Roosevelt Papers

Marshal Stalin to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill

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.3

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 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.

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

  1. As printed in Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. ii, p. 85, this document is dated August 24, 1943. 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 by the British Foreign Office to the White House at Washington is not indicated. The message was further forwarded by the White House to Roosevelt, who was at Hyde Park August 26–30, 1943.
  2. Message sent from Quebec on August 18, 1943, ante, p. 20.
  3. The translation of the final clause of this sentence in Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. ii, p. 85, reads “as I indeed thought before.” The translation by the American Embassy at Moscow of Molotov’s note of August 24, 1943, which transmitted the text of the message for the Embassy’s information, employs the phrase, “as I considered it before.” There is no written evidence of Stalin’s previous mention of Fairbanks, although he appears to have suggested Fairbanks orally to Davies. See ante, p. 7, footnote 3.