The British Prime Minister (Churchill) to President Roosevelt 85

934. Your No.734.86

I am astounded that Stalin should have addressed to you a message so insulting to the honour of the United States and also of Great Britain. His Majesty’s Government cordially associate themselves with your reply and the War Cabinet have instructed me to send to Stalin the message in my immediately following.87
There is very little doubt in my mind that the Soviet leaders, whoever they may be, are surprised and disconcerted at the rapid advance of the Allied armies in the west and the almost total defeat of the enemy on our front especially as they say they are themselves in no position to deliver a decisive attack before the middle of May. All this makes it the more important that we should join hands with [Page 747] the Russian armies as far to the east as possible and if circumstances allow, enter Berlin.
I may remind you that we proposed and thought we had arranged six weeks ago provisional zones of occupation in Austria,88 but since Yalta the Russians have sent no confirmation of these zones. Now that they are on the eve of taking Vienna89 and very likely will occupy the whole of Austria, it may well be prudent for us to hold as much as possible in the north.
We must always be anxious lest the brutality of the Russian messages does not foreshadow some deep change of policy for which they are preparing. On the whole I incline to think it is no more than their natural expression when vexed or jealous. For that very reason I deem it of the highest importance that a firm and blunt stand should be made at this juncture by our two countries in order that the air may be cleared and they realize that there is a point beyond which we will not tolerate insult. I believe this is the best chance of saving the future. If they are ever convinced that we are afraid of them and can be bullied into submission, then indeed I should despair of our future relations with them and much else.
  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y.
  2. Not printed. This message of April 4 transmitted to the Prime Minister the message of April 3 from Marshal Stalin to President Roosevelt, p. 742, and President Roosevelt’s reply of April 4, supra. (Copy obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.)
  3. Not printed. Prime Minister Churchill’s message to Marshal Stalin can be found in Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War: Triumph and Tragedy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1953), pp. 449–451.
  4. For documentation on the negotiation in the European Advisory Commission of the agreement regarding zones of occupation in Austria, see pp. 1 ff.
  5. Russian troops entered Vienna on April 7.