740.00119 E.W./9–1444: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

7620. In a further talk with Warner91 on the Russian-Finnish terms (see our 7588, September 14, 8 p.m.92), we learned that Molotov quite unexpectedly told Clark Kerr yesterday that it had been decided to cover the terms with Finland in a single armistice document free of any peace-term provisions, even of a preliminary character.

The Russians, Warner went on to say, had been told earlier that if peace terms of any nature were included in the armistice document, then the Foreign Office would have to consult the Dominions and India as a preliminary step to their signing along with the United Kingdom Government.93 When Molotov told Clark Kerr that it had been decided to limit the terms to a single armistice document, he explained that this had been done in order to simplify the signing. If, he continued, a document containing both armistice and peace [Page 622] terms would, in the British view, have to be signed by the Dominions and India as well, then in the Russian view, the constituent Soviet Republics would also have to sign.94 It was to avoid all this, Molotov said, that the simpler form of document had been chosen.

This issue, the signing of agreements and conventions by the constituent Soviet Republics, Warner continued, would no doubt keep recurring.

Warner also told us that Clark Kerr had informed the Foreign Office that he had definitely determined that the proposal put forward by Dekanozov95 for meeting foreign interest claims in the Petsamo area was a firm offer. Clark Kerr also reported that the Russian insistence on treating an agreement as outlined by Dekanozov as a private one between the two Governments had been withdrawn. The way is therefore open, Warner added, to an approach to companies and firms with interests within this area. This will be done with a view to determining the value of these holdings and to drawing up an agreement with the Russian Government covering all the details of the proposal.

  1. Sir Christopher F. A. Warner, Head of the Northern Department, British Foreign Office.
  2. Not printed; this telegram reported that the British Foreign Office had put three requirements to the Soviet Government for an armistice with Finland: 1) exclusion of long-term peace arrangements from the armistice agreement; 2) provision for direct contact between British representatives on the Allied Control Commission and Finnish authorities; and 3) a solution to the question of compensating foreign property interests in the Petsamo District.
  3. The Governments of the British Dominions and India had declared war on the Axis States and their cobelligerents, acts which qualified them for participation in peace negotiations. For declarations of war, see Department of State Bulletin, November 20, 1943, pp. 349 ff.
  4. According to a law of February 1, 1944, passed by the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union, the sixteen constituent Soviet republics technically enjoyed the “right … to conclude … agreements and exchange diplomatic and consular representations” with foreign states; see U.S.S.R., Sbornik deystvuyushchikh dogovorov, soglasheniy i konventsiy, zaklyuchennykh SSSR s inostrannymi gosudarstvami, vol. xi, (Moscow, 1955), p. 196.
  5. According to telegram 7588 of September 14, 8 p.m., from London (not printed), Dekanozov proposed that the Soviet Government pay the British interests $20 million “as compensation for foreign interests in the Petsamo area, this amount to come from the indemnity which is to be paid by the Finns.” (740.00119 European War 1939/9–1444)