Received on January 1, 1944
Thank you so much. I am informing Admiral Fraser, his officers and men of your congratulations. They will welcome the tribute from a gallant and honoured Ally. I am so glad you have retaken Korosten, whose loss you told us about at Tehran. I only wish we could meet once a week. Please give my regards to Monsieur Molotov. If you will send me the music of the new Soviet Russian Anthem, I could arrange to have it played by the British Broadcasting Corporation on all occasions when important Russian victories were announced.
I shall send you the music of the new Soviet Anthem by the next post. V. M. Molotov has asked me to thank you on his behalf for your greetings and to transmit his best wishes. I fully agree with you about frequent meetings.
January 2, 1944
Received on January 5, 1944
The splendid advances you are making beyond Vitebsk and west and south-west of Kiev fill our hearts with joy. I hope before the end of the month to make a small contribution at which I have been labouring here. Meanwhile everything is going full blast for “Overlord.”50 General Montgomery passed through here on his way to take up his command of the expeditionary group of armies. He naturally has his own ideas about the details of the plan but he is full of zeal to engage the enemy and of confidence in the result.
2. President Beneš is coming to see me today. He is a wise man and should be a help in bringing Poland to reason.
3. I am getting stronger every day. Beaverbrook is with me and sends his warmest greetings. My son Randolph is flying in by parachute to Tito with Brigadier Maclean, the head of our Mission, so I shall be kept well informed. All officers have been instructed to work in the closest harmony with any mission you may send. Many thanks for your help about the Greeks.67
Your message of January 5 received. I am glad to learn from you that the preparations for “Overlord”50 are in full swing and that you will take other measures before the month is out.
2. I must say, since you have brought up the matter, that if we are to judge by the latest declaration of the Polish émigré Government and other statements by Polish leaders, we will see that there are no grounds for thinking that these circles can be made to see reason. They are incorrigible.
3. Please convey my thanks and good wishes to Lord Beaverbrook.
4. Our offensive is still making headway, particularly in the South, although the Germans are resisting desperately wherever they can.
January 7, 1944
Received on January 12, 1944
I have sent the following letter to Tito by our Mission who are parachuting in next few days. I send you this for your personal information only.
“Africa. January 8th, 1944.
“I thank you very much for your kind message about my health from yourself and the heroic patriotic and partisan army of Yugoslavia. From Major Ashkin, who is a friend of mine, I learnt all about your valiant efforts. It is my most earnest desire to give you all aid in human power by sea supplies, by air support and by Commandos helping you in island fighting. Brigadier Maclean is also a friend of mine and a colleague in the House of Commons. With him at your Headquarters will soon be serving my son Major Randolph Churchill who is also a Member of Parliament One supreme object stands before us, namely, to cleanse the soil of Europe from the filthy Nazi- Fascist taint. You may be sure that we British have no desire to dictate the future government of Yugoslavia. At the same time, we hope that all will pull together as much as possible for the defeat of the common foe, and afterwards settle the form of government in accordance with the will of the people.
“I am resolved that the British Government will give no further military support to Mihajlović and will only give help to you and we should be glad if the Royal Yugoslav Government would dismiss him from their councils. King Peter the Second however escaped as a boy from the treacherous clutches of the Regent Prince Paul and came to us as representative of Yugoslavia and as a young Prince in distress. It would not be chivalrous or honourable for Great Britain to cast him aside. Nor can we ask him to cut all his existing contacts with his country. I hope therefore that you will understand that we shall in any case remain in official relations with him while at the same time giving you all possible military support. I hope also that there may be an end to polemics on either side, for these only help the Germans.
“You may be sure that I shall work in closest contact with my friends Marshal Stalin and President Roosevelt; and I earnestly hope that the Military Mission which the Soviet Government are sending to your Headquarters68 will work in similar harmony with the Anglo-American Mission under Brigadier Maclean. Please correspond with me through Brigadier Maclean and let me know anything you think I can do to help, for I will certainly try my best.
“Looking forward to the end of your sufferings and to the liberation of all Europe from tyranny,
“Winston S. Churchill”
Received on January 12, 1944
We are watching almost from hour to hour the marvellous advances of the Soviet armies. To my lay mind it looks as if Zhmerinka might be very important. If we were in Tehran again, I would now be saying to you across the table: “Please let me know in plenty of time when we are to stop knocking down Berlin so as to leave sufficient billeting accommodation for the Soviet armies.”
All plans for our Italian battle have been satisfactorily settled here. I return your handshake well and truly.
Your message of January 12 received. Our armies have indeed achieved success of late, but we are still a long way from Berlin. What is more, the Germans are now launching rather serious counter-attacks, particularly east of Vinnitsa. There is no danger in that, of course, but they have succeeded in pushing back our advanced units there and in temporarily checking our progress. Hence you should not slacken, but intensify the bombing of Berlin as much as possible. By the time we all arrive in Berlin the Germans will have had a chance to rebuild certain premises that you and we here shall need.
Your message to Tito, whom you are encouraging so much with your support, will be of great importance.
I hope your preparations jointly with the Americans for “Overlord”50 are making good progress.
January 14, 1944
Received on January 15, 1944
Music promised in your message of January 2nd now received and will be played before the 9 p.m. news on Sunday night by the full Symphony Orchestra of the B.B.C.
I find I can work in an additional Arctic convoy, twenty ships, mostly United States’, leaving the United Kingdom about March 15th to March 18th without prejudice to our main operations. I hope this will be agreeable to you.
I am delighted to hear from Admiral Fraser in H.M.S. Duke of York of the hearty and cordial meeting with Admiral Golovko and all your officers and men in the Kola Inlet before the sinking of the Scharnhorst. He reported how much good feeling manifested itself through all ranks of our two Navies. I am glad that you like my message to Marshal Tito. We shall certainly go on bombing Berlin without limit. I am at present at sea but you may be sure that on reaching home I shall make the success of “Overlord”50 my first care.
January 17th, 1944
Thank you for informing me of your decision to send an additional convoy of 20 ships to the Soviet Union in mid-March over and above those provided for earlier. They will be of great value to our front.
January 20, 1944
Received on January 22, 1944
We have launched the big attack against the German armies defending Rome which I told you about at Tehran. The weather conditions seem favourable. I hope to have good news for you before long.
2. I am sending you a joint telegram from the President and myself about the Italian ships. I have taken a lot of trouble to arrange this matter and I hope that the proposals will be agreeable to you. If not, let me know privately and I will see whether anything else can be done.
3. I am telegraphing to you separately about my talks with the Poles.
With regard to the handling over to Soviet Russia of the Italian shipping asked for by the Soviet Government at the Moscow Conference66 and agreed to with you by us both at Tehran, we have received a memorandum by the Combined Chiefs of Staff43 contained in our immediately following telegram. For the reasons set out in this memorandum, we think it would be dangerous to our triple interests actually to carry out any transfer or to say anything about it to the Italians until their cooperation is no longer of operational importance.
