811.001 Roosevelt—Condolences/4–1345: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

1151. Late last night I telephoned to Molotov the news of President Roosevelt’s death.33 He came immediately to the Embassy [Page 826] at 3 o’clock Moscow time to express the deep sympathy of his Government and of himself personally. He said that all Russia would mourn his death and that the world had lost a great leader to guide the way in peace. He seemed deeply moved and disturbed. He stayed for some time talking about the part President Roosevelt had played in the war and in the plans for peace, of the respect Marshal Stalin and all the Russian people had had for him and how much Marshal Stalin had valued his visit to Yalta. I encouraged him to ask questions about President Truman and assured him that President Truman would carry on President Roosevelt’s policies.

Molotov in leaving said that the Soviet Government would have confidence in President Truman because he had been selected by President Roosevelt. I have never heard Molotov talk so earnestly. I asked him to arrange for me to call on Marshal Stalin today.34 It is my purpose to reassure Stalin as to the continuation of our policies and make every effort to get us back as far as possible to the spirit and atmosphere of the Crimea Conference.

It is my intention to leave Moscow Monday morning35 for Washington for a brief visit to talk with you and the President unless you instruct me otherwise.36 If I have luck with weather I should reach Washington Wednesday morning.37

  1. Messages of condolence were received from Moscow on April 13. For Mr. Molotov’s telegram to the Secretary of State, see Department of State Bulletin, April 15, 1945, p. 665. For Marshal Stalin’s telegram to President Truman, see Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, vol. i: Year of Decisions (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday & Co., 1955), p. 20; for President Truman’s acknowledgment, see ibid., p. 21.
  2. See memorandum of conversation, infra. For report of Ambassador Harriman’s meeting with Marshal Stalin, see telegram 1161, April 13, 11 p.m., from Moscow, vol. i, p. 289.
  3. April 16.
  4. For the Secretary’s reply, see telegram 867, April 14, 3 p.m., to Moscow, p. 212.
  5. In telegram 911, April 19, 5 p.m., the Department informed the Embassy at Moscow of the arrival of Ambassador Harriman and his party late on the evening of April 18 (123 Harriman, W. Averell/4–1945).