The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Roosevelt 50

Personal for the President. Stalin gave a lunch today to the Prime Minister lasting in all about 4 hours whch combined some enthusiastic speeches at lunch and interesting private discussions afterward. As I sat next to Stalin I had an opportunity to talk with him and to hear his conversations with Churchill. These confirmed my feeling that if we can get the matters in which we are interested direct to him satisfactory agreements can be reached.

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He paid sincere tribute to you personally, to the value of the collaboration between our three countries and to the importance of cementing our relations for the future. Churchill and Stalin had agreed last night to send you daily a joint telegram of their talks. Churchill prepared a draft of last night’s discussions which is now being sent you with certain modifications by Stalin. The most important change Stalin made related to the Balkans.

I have not the message before me but after the sentence that tells of their talks regarding the Balkan countries Churchill had included the words “having regard to our varying duty towards them.”

The implication of this phrase was clearly a recognition of a sphere of influence of Russia and Britain in the several countries. Stalin crossed this phrase out and Churchill agreed.

After lunch talking across Churchill I told Stalin that you would be very glad that he had eliminated this phrase as you believed that all questions should be dealt with by the three of us. Stalin said he was glad to hear this and reaching behind Churchill’s back shook my hand.

Molotov confessed to Eden that Tito had recently visited Moscow. Churchill thereupon expressed to Stalin his surprise at Tito’s visit without informing the British and explained that he would have heartily endorsed it if he had known in advance. Stalin replied cryptically that it was “a folly” on Tito’s part but that it was nationally characteristic of the Yugoslavs to be secretive and suspicious.

Stalin gave Churchill no explanation of why the Russians had concealed the visit from the British.

I am dining with Churchill tonight and he has asked me to give him the Chiefs of Staff’s cable to Deane on the Pacific War preparatory to his talk with Stalin on this subject. I am going to try to persuade him not to do anything that would jeopardize the agreement we have reached with Stalin regarding staff talks between Deane and the Bed Army Staff.

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y. A paraphrase of this telegram is in the Department files under 741.6111/10–1144.