Nevertheless if after full consideration you desire us to proceed, we will make a secret approach to Marshal Badoglio with a view to concluding the necessary arrangements without their becoming generally known to the Italian naval forces. If in this way agreement could be reached, such arrangements with the Italian naval authorities as were necessary could be left to him. These arrangements would have to be on the lines that the Italian ships selected should be sailed to suitable Allied ports where they would be collected by Russian crews, who would sail into Russian northern ports which are the only ones open where any refitting necessary would be undertaken.
We are, however, very conscious of the dangers of the above course for the reasons we have laid before you and we have therefore decided to propose the following alternative, which from the military point of view has many advantages.
The British battleship Royal Sovereign has recently completed refitting in the United States. She is fitted with radar for all types of armament. The United States will make one light cruiser available at approximately the same time.
His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government are willing for their part that these vessels should be taken over at British ports by Soviet crews and sailed to North Russian ports. You could then make such alterations as you find necessary for Arctic conditions.
These vessels would be temporarily transferred on loan to Soviet Russia and would fly the Soviet flag until, without prejudice to military operations, the Italian vessels can be made available.
His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government will each arrange to provide 20,000 tons of merchant shipping to be available as soon as practicable and until the Italian merchant ships can be obtained without prejudice to the projected essential operations “Overlord”50 and “Anvil.”69
This alternative has the advantage that the Soviet Government would
obtain the use of the vessels at a very much earlier date than if they
all had to be refitted and rendered suitable for northern waters. Thus,
if our efforts should take a favourable turn with the Turks, and the
Straits become open, these vessels would be ready to operate in the
Black Sea. We hope you will very carefully consider this alternative,
which we think is in every way superior to the first proposal.
Received on January 23, 1944
Our immediately preceding telegram.
Our Combined Chiefs of Staff43 have made the following positive recommendation with supporting data:
(a) The present time is inopportune for effecting the transfer of captured Italian ships because of pending Allied operations.
(b) To impose the transfer at this time would remove needed Italian resources now employed in current operations and would interfere with their assistance now being given by Italian repair facilities. It might cause scuttling of Italian warships and result in the loss of Italian cooperation, thus jeopardising “Overlord”50 and “Anvil.”69
(c) At the earliest moment permitted by operations the implementation of the delivery of the Italian vessels may proceed.
Received on January 24, 1944
We are sending Ambassador Clark Kerr back to you at once in order that he may explain a series of difficulties which although they appear trifling at the outset may ripen into the greatest embarrassment for us both.
2. I have been much impressed and also surprised by the extraordinarily bad effects produced here by the Pravda story70 to which so much official publicity was given by the Soviet Government. Even the best friends of Soviet Russia in England have been bewildered. What makes it so injurious is that we cannot understand it. I am sure you know that I would never negotiate with the Germans separately and that we tell you every overture they make as you have told us. We never thought of making a separate peace even in the year when we were all alone and could easily have made one without serious loss to the British Empire and largely at your expense. Why should we think of it now, when our triple fortunes are marching forward to victory? If anything has occurred or been printed in the English newspapers annoying to you, why can you not send me a telegram or make your Ambassador come round and see us about it? In this way all the harm that has been done and the suspicions that have been aroused could be avoided.
3. I get every day long extracts from War and the Working Class71 which seems to make continuous left-wing attacks on our administration in Italy and politics in Greece. Considering that you have a representative on the Commission for Italy we should hope that these complaints would be ventilated there and we should hear about them and explain our point of view between governments. As these attacks are made in public in Soviet newspapers which on foreign affairs are believed rightly or wrongly not to diverge from the policy of the Soviet Union, the divergence between our Governments becomes a serious parliamentary issue. I have delayed speaking to the House of Commons until I see the results of the battle in Italy, which is not going too badly but in a week or ten days I shall have to address the House of Commons and deal with the matter to which I have referred in this telegram as I cannot allow charges and criticism to go unanswered.
4. I have been very much buoyed up with the feeling brought back from Tehran of our good relations and by the message you sent me through Monsieur Benes and I try night and day to make things go the way you wish them and the way our triple interests require. I am sure that if we had been together these difficulties would not have occurred. I am working now constantly at making the second front a success and on an even larger scale and my work is rendered more difficult by the kind of pinpricking to which I have referred. Of course a few words spoken by you would blow the whole thing out of the water. We have always agreed to write frankly to each other so I do so now but I hope you will see Clark Kerr when he arrives and let him explain more at length the position as between Allies not only fused together in war but linked by our twenty years’ treaty.
5. I have not yet been able to telegraph about the talks with the Poles because I must in a matter of such far-reaching importance, know where I am with the United States. I hope however, to send you a message in a few days.
6. Brigadier Maclean and my son Randolph have safely parachuted into Tito’s headquarters.
The joint messages signed by you, Mr Prime Minister, and you, Mr President, concerning the transfer of Italian vessels to the Soviet Union, arrived on January 23.
I must say that after getting your joint favourable reply to my question in Tehran about transferring Italian ships to the Soviet Union before the end of January 1944 I had considered the matter settled; it never occurred to me that that decision reached and agreed to by the three of us could be revised in any way. All the more so because we agreed at the time that the matter would be fully settled with the Italians during December and January. Now I see that this is not the case and that nothing has been said to the Italians on this score.
However, in order not to delay settlement of this matter, which is so vitally important to our common fight against Germany, the Soviet Union is willing to accept your proposal for the battleship Royal Sovereign and one cruiser being transferred from British ports to the U.S.S.R. and for the Soviet Naval Command using the two ships temporarily, until corresponding Italian ships can be made available to the Soviet Union. In the same way we are ready to accept from the U.S.A. and Britain 20,000 tons of merchant shipping apiece, which we shall likewise use until we are provided with the same amount of Italian shipping. The important thing is that there should no longer be any delay in the matter and that the ships mentioned above be handed over to us before the end of February.
However, there is no mention in your reply of the transfer to the Soviet Union at the end of January of the eight Italian destroyers and four submarines to which you, Mr Prime Minister, and you, Mr President, consented in Tehran. Yet this question of destroyers and submarines is of paramount importance to the Soviet Union, for without them the transfer of one battleship and one cruiser would be pointless. You will agree that cruisers and battleships are powerless unless accompanied by destroyers. As the whole of the Italian Navy is at your disposal, it should not be difficult for you to carry out the Tehran decision for the transfer of eight destroyers and four submarines from the Navy to the Soviet Union. I also agree to accept, instead of Italian destroyers and submarines, as many U.S. or British destroyers and submarines for the Soviet Union. The transfer of the destroyers and submarines should not be delayed, it should be effected simultaneously with the transfer of the battleship and cruiser, as the three of us agreed in Tehran.
