Moscow Embassy Files: Lot F–96

The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (Molotov) to the American Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Standley)

[Translation]74

Mr. Ambassador: I wish to inform you herewith of the following message from Premier I. V. Stalin to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“I wish to express to you my appreciation for your decision to send to the Soviet Union 200 transport airplanes.75

“With regard to the despatch of bombardment air units to the Far East I have already explained in former messages that we do not need air units but airplanes without aviators since we have more than sufficient aviators of our own. This in the first place. Secondly, we do not need your help in airplanes in the Far East where the U.S.S.R. is not in a state of war, but on the German-Soviet front where the need for air assistance is especially sharp.

“Your proposal that General Bradley should inspect Russian military objectives in the Far East and in other parts of the Soviet Union has caused perplexity. It is surely known that Russian military objectives can only be inspected by Russian inspectors just as American [Page 621]military objectives can be inspected only by American inspectors. In this regard it is impossible to permit any kind of obscurity.76

“With respect to General Marshall’s trip to the U.S.S.R. I must say that the mission of General Marshall is not entirely clear to me. Please explain to me the object and tasks of this trip in order that I may seriously take the question under consideration and give you my answer.

“My colleagues are perplexed over the fact that operations in North Africa77 have slowed up and that they have slowed up, one is saying, not for a short period but for a long time. Could I not receive from you some explanation of this question.”

I have telegraphed the above message to Mr. Litvinov for transmission to Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Please accept [etc.]

V. Molotov
  1. File translation revised by the editors.
  2. See note No. L–28, January 10, from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union ta Foreign Commissar Molotov, p. 740.
  3. The following statement appears in Department of Defense, The Entry of the Soviet Union into the War Against Japan: Military Plans, 1941–1945, p. 16: “As a result of this reply, the Bradley survey was called off. For the time being consideration of using air bases in Siberia for bombing missions against Japan was dropped. The Soviet attitude also made unlikely the possibility of establishing in the near future a northern route of approach to Japan via the Aleutians, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Kurile Islands. Nevertheless, the potential use of the northern route remained a factor in United States military planning.”
  4. For correspondence regarding the situation in North Africa, see vol. ii, pp. 23 ff.