Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

Marshal Stalin to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill 1


personal and secret

From Premier Stalin to Prime Minister Mr. W. Churchill and President Mr. F. D. Roosevelt.

I have received your joint message of August 19th.2

I entirely share your opinion and that of Roosevelt about the importance of a meeting between the three of us. In this connexion I beg you most earnestly to understand my position at this moment, when our armies are carrying on the struggle against the main forces of Hitler with the utmost strain and when Hitler not only does not withdraw a single division from our front but on the contrary has already succeeded in transporting, and continues to transport fresh divisions to Soviet-German front. At such a moment, in the opinion of all my colleagues, I cannot without detriment to our military operations leave the front for so distant a point as Fairbanks although if the situation on our front were different Fairbanks undoubtedly would be very convenient as a place for our meeting as I said before.

As regards a meeting of representatives of our states and in particular of representatives in charge of Foreign Affairs, I share your opinion about the expediency of such a meeting in the near future. This meeting however ought not to have a purely exploratory character but [Page 1175] a practicable and preparatory character in order that after that meeting has taken place our Governments are able to take definite decisions and thus that delay in the taking of decisions on urgent questions can be avoided. Therefore I consider it indispensable to revert to my proposal that it is necessary in advance to define the scope of questions for discussion by representatives of the Three Powers and to draft the proposals which ought to be discussed by them and presented to our Governments for final decision.

Yesterday I received from Sir A. Clark Kerr additions and corrections to your and Mr. Roosevelt’s message,3 in which you informed me about instructions sent to General Eisenhower in connexion with conditions of surrender worked out for Italy in negotiations with General Castellano. I and my colleagues think the instructions given General Eisenhower correspond entirely to the aim of unconditional surrender of Italy and therefore cannot lead to any objections on our part.

But I think the information so far received is quite insufficient in order to be able to judge what measures are necessary on the part of the Allies during negotiations with Italy. This circumstance confirms the necessity for participation of a Soviet Representative in taking decisions in the course of negotiations. Therefore I think that the time has fully come for establishment of a military-political commission of representatives of the three countries which I mentioned to you in my message of August 22nd.4

  1. As printed in Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. i, pp. 149–150, and vol. ii, pp. 85–86, this document is dated August 24, 1943, which was the final day of the First Quebec Conference; but it is placed here because it did not reach Roosevelt and Churchill until after the close of the Conference. The source text is headed: “The following message for the Prime Minister and the President was handed to the Foreign Office by the Soviet Chargé d’Affaires on the night of August 26th, 1943.” The channel through which the message was forwarded to Washington is not indicated. The Department of State delivered the text to the White House between 6 and 7 p.m. on August 26, and the White House Map Room forwarded it immediately to Roosevelt, who was then at Hyde Park, as telegram No. White 132.
  2. i.e., the message dispatched from Quebec on August 18, 1943, ante, pp. 1059, 1095.
  3. Ante, pp. 1062 (see especially fn. 1) and 1091.
  4. Ante, p. 1086. For Ambassador Standley’s recommendations to Hull and Roosevelt concerning the proposals contained in Stalin’s messages of August 22 and 24, 1943, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, pp. 567568.