January 29, 1944
I have received your message of January 24.
I am a little late with this reply due to the pressure of front affairs.
As regards the Pravda report,70 its significance should not be overrated, nor is there any reason to question the right of a newspaper to carry reports or rumours received from tried and tested correspondents. In any case we Russians have never laid claim to that kind of interference in the affairs of the British press, even though we have had, and still have, far more reasons for doing so. Our TASS denies only a very small part of the reports printed in British newspapers and deserving to be denied.
To come to the gist of the matter, I cannot agree with you that Britain could easily have made a separate peace with Germany, largely at the expense of the U.S.S.R. and without serious loss to the British Empire. I think that that was said rashly, for I recall statements of a different nature made by you. I recall, for example, that when Britain was in difficulties, before the Soviet Union became involved in the war against Germany, you believed that the British Government might have to move to Canada and fight Germany across the ocean. On the other hand, you admitted that it was the Soviet Union which, by engaging Hitler, eliminated the danger which undoubtedly threatened Great Britain on the part of Germany. But if, nevertheless, we grant that Britain could have managed without the U.S.S.R., exactly the same could be said about the Soviet Union. I should have preferred not to bring this up, but I had to do so to remind you of the facts.
Concerning War and the Working Class71 all I can say is that it is a trade-union magazine for whose articles the Government cannot be held responsible. However, this magazine, like our other magazines, is loyal to the fundamental principle – closer friendship with the Allies – which does not preclude but presupposes friendly criticism as well.
Like you I was favourably impressed by our meetings in Tehran and our joint work.
I will certainly see Mr Kerr when he arrives.
January 29, 1944
Received on February 1, 1944
On Thursday last accompanied by the Foreign Secretary and with the authority of the War Cabinet I saw representatives of the Polish Government in London. I informed them that the security of the Russian frontiers against Germany was a matter of high consequence to His Majesty’s Government and that we should certainly support the Soviet Union in all measures we considered necessary to that end. I remarked that Russia had sustained two frightful invasions with immense slaughter and devastation at the hands of Germany, that Poland had had her national independence and existence restored after the First World War, and that it was the policy of the great Allies to restore Poland once again after this war. I said that although we had gone to war for the sake of Poland we had not gone for any particular frontier line but for the existence of a strong, free, independent Poland which Marshal Stalin declared himself as supporting. Moreover although Great Britain would have fought on in any case for years until something happened to Germany, the liberation of Poland from Germany’s grip is being achieved mainly by the enormous sacrifices of the Russian armies. Therefore, the Allies had a right to ask that Poland should be guided to a large extent about the frontiers of the territory she would have.
2. I then said that I believed from what had passed at Tehran that the Soviet Government would be willing to agree to the easterly frontiers of Poland conforming to the Curzon Line72 subject to the discussion of ethnographical considerations, and I advised them to accept the Curzon Line as a basis for discussion. I spoke of the compensations which Poland would receive in the North and in the West. In the North there would be East Prussia; but here I did not mention the point about Königsberg. In the West they would be secure and aided to occupy Germany up to the line of the Oder. I told them it was their duty to accept this task and guard their frontiers against German aggression towards the East in consequence of their liberation by the Allied forces. I said in this task they would need a friendly Russia behind them and would, I presume, be sustained by the guarantee of the three Great Powers against further German attack. Great Britain would be willing to give such a guarantee if it were in harmony with her ally, Soviet Russia. I could not forecast the action of the United States but it seemed that the three Great Powers would stand together against all disturbers of the peace, at any rate until a long time after the war was ended. I made it clear that the Polish Government would not be committed to agree to the Curzon Line as a basis of examination except as part of the arrangement which gave them the fine compensations to the North and to the West which I had mentioned.
3. Finally, I said that if the Russians’ policy was unfolded in the sense I had described, I would urge the Polish Government to settle on that basis and His Majesty’s Government would advocate the confirmation of such a settlement by the Peace Conference or by the conferences for the settlement of Europe following the destruction of Hitlerism, and would support no territorial claims from Poland which went beyond it. If the Polish Ministers were satisfied that agreement could be reached upon these lines, it would be their duty at the proper time not merely to acquiesce in it but to commend it to their people with courage, even though they ran the risk of being repudiated by extremists.
4. The Polish Ministers were very far from rejecting the prospects thus unfolded but they asked for time to consider the matter with the rest of their colleagues, and as a result of this they have asked a number of questions none of which seem to be in conflict with the general outline of my suggestions to them. In particular they wish to be assured that Poland would be free and independent in the new home assigned to her; that she would receive the guarantee of the Great Powers against German revenge effectively, that these Great Powers would also assist in expelling the Germans from the new territories to be assigned to Poland; and that in the regions to be incorporated in Soviet Russia such Poles as wished would be assisted to depart for their new abodes. They also inquired about what their position will be if a large part of Poland west of the Curzon Line is to be occupied by the advancing Soviet armies. Will they be allowed to go back and form a more broad-based government in accordance with the popular wish and allowed to function administratively in the liberated areas in the same way as other governments who have been overrun? In particular they are deeply concerned about the relations between the Polish underground movement and the advancing Soviet forces, it being understood that their prime desire was to assist in driving out the Germans. This underground movement raises matters important to our common war effort.
5. We also attach great importance to assimilating our action in the different regions which we hope to liberate. You know the policy we are following in Italy. There we have taken you fully into our councils, and we want to do the same in regard to France and the other countries to whose liberation we look forward. We believe such uniformity of action is of great importance now and in the future to the cause of the United Nations.
6. The earliest possible agreement in principle on the frontiers of the new Polish State is highly desirable to allow of a satisfactory arrangement regarding these two very important points.
7. While, however, everyone will agree that Soviet Russia has the right to recognise or refuse recognition to any foreign government, do you not agree that to advocate changes within a foreign government comes near to that interference in internal sovereignty to which you and I have expressed ourselves opposed? I may mention that this view is strongly held by His Majesty’s Government.
8. I now report this conversation, which expresses the policy of His Majesty’s Government at the present time upon this difficult question, to my friend and comrade Marshal Stalin. I earnestly hope these plans may be helpful. I had always hoped to postpone discussions of frontier questions until the end of the war when the victors would be round the table together. The dangers which have forced His Majesty’s Government to depart from this principle are formidable and imminent. If, as we may justly hope, the successful advance of the Soviet armies continues and a large part of Poland is cleared of German oppressors, a good relationship will be absolutely necessary between whatever forces can speak for Poland and the Soviet Union. The creation in Warsaw of another Polish Government different from the one we have recognised up to the present, together with disturbances in Poland, would raise an issue in Great Britain and the United States detrimental to that close accord between the three Great Powers upon which the future of the world depends.
