Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

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

top secret

Personal and Top Secret for the eyes of the President only from Harriman.

General Deane and I had a long session this evening with Marshal Stalin and General Antonov on the subject of detailed planning for Soviet participation and cooperation in the Pacific war. Stalin gave us in considerably greater detail the Soviet strategy indicating quite frankly his weakness in certain areas in the event of premature attack by Japan and on the other hand outlining his general plans for a strong land offense to encircle and knock out the Japanese forces in Manchuria. General Deane will send a fuller cable to the Chiefs of Staff2 and I will report to you and them on my return.

One subject that he asks be given urgent consideration is cooperation from us in the build up of supplies and equipment in the Far East through Pacific ports prior to the outbreak of hostilities. He gave us the detailed list of requirements for both ground forces and tactical and strategic air forces for two months’ stocking of certain items and provision of necessary equipment totaling in all about a million tons. Other supplies he is planning to stock from the west. He will let us know within two weeks when he wishes the flow of 4-engine bombers and training of his crews to begin. He unqualifiedly asserted that this strategic air force would be built up for use only in the Far East. He hopes for help from our Navy and specifically offered us the use of Petropavlovsk as a base. He is prepared to proceed with detailed planning of all aspects of our mutual cooperation ground, air and naval and agreed to authorize his army and navy staffs to proceed accordingly with our military mission in Moscow.

He emphasized the need for secrecy and the mutual disadvantage of arousing prematurely Japanese suspicions. He referred to Harry’s3 talk with Gromyko regarding a meeting with you in the latter part of November and said that you and he could then come to a definite agreement on the political as well as the military aspects. In the meantime he agreed that planning should proceed preparatory to your meeting.

He generally approved our Chiefs of Staff’s suggestions presented by Deane for Russian role in the war although he placed greater immediate emphasis on the action of his ground forces. He is evidently already beginning to strengthen his forces in the Far East. [Page 371]He showed that he had clearly grasped Deane’s presentation of our general strategy and expressed approval and appreciation. He spoke emphatically about his determination to assist in ending the war quickly and said “Break Japan’s spine”. I plan to leave Thursday morning and with a break in the weather should arrive in Washington early Saturday morning, Oct 21.

  1. Sent by the United States Naval Attaché, Moscow, via Navy channels.
  2. Infra.
  3. Hopkins. See Sherwood, pp. 844–845.