740.0011 European War 1939/25069

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State


The Soviet Ambassador called to see me this afternoon.…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For the first time during six months the Ambassador spoke to me with measured optimism regarding the military position of the Soviet armies. He stated that he believed Stalingrad would hold, provided Great Britain and the United States could make available immediately to the Soviet a sufficient number of fighter planes in order to make it possible for the Soviet, armies to have some cover over Stalingrad against the German dive bomber. He asked if I would speak to the President about this and added that he intended seeing Harry Hopkins about this matter. I told him I would be very glad to talk with the President about it and that I did not have to assure the Ambassador that any form of assistance which we could possibly make available to the Soviet Government would be forthcoming.

As the Ambassador was leaving, I asked him if he was going to speak in Boston this week. He replied that he was going to make no speeches whatever. He said he felt that if he spoke to the public at [Page 460] all, he would have to mention the much ventilated question of the second front and that he believed it expedient for him to say nothing whatever on that subject.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. The omitted portion concerns a discussion of the situation within Germany.