The British Embassy to the Department of State


Ref. G.45/—/47


Mr. Bevin has kept General Marshall fully informed of his recent exchange of messages with Generalissimo Stalin regarding the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of alliance. Mr. Bevin is particularly anxious that General Marshall should not gain from this correspondence the impression that the British Government are weakening in any way in their desire for the closest Anglo-American collaboration.1

2. Generalissimo Stalin having, on the basis of Mr. Bevin’s broadcast of the 22nd December, raised the question whether Mr. Bevin considered the Anglo-Soviet Treaty as suspended, Mr. Bevin had of course to put matters straight. Equally, now that he has suggested that the “reservations” in the Treaty should be removed the British Government cannot refuse to examine his proposal. Mr. Bevin has restricted his latest message to Generalissimo Stalin to a reaffirmation of the British Government’s attachment to the present Treaty as the basis of their friendly relations with Soviet Russia and to enquiring what exactly the Generalissimo means by the “reservations” which he wishes to be removed from the Treaty. He is, therefore, being given as little excuse as possible for suggesting wider modifications or extensions of the Treaty or for presenting the British Government with a draft of a revised Treaty.

3. The British Government are well aware that the Soviet Government may try to draw them into wider bilateral obligations, as a substitute for quadripartite arrangements against Germany under a Treaty on the lines of the Byrnes draft, to which, as Mr. Bevin has said in his message to General Marshall, the British Government attach the greatest importance. Mr. Bevin wishes to assure General Marshall that, although remaining under their present Treaty obligations to go to Soviet Russia’s assistance in case of an attack upon her by Germany, the British Government will at Moscow work to secure in addition the adoption of quadripartite obligations for the purposes defined in Mr. Byrnes’ draft of a Four Power Treaty.

  1. When the British Ambassador, Lord Inverchapel, brought in this aide-mémoire on February 7, Secretary Marshall wrote in his memorandum of their conversation: “The Ambassador had gained the impression that there was some anxiety in the State Department lest recent developments indicate some weakening of Anglo-American cooperation and that he was therefore very pleased to hand me an aide-mémoire which he thought would set our minds at ease.”