9. I wish to make it clear that this message is not intended to be any intervention or interference between the Governments of the Soviet Union and Poland. It is a statement in broad outline of the position of His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain in regard to a matter in which they feel themselves deeply concerned.
10. I should like myself to know from you what steps you would be prepared to take to help us all to resolve this serious problem. You could certainly count on our good offices for what they would be worth.
11. I am sending a copy of this message to the President of the United States with a request for complete secrecy.
Your message on the Polish question has reached me through Mr Kerr who arrived in Moscow a few days ago and with whom I had a useful talk.
I see you are giving a good deal of attention to the problem of Soviet-Polish relations. All of us greatly appreciate your efforts.
I have the feeling that the very first question which must be completely cleared up even now is that of the Soviet-Polish frontier. You are right, of course, in noting that on this point Poland should be guided by the Allies. As for the Soviet Government, it has already stated, openly and clearly, its views on the frontier question.73 We have stated that we do not consider the 1939 boundary final, and have agreed to the Curzon Line,72 thereby making very important concessions to the Poles. Yet the Polish Government has evaded our proposal for the Curzon Line and in its official statements continues to maintain that the frontier imposed upon us under the Riga Treaty74 is final. I infer from your letter that the Polish Government is prepared to recognise the Curzon Line, but, as is known, the Poles have not made such a statement anywhere.
I think the Polish Government should officially state in a declaration that the boundary line established by the Riga Treaty shall be revised and that the Curzon Line is the new boundary line between the U.S.S.R. and Poland. It should state that as officially as the Soviet Government has done by declaring that the 1939 boundary line shall be revised and that the Soviet-Polish frontier should follow the Curzon Line.
As regards your statement to the Poles that Poland could considerably extend her frontiers in the West and North, we are in agreement with that with, as you are aware, one amendment. I mentioned the amendment to you and the President in Tehran. We claim the transfer of the north-eastern part of East Prussia, including the port of Königsberg as an ice-free one, to the Soviet Union. It is the only German territory claimed by us. Unless this minimum claim of the Soviet Union is met, the Soviet Union’s concession in recognising the Curzon Line becomes entirely pointless, as I told you in Tehran.
Lastly, about the composition of the Polish Government. I think you realise that we cannot re-establish relations with the present Polish Government. Indeed, what would be the use of re-establishing relations with it when we are not at all certain that tomorrow we shall not be compelled to sever those relations again on account of another fascist provocation on its part, such as the “Katyn affair”?75 Throughout the recent period the Polish Government, in which the tone is set by Sosnkowski, has not desisted from statements hostile to the Soviet Union. The extremely anti-Soviet statements of the Polish Ambassadors in Mexico and Canada and of Gen. Anders in the Middle East, the hostility displayed towards the Soviet Union by Polish underground publications in German-occupied territory, a hostility which transcends all bounds, the annihilation, on directions from the Polish Government, of Polish guerrillas fighting the Hitler invaders, these and many other pro-fascist actions of the Polish Government are known. That being so, no good can be expected unless the composition of the Polish Government is thoroughly improved. On the other hand, the removal from it of pro-fascist imperialist elements and the inclusion of democratic-minded people would, one is entitled to hope, create the proper conditions for normal Soviet- Polish relations, for solving the problem of the Soviet-Polish frontier and, in general, for the rebirth of Poland as a strong, free and independent state. Those interested in improving the composition of the Polish Government along these lines are primarily the Poles themselves, the broad sections of the Polish people. By the way, last May you wrote to me saying that the composition of the Polish Government could be improved and that you would work towards that end. You did not at that time think that this would be interference in Poland’s internal sovereignty.
With reference to the questions posed by the Polish Ministers and mentioned in paragraph 4 of your letter I think there will be no difficulty in reaching agreement on them.
February 4, 1944
Received on February 24, 1944
The receipt is acknowledged of your message in regard to the handing over of the Italian shipping to Soviet Russia.
It is our intention to carry out the transfer agreed to at Tehran at the earliest date practicable without hazarding the success of “Anvil”69 and “Overlord”,50 which operations we all agree should be given the first priority in our common effort to defeat Germany at the earliest possible date.
There is no thought of not carrying through the transfers agreed at Tehran. The British battleship and American cruiser can be made available without any delay and an effort will be made at once to make available from the British Navy the eight destroyers. Four submarines will also be provided temporarily by Great Britain. We are convinced that disaffecting Italian Navy at this time would be what you have so aptly termed an unnecessary diversion and that it would adversely affect the prospects of our success in France.
February 7th, 1944
Received on February 9, 1944
Very many thanks for your full telegram about Polish affairs. Mr Eden and I had a long day with the Poles on Sunday and are working hard. In two or three days I shall report to you further.
2. My military advisers are profoundly impressed with recent developments on your front. I offer my sincere congratulations.
3. The battle in Italy has not gone as I hoped or planned. Although the landing was a brilliant piece of work and achieved complete surprise, the advantage was lost and now it is a question of hard slogging. However the enemy has brought five; additional divisions to the South of Rome and we are now actively engaging seventeen. We have good hopes of a satisfactory outcome, and anyhow the front will be kept aflame from now on.
4. I have now succeeded in arranging with the British Admiralty and the American War Shipping Administration for another additional convoy of ships to go to North Russia in March. I should hope that the actual number of ships would be 18 or 20, nearly all of which are American. Although this does not increase the amount of supplies due under the protocol, 76 it conveys them to you a good deal quicker and along the northern route which I understand you greatly prefer to the Persian. The Arctic convoys have been getting through well and the U-boats were much knocked about on the last occasion by our escorts. Every good wish.
My dear Marshal Stalin,
I have received from the Soviet Ambassador the words and music of the Soviet National Anthem, which you were good enough to send at my request.
This stirring music has already been played by the British Broadcasting Corporation on several occasions, and will continue to be played in celebration of Russian victories. I do not doubt, therefore that the British people will soon be very familiar with the Anthem, of which I, personally, am proud to possess a copy.
February 10th, 1944
I received your message on February 9.
Thank you for your congratulations. Our troops are still pushing on in some sectors, but the Germans are doggedly counter-attacking.
I have read your communication on Italy. I hope for an improvement in the Allies’ position in the near future. The Soviet Government is grateful to you for the information on the despatch of another additional convoy to the U.S.S.R. in March.
Please accept my best wishes.
February 11, 1944
Received on February 19, 1944
We have been wrestling continually with the Poles and I am glad to say that we have at last produced some results. I hope to send you a telegram in the next day or two with proposals for your consideration. I must warn you that these proposals will very likely split the Polish Government.
2. Mr Eden and I rejoice in your liquidation of the southern pocket. We are having very hard and continuous fighting on the Italian front and I am confident that a good result will ultimately be achieved. Meanwhile all preparations for “Overlord”50 are moving forward well.
