861.9111/493: Telegram

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


790. For the Acting Secretary. There follows my third interpretive report on developments in Soviet policy as reflected in the press for the period January 29 to March 9 for distribution as suggested in my 2215 December 14, 2 p.m.:85

Report begins, No. 3:

Since the last report frequent tribute has been paid in public speeches and other press reports to the collaboration of the three powers established at Moscow and Teheran, notwithstanding the developments which have caused suspicion and concern in the U.S. over Soviet intentions. Extensive figures on lend-lease aid, reference to the approaching joint attack on the common enemy, and greater attention to the Pacific war have been featured in the press. Stalin in his order of the day to the Red Army reaffirmed the unity of interest of the three great powers and ridiculed Nazi efforts to negotiate a separate peace with any of them.

On the other hand the press has attacked with great violence the Polish Government in London and others who do not applaud Soviet policy. In weighing the significance of these articles it is well to bear in mind the technique the Soviet press has developed during the revolutionary period which cannot be accused of the the use of understatement and does not comprehend a balanced appraisal of any subject.86

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[Page 837]
The extension to the constituent republics of autonomous powers in the fields of defense and foreign affairs was presented as an implementation of the Lenin–Stalin nationality policy and as evidence of the strength of the Soviet Union and the coming of age of the member republics. War and the Working Class denied vigorously that the new move sought to pave the way for either an expansionist or isolationist policy as was variously charged in the foreign press, and contended that it was a logical step in the direction of world collaboration.
The Pan-Slav appeal continued to be featured, emphasizing the unity of all Slavs in the battle against the historic enemy, German imperialism.

. . . . . . .

Reporting of the Pacific war was extended and received more attention than operations in Italy. The Soviet press revealed increasing admiration for American actions in that theater and devoted more space to news items indicating the growing difficulties faced by the Japanese and the desperate measures being taken against them. War and the Working Class in a long review of the Pacific war stated that the Japanese were confronted by the alternative of permitting the Allies to approach important key defense points or of risking decisive battle. It predicted that more decisive actions lie ahead.
More than the usual limited coverage was accorded events in Latin America. Only United States viewpoint toward developments was presented. A long article in War and the Working Class criticizes pro-Fascist elements in Latin America which are interfering with the prosecution of the war.
Domestic propaganda during the month was centered around the celebration of the 26th Anniversary of the Red Army. Stalin’s Order of the Day and the party slogans paid tribute to the army for its great accomplishments during the past year, credited it with bearing the main burden of the war and urged it on to perfection of tactics and unremitting struggle for complete and final victory. A new drive for contributions to the army fund was begun.

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  1. Not printed; but see telegram 2214 of December 14, 1943, from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, p. 608.
  2. Ambassador Harriman commented further in his telegram 875 of March 16: “We have a long and perhaps difficult road while the Soviets learn how to behave in the civilized world community. Effective results can I believe be obtained by taking a firm position when they take improper steps. If we don’t follow this procedure now in connection with each incident we may well look forward to a Soviet policy of playing the part of a world bully.

    We must of course be prepared to exercise patience, but forbearance is a sign of weakness to these people. They respect firmness even though they may not fully understand the reasons behind it.” (865.01/2208)