741.61/1–1447: Telegram

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


90. 1. Field Marshal Montgomery’s1 recent visit to Moscow was characterized by sudden flurry of Anglo-Soviet good feeling evidenced by prominent photographs in all leading papers as well as front-page reports of Montgomery’s activities during the 4 days of his sojourn. He was taken to inspect Voroshilov and Frunze Military Academies and Stalin Tank School. He was dined by Stalin and presented with Soviet Marshal’s fur coat and hat which he wore to airport on his departure.

2. British Ambassador2 informed me that at Kremlin dinner nothing of particular significance transpired although at one point Stalin turned to Montgomery with comment that all that was required to [Page 518] cement Anglo-Soviet friendship was an alliance. When it was pointed out that such an alliance in fact existed,3 Stalin replied that was not what he meant since the present alliance was within the framework of the United Nations’ organization. Ambassador added that throughout visit, Montgomery had made point of emphasizing to Soviet military that contrary to current reports, there was no Anglo-American military alliance. Montgomery’s suggestion that British and Soviet armies effect exchange of officers to study in respective military schools was met with statement that proposal was premature but that Marshal Vassilievski4 would bring Soviet reply on his forthcoming visit to England.5

3. British Embassy here, though satisfied with atmosphere surrounding Montgomery’s visit, appears not very sanguine that it will have any significant consequences.

  1. Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
  2. Sir Maurice Drummond Peterson.
  3. The Treaty of Alliance in the War against Hitlerite Germany and Her Associates in Europe, and Collaboration and Mutual Assistance Thereafter, between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Soviet Union was signed in London on May 26, 1942. For text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cciv, p. 353. Reports regarding the conversations leading to the conclusion of this treaty are printed in Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, pp. 490566 passim.

    Earlier in the day of January 10 before the Kremlin dinner Montgomery had a private conversation with Stalin of about an hour’s duration at which Stalin expressed his criticisms of the 1942 treaty in the existing circumstances. When Montgomery asked whether there should be a military alliance, Stalin was reported to have replied: “That is what I would like and I think it is essential.”

  4. Marshal Alexander Mikhailovich Vasilevsky, Deputy Minister of Armed Forces of the Soviet Union, and Chief of the Army General Staff.
  5. On the next day in telegram 95 from Moscow at 11 a. m., in connection with this paragraph Ambassador Smith told the Department that he had “subsequently learned from completely reliable source that Stalin’s reference to an alliance was not a passing remark but was apparently intended as definite suggestion for military alliance outside United Nations and that all written notes made during conversation were destroyed in Stalin’s presence before anyone left room. Furthermore, Russians stated that question of exchange of army officers would be appropriate corollary to development of such a pact.” The Ambassador also understood that on the “British side proposal was listened to without comment other than that it would be duly reported” to the British Government. (741.61/1–1547)