Received on February 27, 1944
The following telegram from me to you has been seen by the Polish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, has been written in close consultation with them, and is despatched with their agreement. I earnestly hope that it may be the means of reaching a working arrangement between Poland and Soviet Russia during the war and that it may become the foundation of a lasting peace and friendship between the two countries as part of the general settlement of Europe.
2. I am sending a copy of it to the President of the United States.
3. Mr Eden and I send you our best wishes.
London, February 20th, 1944
Received on February 27, 1944
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and I have had numerous long discussions with the Polish Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I shall not attempt to repeat all the arguments which were used but only to give what I conceive to be the position of the Polish Government in the upshot.
The Polish Government are ready to declare that the Riga Line77 no longer corresponds to realities and with our participation to discuss with the Soviet Government, as part of the general settlement, a new frontier between Poland and the Soviet Union together with the future frontiers of Poland in the North and West. Since however the compensations which Poland is to receive in the North and West cannot be stated publicly or precisely at the present time the Polish Government clearly cannot make an immediate public declaration of their willingness to cede territory as indicated above because the publication of such an arrangement would have an entirely one-sided appearance with the consequence that they would immediately be repudiated by a large part of their people abroad and by the underground movement in Poland with which they are in constant contact. It is evident therefore that the Polish-Soviet territorial settlement which must be an integral part of the general territorial settlement of Europe could only formally be agreed and ratified when the victorious Powers are gathered round the table at the time of an armistice or peace.
For the above reasons the Polish Government, until it had returned to Polish territory and been allowed to consult the Polish people, can obviously not formally abdicate its rights in any part of Poland as hitherto constituted, but vigorous prosecution of the war against Germany in collaboration with the Soviet armies would be greatly assisted if the Soviet Government will facilitate the return of the Polish Government to liberated territory at the earliest possible moment; and in consultation with their British and American Allies as the Russian armies advance, arrange from time to time with the Polish Government for the establishment of the civil administration of the Polish Government in given districts. This procedure would be in general accordance with those to be followed in the case of other countries as they are liberated. The Polish Government is naturally very anxious that the districts to be placed under Polish civil administration should include such places as Vilna and Lvov where there are concentrations of Poles and that the territories to the east of the demarcation line should be administered by Soviet military authorities with the assistance of representatives of the United Nations. They point out that thus they would be in the best position to enlist all such able-bodied Poles in the war effort. I have informed them and they clearly understand that you will not assent to leaving Vilna and Lvov under Polish administration. I wish on the other hand to be able to assure them that the area to be placed under Polish civil administration will include at least all Poland west of the Curzon Line.72
At the frontier negotiations contemplated in paragraph 2 above the Polish Government, taking into consideration the mixed character of the population of Eastern Poland, would favour a frontier drawn with a view to assuring the highest degree of homogeneity on both sides, while reducing as much as possible the extent and hardship of an exchange of populations. I have no doubt myself, especially in view of the immediate practical arrangements contemplated by the Polish Government set out in paragraph 3 above, that these negotiations will inevitably lead to the conclusion you desire in regard to the future of the Polish-Soviet frontier, but it seems to me unnecessary and undesirable publicly to emphasise this at this stage.
As regards the war with Germany, which they wish to prosecute with the utmost vigour, the Polish Government realise that it is imperative to have a working agreement with the Soviet Government in view of the advance of the liberating armies on to Polish soil, from which these armies are driving the German invader. They assure me emphatically that they have at no time given instructions to the underground movement to attack “partisans”. On the contrary, after consultation with the leaders of their underground movement and with these people they have issued orders for all Poles now in arms or about to revolt against Hitlerite tyranny as follows:
When the Russian army enters any particular district in Poland, the underground movement is to disclose its identity and meet the requirements of the Soviet commanders, even in the absence of a resumption of Polish-Soviet relations. The local Polish military commander, accompanied by the local civilian underground authority, will meet and declare to the commander of incoming Soviet troops that, following the instructions of the Polish Government, to which they remain faithful, they are ready to coordinate their actions with him in the fight against the common foe.These orders, which are already in operation, seem to me, as I am sure they will to you, of the highest significance and importance.
For the first time on February 6th I told the Polish Government that the Soviet Government wished to have the frontier in East Prussia drawn to include, on the Russian side, Königsberg. The information came as a shock to the Polish Government, who see in such a decision substantial reduction in the size and in the economic importance of the German territory to be incorporated in Poland by way of compensation. But I stated that, in the opinion of His Majesty’s Government, this was a rightful claim on the part of Russia. Regarding, as I do, this war against German aggression as all one and as a thirty-years’ war from 1914 onwards, I reminded M. Mikolajczyk of the fact that the soil of this part of East Prussia was dyed with Russian blood expended freely in the common cause. Here the Russian armies advancing in August 1914 and winning the battle of Gumbinnen and other actions had with their forward thrusts and with much injury to their mobilisation forced the Germans to recall two army corps from the advance on Paris which withdrawal was an essential part in the victory of the Marne. The disaster at Tannenberg did not in any way undo this great result. Therefore it seemed to me that the Russians had a historic and well-founded claim to this German territory.
As regards the composition of the Polish Government, the Polish Government cannot admit any right of a foreign intervention. They can however assure the Russian Government that by the time they have entered into diplomatic relations with the Soviet Government they will include among themselves none but persons fully determined to cooperate with the Soviet Union. I am of the opinion that it is much better that such changes should come about naturally and as a result of further Polish consideration of their interests as a whole. It might well be in my opinion that the moment for a resumption of these relations in a formal manner would await the reconstitution of a Polish Government at the time of the liberation of Warsaw when it would arise naturally from the circumstances attending that glorious event.
It would be in accordance with the assurances I have received from you that in an agreement covering the points made above the Soviet Government should join with His Majesty’s Government in undertaking vis-à-vis each other and Poland, first to recognise and respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of reconstituted Poland and the right of each to conduct its domestic affairs without interference, and secondly to do their best to secure in due course the incorporation in Poland of the Free City of Danzig, Oppeln, Silesia, East Prussia, west and south of a line running from Königsberg and of as much territory up to the Oder as the Polish Government see fit to accept; thirdly to effect the removal from Poland including the German territories to be incorporated in Poland of the German population; and fourthly to negotiate the procedure for the exchange of population between Poland and the Soviet Union and for the return to the Mother Country of the nationals of the Powers in question. All the undertakings to each other on the part of Poland, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom should in my view be drawn up in such a form that they could be embodied in a single instrument or exchange of letters.
I informed the Polish Ministers that should the settlement which has now been outlined in the various telegrams that have passed between us become a fact and be observed in spirit by all the parties to it, His Majesty’s Government would support that settlement at the Conference after the defeat of Hitler and also that we would guarantee that settlement in after years to the best of our ability.
London, February 20th, 1944
Your message of February 19 received. Thank you for the communications.
