741.61/1–2547: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union

top secret

151. Embtel 187, Jan 25. Dept does not feel that obvious Sov maneuver to exploit current difficulties Brit Labor Grov, particularly attacks being made against Bevin by Labor Party “rebels”1 with object [Page 526] of splitting US and Brit policies with respect to Sov Union will achieve any great measure of success. Brit are however concerned not to allow Bevin’s position to be weakened before CFM meeting and they are sensitive on subject of an alliance because of official statements and wide public discussion re US–UK arms standardization. FonOff had informed our Emb prior to Montgomery visit that they wished give every encouragement to conciliatory moves which Soviets had made toward close of UN meeting and that they would endeavor avoid actions which might question good faith of USSR.2

Bevin speech made Dec 223 while Pravda article not published until Jan 15, day of publication of statement re Blum visit to London.4 Sov attack may thus have been motivated in part by possible connection between proposed Anglo-French Treaty and much discussed “Western European Bloc”.

Dept hereby requests London to repeat to you its tel 520, Jan 24 to Dept, reporting that FonOff thinking is along line of turning any move for military alliance to discussion multilateral pact against Germany.

  1. The leader of this group of dissident Labor Party members in the House of Commons was Richard Howard Stafford Crossman, member from East Coventry.
  2. Ambassador Smith informed the Department in telegram 266 from Moscow on February 1, 1 p. m., not printed, that his British colleague had told him on the day before that the “British Govt felt it essential, with regard both to its internal and external position, to overlook no possibility of attaining a modus vivendi with Soviet Union although convinced that a genuine basis of friendly understanding was extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future.” (741.61/2–147)
  3. Foreign Secretary Bevin had made a broadcast from London reporting on the meetings in New York of the Council of Foreign Ministers.
  4. Leon Blum, Premier of France, began a short visit to London on January 13. A Downing Street announcement on the 15th foreshadowed the coming treaty of alliance with France. For text of the treaty signed at Dunkirk on March 4, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxlvii, p. 844, or United Nations Treaty Series, vol. ix, p. 187.