102.78/3295: Telegram

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

403. The following is the concluding portion of the Embassy’s 395, May 13, 6 p.m.77 All indications are that the food position is serious and that were it not for the power of endurance of the Russian people the outlook might well be little short of desperate. Given a good crop year harvesting losses will still be abnormally high owing to shortage of labor, machinery, spare parts, and draft animals. From the immediate point of view which of course relates solely to the war effort, the feeding of the army is paramount. Thus far it has been well fed and the iron control of the regime over the population makes it reasonable to anticipate that the army and essential workers can continue to be adequately fed no matter what suffering or even starvation may ensue behind the lines. If yields this year are good the country should [Page 442] pull through, barring an unforeseeable breakdown in transport and organization, or unpredictable military developments.

  1. Not printed; along with statistics on crop acreages and some description of agricultural conditions, Ambassador Standley drew attention to the admission appearing in the Soviet press since the beginning of March of the utilization of women as the main working force in agriculture, including mechanical personnel. (102.78/3279)