The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to Mr. Harry L. Hopkins, Special Assistant to President Roosevelt 1

Personal for Harry Hopkins. I feel that I should report to the President at the earliest convenient time and place. Now that the end of the war is in sight our relations with the Soviets have taken a startling turn evident during the last 2 months. They have held up our requests with complete indifference to our interests and have shown an unwillingness even to discuss pressing problems.

We started the proposal for winter program for Frantic2 at the end of June and formally presented it to the Foreign Office in early July. No acknowledgement even of my letters or numerous talks has been received. All requests for PR3 unit have been unacted upon for the last several weeks. Prior to that time they were operating several a day. No answer or permission to transport trucks to our Air Forces in China has been received. There has been no reply to our request presented a week ago followed by urgent conversation with Molotov to allow General Eaker’s4 bombing appraisal party to visit Ploesti.5 The Soviets indifference to world opinion regarding their unbending policy toward Poland and ruthless attitude toward the uprising in Warsaw6 are best described by Molotov’s statement that the Soviets would judge their friends by those that accept the Soviet position. [Page 989] In spite of Stalin’s promises no action has been taken on major future planning. These are only a few examples.

I have been conscious since early in the year of a division among Stalin’s advisors on the question of cooperation with us. It is now my feeling that those who oppose the kind of cooperation we expect have recently been getting their way and the policy appears to be crystallizing to force us and the British to accept all Soviet policies backed by the strength and prestige of Red Army.

Demands on us are becoming insistent. You have seen a part of it in the negotiations over financial terms of the Protocol in Washington.7 We have other examples here. The general attitude seems to be that it is our obligation to help Russia and accept her policies because she has won the war for us.

I am convinced that we can divert this trend but only if we materially change our policy toward the Soviet Government. I have evidence that they have misinterpreted our generous attitude toward them as a sign of weakness, and acceptance of their policies.

Time has come when we must make clear what we expect of them as the price of our good will. Unless we take issue with the present policy there is every indication the Soviet Union will become a world bully wherever their interests are involved. This policy will reach into China and the Pacific as well when they can turn their attention in that direction. No written agreement[s] can be of any value unless they are carried out in a spirit of give and take and recognition of the interests of other people.

I am disappointed but not discouraged. The job of getting the Soviet Government to play a decent role in international affairs is however going to be more difficult than we had hoped. The favorable factors are still the same. Ninety percent of the Russian people want friendship with us and it is much to the interest of the Soviet Government to develop it. It is our problem to strengthen the hand of those around Stalin who want to play the game along our lines and to show Stalin that the advice of the counselors of a tough policy is leading him into difficulties.

I realize I cannot in a cable convey to you a fully comprehensible picture of the perplexing developments. However what I say is fully endorsed by General Deane, the Air Officers here and the Embassy Officers.

The relation of Deane and our other Officers with the Red Air Force are good. The Soviet Officers have shown embarrassment at the attitude expressed through the Foreign Office. The influences that [Page 990] I speak of are as unpopular with this group as with us. When it comes to the question of what we should do in dealing with the situation I am not going to propose any drastic action but a firm but friendly quid pro quo attitude. In some cases where it has been possible for us to show a firm hand we have been making definite progress.

I feel that I should urgently report personally to the President these recent developments and my recommendations. I would appreciate your discussing this message with the President and advising me.

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.
  2. The code name for England-to-the-Soviet Union air-shuttle bombing operations.
  3. Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft.
  4. Lt. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces.
  5. The oil fields around Ploesti had been bombed by airplanes of the 15th Army Air Force on June 6, 9, and 13, 1944.
  6. The bitter fighting carried on inside Warsaw against the German occupying army through 63 days between August 1 and October 3, 1944, by the Polish Home Army forces and the population of the city under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Tadeusz Komorowski (General Bor). For correspondence on the attempts of the United States and British Governments to furnish assistance to the underground forces, and their unsuccessful attempts to secure the helpful participation of the Soviet Government, see vol. iii, pp. 13721398.
  7. For correspondence regarding continuation of wartime assistance from the United States for the Soviet Union, and consideration of a supplementary agreement to enable the extension of aid for postwar reconstruction and credits, see pp. 1032 ff.