740.00119 E.W./9–644: Telegram

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

3346. Clark Kerr and I met tonight with the entire Soviet delegation to negotiate peace with Finland. They included Molotov, Dekanosov,75 Litvinov,76 Voroshilov,77 the Admiral [Commander?] of the Baltic Fleet78 and a Colonel General.79 The Soviet draft terms were read. As Clark Kerr is cabling them to London and Washington he agreed to ask the British Embassy in Washington to transmit them to the Department. Other than the reduction of the indemnity demanded as reported in my 3342, September 6, 3 p.m. there was only one surprise: the lease on Hango is to be relinquished but a 50 year lease of an area for a new naval base is to be substituted. This is to be the Porkkala-Udd Peninsula and adjacent islands lying between Hango and Helsinki directly opposite Tallinn. Marshal Voroshilov stated that the Soviet Government intended to have a base on both sides of the Finnish Gulf at this point which would give them control of the approaches to Leningrad. He explained that the lease of this peninsula would be less objectionable to the Finns than Hango as it did not include a commercial port.

The Petsamo area80 which is to be “returned to the Soviet Union” has a maximum depth from the sea of about 125 miles. This brings the Soviet frontier to Norway from the Arctic Ocean down to the southernmost point of the Norwegian frontier in this area. The line then runs [Page 619] roughly south by south southeast until it hits the former Soviet border at about the sixty-eighth parallel. Finland is to cede this territory with its industries free of all claims and is to undertake to compensate foreign interests for the loss of their properties.

The other terms follow closely the proposed Rumanian armistice although the document is defined as a peace treaty. The Allied Control Commission will operate until cessation of the war against Germany.

Molotov raised no objection to the British Ambassador’s proposal that he arrange with the Finnish delegation for a break of all relations with Japan.

In response to my question Molotov said that it was not the intention to exchange diplomatic representatives until the termination of the war against Germany and I inferred from this that political representatives of other governments of the United Nations would not be welcome, although the establishment of consulates would, I assume, be permitted.

The Finnish delegation which is expected to arrive tomorrow (Thursday) consists of Premier Hackzell, Minister of War Walden,81 Chief of Staff Hendricks,82 Lieutenant General Enkel,83 Colonel Paasonen, in addition to a group of experts.

As discussions with them are expected to start promptly, any comments, even preliminary, on the Soviet proposal which the Department wishes me to make should be transmitted without delay. I am particularly anxious to know the Department’s attitude regarding American political or military representation in Finland84 and its attitude toward the Soviet proposal to have the Finns compensate American interests for the loss of their interests in the Petsamo area. I ask also instructions whether or not you wish me to attend the negotiations with the Finns as an observer.

  1. Vladimir Georgiyevich Dekanozov, Assistant Peopled Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  2. Maxim Maximovich Litvinov, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  3. Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov, Marshal of the Soviet Union; member of the Politburo, Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party; and member (until November 1944) of the Supreme State Defense Committee of the Soviet Union.
  4. Adm. Vladimir Filippovich Tributs; replaced by Rear Adm. A. P. Alesandrov about September 15.
  5. Col. Gen. Sergey Matveyevich Shtemenko, a Red Army staff officer.
  6. Given “for perpetuity” by Soviet Russia to Finland by article 4 of the Treaty of Dorpat (Tartu) of October 14, 1920, between Finland and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic; for text of treaty, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. iii, p. 5.
  7. Karl R. Walden, Minister of Defense.
  8. Gen. A. Erik Heinrichs.
  9. Lt. Gen. Oscar Enckell.
  10. See pp. 624 ff.