization ordered to Soviet Union be informed before departure from the United States that it is a violation of Soviet law to bring rubles into the Union. In view of the present willingness of the [Page 418] Soviet Government to accord certain exchange privileges39 to American diplomatic representatives on the understanding that Soviet currency will not be obtained illegally it is especially necessary that this law be strictly observed.
Please inform General Leeth as the following points seem to me important in estimate of military situation:
  • First, German Army is withdrawing with enough material and personnel to form nucleus of strong striking force in April. If this nucleus is augmented, as expected here by 4 months’ production of German munitions industry and 700,000 men, German striking force will be able to deliver a blow equal to that of June 22 on either northern or White Russian or Ukrainian front but probably not on two fronts simultaneously;
  • Second, Soviet forces can continue drive at present rate through spring and undoubtedly plan to do so. Manpower can be raised and trained to make good any probable losses. Hand arms and ammunition can be provided for newly raised Soviet armies. Aircraft, tanks, artillery and more technical classes of equipment not yet being replaced by Soviet munitions industry at same rate as destruction and no prospect of equalling destruction rate for many months;
  • Third, no possibility that additional obligations can be assumed by Red Army in the Far East without critically weakening western armies;
  • Fourth, Russian General Staff believes that Hitlerism can be defeated on Russian front and probably more quickly and decisively than elsewhere, but to finish in 1942 immediate supply of munitions items must be increased and Soviet munitions industry must be strongly supported. Principal requirements in finished items remain tanks, planes, antiaircraft and antitank guns and ammunition;
  • Fifth, morale of Red Army is high and no sign of weakening even in face of losses. Civilian backing is strong, in spite of new taxes, less food, and more difficult economic situation. Concentration on plans to liberate occupied territory has brought greater unity of political thought and patriotic effort than at any time in modern Russian history;
  • Sixth, feeling is prevalent that sacrifices of Red Army are not appreciated abroad, that an equal amount of fortitude shown in Malaya and Africa would have reduced materially the threat against Allied interests, that in the common effort against Hitlerism, the greatest burdens have fallen on the Russian people and that Russian desires to restore boundaries of 1941 are not sympathetically understood by Allies abroad who should be the first to acknowledge their justice.
  • [Faymonville]
  • Thompson
  1. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Lend-Lease Administrator.
  2. Col., later Brig. Gen., Philip R. Faymonville, Head of the American Supply Mission in the Soviet Union, Lend-Lease representative.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Col., later Brig. Gen., Joseph A. Michela, Military Attaché in the Soviet Union.
  5. Capt., later Maj., Richard Park, Jr., Assistant Military Attaché in the Soviet Union.
  6. A special exchange rate for diplomatic representatives of 12 rubles for $1 went into effect on March 18, 1941. See telegrams No. 538, March 19, 1941, and No. 707, April 8, 1941, from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, pp. 871 and 875, respectively.