The Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissar of the Soviet Union (Stalin) to President Roosevelt 95

I have received your message of April 5th [4th].

In my message of April 3 I spoke not about honesty and dependability. I never doubted your honesty and dependability, as well as the honesty and dependability of Mr. Churchill. I speak about the fact that in the course of this correspondence between us has been revealed a difference of opinions as to what can an Ally allow himself to do in respect to the other Ally and what he should not allow himself to do. We, Russians, believe that in the present situation at the [Page 750] fronts when the enemy is confronted by the inevitability of capitulation, at any meeting with the Germans on questions of capitulation by representatives of one of the Allies arrangements have to be made for the participation in this meeting of representatives of the other Ally. At any rate this is absolutely necessary if this Ally is seeking participation in such a meeting. Americans, however, and the Englishmen think differently, considering the Russian point of view wrong. Proceeding from this fact they rejected the Russians the right of participation in the meeting with the Germans in Switzerland. I have already written to you and consider it not unnecessary to repeat that the Russians in a similar situation under no circumstances would have refused the Americans and Englishmen the right for participation in such a meeting. I continue to consider the Russian point of view as the only right one as it excludes any possibility of mutual distrust and does not permit the enemy to sow distrust among us.
It is difficult to agree that lack of resistance on the part of the Germans on the Western front can be explained only that they are defeated. The Germans have on the Eastern front 147 divisions. They could without harm to their cause take from the Eastern front 15–20 divisions and shift them to the aid of their troops on the Western front. However, the Germans did not do it and are not doing it. They continue to fight savagely with the Russians for some unknown junction Zemlianitsa in Czechoslovakia which they need as much as a dead man needs poultices, but surrender without any resistance such important towns in Central Germany as Osnabrück, Mannheim, Kassel. Don’t you agree that such a behavior of the Germans is more than strange and incomprehensible.
As regards my informers, I may assure you that they are very honest and modest people who carry out their duties accurately and have no intentions of insulting anyone. These people have been many-fold tested by us by their deeds. Judge for yourself. In February, 1945, General Marshall has given a number of important information to the General Staff of the Soviet troops, where he, on the basis of data he had on hand, warned the Russians that in March there will be two serious counter-attacks of the Germans on the Eastern front one of which will be directed from Pomerania on Torun and the other from the region of Moravska Ostrava on Lodz. In fact, however, it proved that the principal blow of the Germans was being prepared and was realized not in the above-mentioned regions but in an entirely different region, namely in the region of Lake Balaton, to the South-West of Budapest. As it is known the Germans have concentrated in this region up to 35 divisions, including 11 tank divisions. This was one of the most serious blows in the course of the war with such great concentration of tank forces. Marshal Tolbukhin succeeded [Page 751] in avoiding a catastrophe and in complete defeat of the Germans later, because my informers have uncovered, true a little late, this plan of the main blow of the Germans and immediately informed Marshal Tolbukhin. Thus I had another occasion to convince myself in the accuracy and knowledge of Soviet informers.

For your orientation in this matter I am enclosing a letter of the Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army, Army General Antonov, addressed to Major-General Dean.96

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.
  2. In this letter, Marshal Antonov requested that General Deane thank General Marshall for warning him in February of impending German counter-offensives on the eastern front. Marshal Antonov pointed out, however, that subsequent operations proved the information inaccurate. For text of the letter, see Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commission for the Publication of Diplomatic Documents, Stalin’s Correspondence With Churchill, Attlee, Roosevelt and Truman, 1941–45 (New York, E. P. Dutton, Inc., 1958), vol. ii, p. 210.