I must at the same time point out that so far I have had no reply on the eight British and U.S. destroyers and other ships, which were to be put at Soviet disposal temporarily in exchange for Italian warships and merchant vessels, as agreed in Tehran by you, the President and myself. I cannot understand the long delay.
I await a reply to my message of January 29.
February 21, 1944
I sent you a message on February 7th signed by the President and myself and also a private one to Ambassador Clark Kerr, the substance of which he was to deliver personally. The upshot was that I will supply from British resources the eight destroyers and four submarines as well as a battleship and twenty thousand tons of merchant shipping. The United States will supply a cruiser and twenty thousand tons of merchant shipping. I have been wondering why I had not received a message from you acknowledging this, as I was hoping you would be pleased with the efforts I had made. I gathered that Ambassador Clark Kerr wanted to deliver the message to you personally and that you were away at the front. I have telegraphed to him to put things right. No time has been lost in preparing the ships.
February 22nd, 1944
Received on February 23, 1944
On this, the 26th anniversary of the Red Army, I send to you and all ranks this expression of my profound admiration of their glorious record. Inspired and guided by your leadership and by their love of the soil of Russia, trusting in the skill and resolution of their commanders, they will go forward to victory and through victory to peace with honour.
I received on February 24 your two messages, including the one of February 7 concerning the Italian ships. I have also read Mr Kerr’s letter on the matter, addressed to V. M. Molotov.78
My thanks to you and the President for the news about the temporary transfer to the Soviet Union of eight destroyers and four submarines, as well as a battleship and 20,000 tons of merchant shipping by Great Britain and a cruiser and 20,000 tons of merchant shipping by the United States. Mr Kerr has expressly warned us that all the destroyers are old ones so that I have misgivings about their combat qualities. It seems to me that the British and U.S. Navies should find no difficulty in assigning, out of the eight destroyers, at least four modern, not old, ones. I still hope that you and the President will find it possible to transfer at least four modern destroyers. As a result of military operations by Germany and Italy we have lost a substantial part of our destroyers. It is, therefore, very important for us to have that loss repaired at least in part.
February 26, 1944
Sent on February 29, 1944
Please accept my thanks and the thanks of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union for your congratulations on the 26th anniversary of the Red Army and for your high praise of its achievements in the struggle against our common foe, Hitler Germany.
Both messages of February 20 on the Polish question reached me through Mr Kerr on February 27.
Now that I have read the detailed record of your conversations with the leaders of the Polish émigré Government, I am more convinced than ever that men of their type are incapable of establishing normal relations with the U.S.S.R. Suffice it to point out that they, far from being ready to recognise the Curzon Line,72 claim both Lvov and Vilna. As regards the desire to place certain Soviet territories under foreign control, we cannot agree to discuss such encroachments, for, as we see it, the mere posing of the question is an affront to the Soviet Union.
I have already written to the President that the time is not yet ripe for a solution of the problem of Soviet-Polish relations. I am compelled to reaffirm the soundness of this conclusion.
March 3, 1944
I thank you for your message of March 3rd about the Polish question.
2. I made it clear to the Poles that they would not get either Lvov or Vilna and references to these places as my message shows merely suggested a way in those areas in which Poles thought they could help the common cause. They were certainly not intended to be insulting either by the Poles or by me. However, since you find them an obstacle, pray consider them withdrawn and expunged from the message.
3. Proposals I submitted to you make the occupation by Russia of the Curzon Line72 a de facto reality in the agreement with the Poles from the moment your armies reach it and I have told you that provided the settlement you and we have outlined in our talks and correspondence was brought into being, His Britannic Majesty’s Government would support it at the armistice or peace conferences. I have no doubt that it would be equally supported by the United States. Therefore you would have the Curzon Line de facto with the assent of the Poles as soon as you get there, and with the blessing of your Western Allies at the general settlement.
4. Force can achieve much but force supported by the good will of the world can achieve more. I earnestly hope that you will not close the door finally to a working arrangement with the Poles which will help the common cause during the war and give you all you require at the peace. If nothing can be arranged and you are unable to have any relations with the Polish Government which we shall continue to recognise as the government of the ally for whom we declared war upon Hitler, I should be very sorry indeed. The War Cabinet ask me to say that they would share this regret. Our only comfort will be that we have tried our very best.
5. You spoke to Ambassador Clark Kerr of the danger of the Polish question making a rift between you and me. I shall try earnestly to prevent this. All my hopes for the future of the world are based upon the friendship and cooperation of the Western democracies and Soviet Russia.
London, 7th March, 1944
Received on March 9, 1944
Although the Prime Minister instructed Ambassador Clark Kerr to tell
you that the destroyers we are lending you were old, this was only for
the sake of absolute frankness. In fact they are good, serviceable
ships, quite efficient for escort duty. There are only seven fleet
destroyers in the whole Italian Navy, the rest being older destroyers
and torpedo-boats. Moreover, these Italian destroyers when we do get
them, are absolutely unfitted for work in the North without very
lengthy refit. Therefore we thought the eight which the British
Government had found would be an earlier and more convenient form of
help to you. The Prime Minister regrets that he cannot spare any new
destroyers at the present time. He lost two the week before last, one
in the Russian convoy, and for landing at “Overlord”50 alone he has to
deploy for close in-shore work against batteries no fewer than
forty-two destroyers, a large proportion of which may be sunk. Every
single vessel that he has of this class is being used to the utmost
pressure in the common cause. The movement of the Japanese Fleet to
Singapore creates a new situation for us both in the Indian Ocean. The
fighting in Anzio bridgehead and generally throughout the Mediterranean
is at its height. The vast troop convoys are crossing the Atlantic with
the United States Army of Liberation. The Russian convoys are being run
up to the last minute before “Overlord” with very heavy destroyer
escorts. Finally there is “Overlord” itself. The President’s position
is similarly strained but in this case mainly because of the great
scale and activity of the operations in the Pacific. Our joint
intentions to deliver to you the Italian ships agreed on at Moscow and
Tehran remain unaltered, and we shall put the position formally to the
Italian Government at the time the latter is broadened and the new
Ministers take over their responsibilities. There is no question of our
right to dispose of the Italian Navy, but only of exercising that right
with the least harm to our common interests. Meanwhile all our
specified ships are being prepared for delivery to you on loan as
Received on March 10, 1944
You will be glad to hear that the latest Russian convoy has now got safe home and that four U-boats out of the pack that attacked it were certainly sunk on the voyage by the escort.
Thank you for your information about the latest convoy, which has delivered badly-needed cargoes to the Soviet Union. I was deeply satisfied to learn from your telegram that the convoy sunk four enemy U-boats en route.
March 13, 1944
Your message on the Polish question, dated March 7, reached me through Mr Kerr on March 12.
Thank you for the elucidations you offer in the message.
