Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the President 1

top secret

Personal and Top Secret for the President from Harriman.

I had a satisfactory talk with Churchill last night regarding the proposed conversations with Stalin about the Far East. We have agreed subject to your approval that there should be a meeting on Friday2 afternoon with Stalin and his military on one side and Churchill Brooke Ismay General Deane and myself on the other. Churchill is agreed that the primary objective of the talk should be for us to draw Stalin out on the broader subjects raised by the Chiefs of Staff in their cable to Deane 3 namely how soon after the collapse of Germany Stalin will be ready to take active measures against Japan and in general what Russia’s capabilities will be. I believe that we can get from Stalin out of this meeting a general picture of the Soviet position which will be a useful preliminary to detailed conversations to follow between General Deane and the Red Army Staff. I believe you will wish it understood however that these subsequent conversations are to be Soviet-American and not three cornered, the British being kept informed. The Prime Minister is anxious to know from you how far he can go in outlining our general Pacific strategy. He feels that Stalin would wish to know in general at least about our intentions since we are asking for his. I am satisfied that such a meeting with Stalin at the present time as described above will develop information of great importance that cannot be obtained in any other way at the present time and will materially assist rather than interfere with Deane’s subsequent conversations. Churchill will of course make plain to Stalin that although the British will participate fully in the Pacific the planning is now primarily an American responsibility. I recommend that you approve the conversation outlined above.

  1. Sent by the United States Naval Attaché, Moscow, via Navy channels.
  2. October 13. The meeting under reference actually took place on the evening of October 14. See post, pp. 364 368.
  3. Not printed.