861.24/1473: Telegram

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

518. Personal for the President and Secretary [from Davies].96 Last night Stalin handed to me a memorandum which reads in close paraphrase as follows:

“1. The expediting of shipment to the Soviet Union of equipment for the four oil refinery plants ordered in the United States.

Soviet orders placed with American firms for delivery to the Soviet Union of equipment for the four oil refinery plants complete with all the auxiliary equipment have been approved by the American Government.

The production of all the equipment in accordance with the Soviet specifications accepted by the American firms for the four plants [Page 759] mentioned above is to be completed before the end of June as it is provided for by the terms of delivery.

All the equipment to be transferred to ports and the loading on Soviet ships completed not later than July for plants numbers 1 and 2 and not later than August for plants numbers 3 and 4.

2. The increasing of delivery of components for aviation gasoline.

It is necessary to increase the shipment to the Soviet Union [of high?] octane components for aviation gasolines—iso octane or alky benzine—in every way so that beginning from June to the end of 1943 the monthly shipment to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from the United States of America may amount to not less than 22 to 25,000 tons of components.

3. Airplanes.

It is necessary that as many pursuit planes as possible be sent in an expeditious manner using to this effect every supply route.”

He stated that this memorandum was given to me by reason of our previous conversation. At that time he had said that there were three vital military necessities which he most needed for his military defense now. Hitler’s summer Russian offensive, he believed, might be most violent and desperate. When he first mentioned these necessities I told him that while it was out of my bailiwick I would be glad to take the matter up with you. Accordingly I conferred with Ambassador Standley and thereafter with General Burns, General Faymonville and through Admiral Standley with General Michela97 and they are all of the opinion that we should join in a recommendation to you to require immediate priority to secure as speedy compliance with these requests as physically possible.

The emphasis placed on the requests on both occasions indicates to me that great importance is attached to this matter. It would be helpful for me here if I could receive prompt acknowledgment setting forth your personal interest and disposition and anything that you could say consistent with your other commitments and your own judgment.

Will be leaving here shortly, immediately after receipt of formal reply to your letter.98 Proceeding direct home, respectfully and hastily. Davies.

  1. Joseph E. Davies was in Moscow on a special visit to Stalin for President Roosevelt between May 19 and 29; for correspondence concerning this visit, see pp. 646665, passim.
  2. Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Michela, Military Attaché in the Soviet Union.
  3. Reference is to President Roosevelt’s letter of May 5, 1943, to Premier Stalin, and Stalin’s reply; both letters are printed in Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, pp. 3 and 6, respectively.