Although our correspondence is considered secret and personal, for some time past the contents of my messages to you have been getting into the British press and with serious distortions at that, distortions which I am not in a position to rebut. That, as I see it, is a violation of secrecy. This circumstance makes it difficult for me to speak my mind freely. You will, I hope, appreciate the point.
March 16, 1944
I have received your message concerning the transfer of eight destroyers to the Soviet Union by the British Government. I am ready to agree that the said destroyers are quite fit for escort service, but surely you realise that the Soviet Union also needs destroyers fit for other combat operations. The Allies’ right to dispose of the Italian Navy is absolutely beyond question, of course, and this should be made clear to the Italian Government, especially as regards the Italian ships which are to be transferred to the Soviet Union.
March 17, 1944
Your telegram of March 16th.
First of all I must congratulate you again on all the wonderful victories your armies are winning and also on the extremely temperate way in which you have dealt with the Finns. I suppose they are worried about interning nine German divisions in Finland for fear that the nine German divisions should intern them. We are much obliged to you for keeping us in touch with all your action in this theatre.
2. With regard to the Poles, I am not to blame in any way about revealing your secret correspondence. The information was given both to the American Herald Tribune correspondent and to the London Times correspondent by the Soviet Embassy in London. In the latter case, it was given personally by Ambassador Gusev.
3. I shall have very soon to make a statement to the House of Commons about the Polish position. This will involve my saying that attempts to make an arrangement between the Soviet and Polish Governments have broken down; that we continue to recognise the Polish Government, with whom we have been in continuous relations since the invasion of Poland in 1939; that we now consider all questions of territorial change must await the armistice or peace conferences of the victorious Powers; and that in the meantime we can recognise no forcible transferences of territory.
4. I am repeating this telegram to the President of the United States. I only wish I had better news to give him for the sake of all.
5. Finally, let me express the earnest hope that the breakdown which has occurred between us about Poland will not have any effect upon our cooperation in other spheres where the maintenance of our common action is of the greatest consequence.
London, 21 March, 1944
I have lately received two messages from you on the Polish question and have read the statement made by Mr Kerr on the question to V. M. Molotov on instructions from you.79 I have not been able to reply earlier as front affairs often keep me away from non-military matters.
I shall now answer point by point.
I was struck by the fact that both your messages and particularly Kerr’s statement bristle with threats against the Soviet Union. I should like to call your attention to this circumstance because threats as a method are not only out of place in relations between Allies, but also harmful, for they may lead to opposite results.
The Soviet Union’s efforts to uphold and implement the Curzon Line72 are referred to in one of your messages as a policy of force. This implies that you are now trying to describe the Curzon Line as unlawful and the struggle for it as unjust I totally disagree with you. I must point out that at Tehran you, the President and myself were agreed that the Curzon Line was lawful. At that time you considered the Soviet Government’s stand on the issue quite correct, and said it would be crazy for representatives of the Polish émigré Government to reject the Curzon Line. But now you maintain something to the contrary.
Does this mean that you no longer recognise what we agreed on in Tehran and are ready to violate the Tehran agreement? I have no doubt that had you persevered in your Tehran stand the conflict with the Polish émigré Government could have been settled. As for me and the Soviet Government, we still adhere to the Tehran standpoint, and we have no intention of going back on it, for we believe implementation of the Curzon Line to be evidence, not of a policy of force, but of a policy of re-establishing the Soviet Union’s legitimate right to those territories, which even Curzon and the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers recognised as non-Polish in 1919.
You say in your message of March 7 that the problem of the Soviet-Polish frontier will have to be put off till the armistice conference is convened. I think there is a misunderstanding here. The Soviet Union is not waging nor does it intend to wage war against Poland. It has no conflict with the Polish people and considers itself an ally of Poland and the Polish people. That is why it is shedding its blood to free Poland from German oppression. It would be strange, therefore, to speak of an armistice between the U.S.S.R. and Poland. But the Soviet Union is in conflict with the Polish émigré Government, which does not represent the interests of the Polish people or express their aspirations. It would be stranger still to identify Poland with the Polish émigré Government in London, a government isolated from Poland. I even find it hard to tell the difference between Poland’s émigré Government and the Yugoslav émigré Government, which is akin to it, or between certain generals of the Polish émigré Government and the Serb General Mihajlović.
In your message of March 21 you tell me of your intention to make a statement in the House of Commons to the effect that all territorial questions must await the armistice or peace conferences of the victorious Powers and that in the meantime you cannot recognise any forcible transferences of territory. As I see it you make the Soviet Union appear as being hostile to Poland, and virtually deny the liberation nature of the war waged by the Soviet Union against German aggression. That is tantamount to attributing to the Soviet Union something which is non-existent, and, thereby, discrediting it. I have no doubt that the peoples of the Soviet Union and world public opinion will evaluate your statement as a gratuitous insult to the Soviet Union.
To be sure you are free to make any statement you like in the House of Commons – that is your business. But should you make a statement of this nature I shall consider that you have committed an unjust and unfriendly act in relation to the Soviet Union.
In your message you express the hope that the breakdown over the Polish question will not affect our cooperation in other spheres. As far as I am concerned, I have been, and still am, for cooperation. But I fear that the method of intimidation and defamation, if continued, will not benefit our cooperation.
March 23, 1944
I have had a rigorous check made on your communication that correspondence between you and me had been divulged, through the fault of the Soviet Embassy in London, in particular Ambassador F. T. Gusev. The verification showed that neither the Embassy as such nor F. T. Gusev personally is to, blame in the least and, in fact, does not even have some of the documents the contents of which were divulged by British newspapers. In other words, the leak came from the British, not the Soviet side. Gusev is willing for any investigation to prove that neither he nor any member of his staff has had anything to do with divulging the contents of our correspondence. It appears that you have been misled as to Gusev and the Soviet Embassy.
March 25, 1944
Pursuant to our talks at Tehran, the general crossing of the sea will take place around “R” date, which Generals Deane and Burrows have recently been directed to give to the Soviet General Staff.80 We shall be acting at our fullest strength.
2. We are launching an offensive on the Italian mainland at maximum strength about mid-May.
3. Since Tehran your armies have been gaining a magnificent series of
victories for the common cause. Even in the month when you thought they
would not be active they have gained these great victories. We send you
our very best wishes and trust that your armies and ours, operating in
unison in accordance with our Tehran agreement, will crush the
April 18th, 1944
Your message of April 18 received.
The Soviet Government is satisfied to learn that in accordance with the Tehran agreement the sea crossing will take place at the appointed time, which Generals Deane and Burrows have already imparted to our General Staff,80 and that you will be acting at full strength. I am confident that the planned operation will be a success.
I hope that the operations you are undertaking in Italy will likewise be successful.
As agreed in Tehran, the Red Army will launch a new offensive at the same time so as to give maximum support to the Anglo-American operations.
