501.BB/8–2148: Telegram

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


1706. Breakdown of Moscow talks and reference Berlin question to UN would of course focus attention GA on Germany and East-West debate would revolve around this question. Nevertheless, Embassy believes that whether Germany is directly discussed or not Soviet basic theme for Assembly will probably remain the same (Depcirtel July 1; Embtel 1296, July 10).1

In view its popular appeal and Communist predilection for slogans, seems to us likely that “peace offensive” will be Soviet slogan. Presentation however, will probably follow formula of “US-led offensive for war versus Soviet-led counteroffensive for peace”. This would follow in logical sequence Soviet 1946 and 1947 themes of “disarmament” and “warmongering” offering opportunity to contend that West had rejected disarmament, progressed to active propaganda for war and had now reached stage of actual preparation and instigation of new imperialist war.

The “counteroffensive” of “struggle for peace” against “western” or “Anglo-American imperialism” is carefully planned propaganda program which has been in progress for some time, and has been gradually replacing in Soviet dogma the old term “capitalist encirclement”, a conception, according to Stalin, no longer possible. It appears to have [Page 612] been launched in first issue of New Times (successor to War and The Working Class) June 1, 1945, which referred to struggle against enemies peoples liberties and peace and pledged itself to work for “lasting peace and friendly cooperation among freedom loving nations.”

Although development this program has been obscured for uninitiated by usual Communist double talk, real meaning of “peace offensive” was clearly revealed in Cahiers de Communisme of April 1, 1948, which referred to “final victory over capitalism, or in other words the final victory over war.” It has therefore become unmistakable that “peace” in Soviet lexicon means destruction of capitalism and that “struggle for peace” is now synonymous with promotion world revolution.

Recent major documentation of “counteroffensive for peace” includes Vyshinsky’s GA speech September 18, 1947;2 Zhdanov’s report to Cominform, September 1947;3 Molotov’s speech to Moscow Soviet, November 6, 1947;4 Molotov’s reply to Ambassador Smith of May 9, 1948;5 Stalin’s reply to Wallace of May 17, 1948;6 and declaration of eight foreign ministers at Warsaw, June 24, 1948.7 Coming GA session will be next step and practically all questions before that body could be reduced to this issue.

Especially in view of fact Soviet Government will be on defensive with respect most prospective GA agenda items, we believe Soviet Delegation will try to take initiative in presentation this theme and to secure at least initial propaganda victory. They will probably peg it to some specific proposal, nature of which can only be guessed at at [Page 613] this stage. Despite hazard involved, and while recognizing that a really surprise “red herring” cannot be excluded we venture as our best guess, resolution calling for withdrawal all armed forces inside borders home country. This would appear logical elaboration 1946 resolution8 and proposed reciprocal withdrawal forces from Korea,9 well calculated to secure widespread favorable propaganda reaction and be difficult to counter.

On basis foregoing estimate, following is our conception of probable line of verbal assault Soviet Delegation can be expected to launch in GA (unless the concentration is on German question as suggested above):

1. US leads offensive for war in form of political, military and economic actions. Political offensive is based first on organization of “blocs” directed against Soviet Union and “sister democracies”, most important of which is “Atlantic union” dominated by US for its aggressive aims. In addition to Western Union, US attempts form other blocs which will be brought into Atlantic group or will cooperate fully with it. These include Scandinavian bloc, Iberian bloc, and Near East bloc, not to speak of Latin America. Second political manifestation war offensive is use of occupation as instrument of aggression. US in Germany and Japan seeks revival reactionary ruling groups, suppresses democratic tendencies, and prevents democratization and demilitarization. Third political facet is US-led imperialist oppression of colonial peoples, manifest Indonesia, Indochina,10 Malaya, and other “colonial areas”. Colonial problem assumes ever-increasing importance.

Military offensive embraces: conversion Germany and Japan into place d’armes against Soviet Union; construction military bases within striking distance Soviet Union and East European “people’s democracies”; military aid to and therefore control of weaker countries as Turkey, Greece, Iran, China; US-British military connivance and mutual planning and preparation; military preparations of US; refusal US-British agree Soviet proposals disarmament, reduction forces, and outlawry atomic bomb.

Economic offensive for war is based on Marshall Plan as plot for enslavement Europe and securing monopoly strategic raw materials, engineered outside restraining influence UN. Thirst for oil sabotages UN decision on Palestine and exploits both Jewish and Arab peoples. [Page 614] Simultaneously US strives economically dominate Far East, with Japan as base.

2. Soviets lead counteroffensive for peace. Politically Soviets have strictly observed Yalta, Potsdam and UN charter as opposed to West violation these agreements. Soviets fight against warmongering, support “democratic” forces and endeavor destroy Fascist-militarist groups in occupied areas. Soviets support “peoples liberation movements” in colonial areas. West powers have twisted trusteeship into another form of capitalistic oppression.

Military defense Soviet policy based on Soviet stand on disarmament, outlawry atom bomb, and reduction and withdrawal armed forces.

Economic defense Soviet policy will take form contrasting Soviet desire aid economic reconstruction Europe, but without destroying independence peoples, with rapacious enslaving nature Marshall Plan. Desire Soviets use UN for economic questions may be stressed with suggestion that instead of Marshall Plan, UN be given responsibility for distribution of international aid (Wallace’s suggestion to Stalin).

Soviets will undoubtedly direct propaganda barrage principally to countries of Western Europe. It will behoove US Delegation not only to meet and refute Soviet arguments with fact, but itself to assume propaganda offensive and neglect no opportunity to dramatize and push home West case.

Sent Department 1706, Department pass Paris 269, London 157, Warsaw 60, Berlin 324.

  1. Neither printed. The circular telegram of July 1 requested views with respect to the possible focal point of the Soviet position at the General Assembly and subsidiary issues which might be brought forward (501.BB/7–1448).
  2. For the record of the address by Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky, Chairman of the Soviet Delegation to the 2nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 18, 1947, see United Nations, Official Records, of the General Assembly, Second Session, Plenary Meetings, pp. 81–106.
  3. The report toy Andrey Alexandrovich Zhdanov, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and acknowledged leader of the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform), was published in Pravda, October 22, 1947. For documentation on developments within the Soviet Union in 1947 of significance to United States-Soviet relations, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iv, pp. 514 ff.
  4. For comments on this speech by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, see ibid., p. 614.
  5. For the texts of the notes exchanged by Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith and Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, at Moscow, May 4 and May 9, see ibid., pp. 847 and 854.
  6. Henry A. Wallace, former Cabinet Member and Vice President, campaigning for President as an independent, proposed suggestions for improving United States-Soviet relations in an open letter to Premier Stalin revealed in a New York speech of May 11. Stalin replied in favorable terms on May 17. For additional information on this exchange see ibid., pp. 870871.
  7. Reference is to the Warsaw Conference on Germany, June 23–24, 1948, attended by Molotov and the foreign ministers of seven other eastern European nations; for documentation on this subject in connection with the London Conference on Germany, see vol. ii, pp. 338 ff. For text of the declaration, see Margaret Carlyle (ed.), Documents on International Affairs 1947–1948 (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), p. 566.
  8. For text of the Soviet resolution on troops on foreign territory presented to the United Nations Security Council and subsequently introduced in the General Assembly, see telegram 527 from New York, August 29, 1946, in Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, p. 892.
  9. For documentation on United States policy regarding Korea, including its position on Soviet advocacy of reciprocal troop withdrawal, see vol. vi, pp. 1079 ff.
  10. For documentation on interest of the United States in nationalist oppositions to the restoration of French rule in Indochina, see ibid., pp. 19 ff.