Please accept my thanks for the good wishes you have expressed on the occasion of the Red Army’s success. I subscribe to your statement that your armies and our own, supporting each other, will defeat the Hitlerites and thus fulfil their historic mission.
April 22, 1944
Last autumn I gave instructions for a convoy cycle consisting of four convoys, each of about 35 British and American ships, to be sailed to your northern ports and I was later able to add two additional half convoys of 20 ships each to the original programme, making a total of 180 ships which were expected to carry about one million tons dead-weight of cargo. The outward cycle has now been completed and I take pleasure in reporting to you the results of the efforts we have made.
2. Excluding rescue ships, the Royal Navy has convoyed 191 ships to
your northern ports comprising 49 British and 118 United States dry
cargo ships, one crane ship to aid in discharge, 5 ships with United
States military cargoes, and 18 tankers. In dead-weight tons the cargo
carried consisted of:
|Aviation spirit, alcohol and fuel oil||171,500|
|United States army stores||25,000|
|A total of
4. All this has been very successful and it rejoices my heart that these weapons should reach your gallant armies at a time when their great victories are occurring. The moment we have got over the crisis of “Overlord”50 I shall be making plans to send you more. I have already given directions for the matter to be studied so that we can make another convoy engagement with you if the course of battle allows. I expect really heavy sea losses in this particular “Overlord” battle, where warships will have a prolonged engagement with shore batteries and all vessels will be in great danger from mines. We think we have got the U-boat and enemy aircraft pretty well mastered, but the little “E” boats will be a danger at night with their great speed. I felt I owe it to Mr Lyttelton, Minister of Production, who has been largely in charge of this business of Arctic supplies to make you acquainted with the fact that we have succeeded beyond our hopes.
May 3rd, 1944
Your message of May 3 received.
The organisation of the convoys which delivered their cargoes to Soviet northern ports is indeed worthy of recognition and approval. I thank you for the exceptional attention you have devoted to this matter. Would you mind if the Soviet Government were to confer an Order on Mr Lyttelton for his great services? We would gladly award decorations to others as well, who have distinguished themselves in organising and sailing convoys.
I am pleased to learn from your communication that you have issued instructions to study the question of sending the further convoys of which we are still badly in need.
I realise how much your attention is now riveted to “Overlord,”50 which is bound to call for tremendous exertion, but which also holds out the promise of tremendous gains for the entire course of the war.
May 8, 1944
Received on May 14, 1944
In order to give the maximum strength to the attack across the sea
against Northern France, we have transferred part of our landing craft
from the Mediterranean to England. This, together with the need for
using our Mediterranean land forces in the present Italian battle makes
it impracticable to attack the Mediterranean coast of France
simultaneously with the “Overlord”50 assault. We are
planning to make such an attack later, for which purpose additional
landing craft are being sent to the Mediterranean from the United
States. In order to keep the greatest number of German forces away from
Northern France and the Eastern Front, we are attacking the Germans in
Italy at once on a maximum scale and, at the same time, are maintaining
a threat against the Mediterranean coast of France.
Your Joint message received. You can best decide how and in what way to allocate your forces. The important thing, of course, is to ensure complete success for “Overlord.”50 I express confidence also in the success of the offensive launched in Italy.
May 15, 1944
Thank you very much for your message of May 8th. Mr Lyttelton would be honoured to accept a Soviet Order, and I would readily submit to The King for permission for him to accept it. There are one or two other persons who have done very well in this business, and in view of your invitation I should like t go into this more closely than I have yet been able to do Perhaps you will allow me to telegraph again.
2. The battle in Italy has gone very well. The Poles fought bravely, but were driven back with heavy losses from positions. They had gained north of Cassino. They lost several thousand men. They have, however, attacked again and have been successful. The French also distinguished themselves. General Alexander has conducted the battle with great determination, and the capture of Cassino is a trophy. Our losses to May 17th have been about 13,000. We have 7,000 German prisoners and there are many dead. We are now approaching the Adolf Hitler Line, which we hope to enter with energy.
3. It was decided to hold back the impending attack from Anzio bridgehead until the best moment was reached in the main battle. But there is a good punch to come from there presently.
4. I am hopeful that this German army of seventeen or eighteen divisions, of which five or six have already been cut to pieces, will be in very poor condition by the time this battle ends. This will leave us free to organise immediately an amphibious operation threatening the whole coasts of the Gulf of Genoa and the Gulf to Lions. Exactly where to strike cannot yet be settled. The Americans have been good in sending us more landing craft for this purpose, and I hope we shall succeed in keeping thirty to thirty-five German divisions in this theatre and away from “Overlord.”50
5. As you well understand, all our thoughts are wrapped up in this. All commanders are confident and the troops most eager.
6. I have also asked the Foreign Office to send through Mr Molotov a telegram I have sent to Marshal Tito,81 which will show you exactly where we stand. My son Randolph, whom you met at Tehran, is with Marshal Tito, and writes about the very excellent relations which exist between the Soviet Mission and ours. So may it continue.
May 19th, 1944
Your message of May 19 has reached me.
As you say, I shall await your final communication with regard to Mr Lyttelton and the other persons eligible for decoration.
Congratulations on the successful Allied offensive in Italy, under Gen. Alexander. The important thing now is to ensure that the Allied operations against the German forces in Italy should indeed keep considerable German forces away from “Overlord.”50
I have read your telegram to Marshal Tito. I, too, welcome the good relations between our Missions in Yugoslavia, and I hope they will continue so.
May 22, 1944
Received on May 24, 1944
The battle in Italy is at its climax. Last night, May 22nd- 23rd, we attacked both on the main front (British and French) and Americans were launched in considerable strength from Anzio on the lines of communication. The enemy have drawn down a regiment of the 278th Infantry Division and two Divisions, the 29th and 90th Panzer Grenadier Divisions, from the north of Rome. Far from withdrawing under heavy rearguard, as the American Staffs thought, evidently Hitler has committed himself obstinately to fighting it out south of Rome. If Kesselring’s army is defeated and partially destroyed thereabouts, this will give favourable conditions for the future. The Hermann Goering division, which is a part of Hitler ’s special reserve, may yet be thrown into the battle against us. If so it all helps “Overlord.”50 The battle must be considered critical and our forces do not greatly exceed those of the enemy.
2. I am hoping to make you a renewed programme for Arctic convoys, but I must see first what we lose in destroyers and cruisers in the sea part of “Overlord.” I visited many troops, British and American, and found them most eager to engage; also every kind of floating structure and apparatus has been made to enable great numbers of men and vehicles to be flung ashore the same moment, protected by unparalleled fire from the sea. We have 11,000 aircraft of the first class ready to engage on one single day.
3. Every good wish for the great operation which you are preparing. I have not yet congratulated you on your capture of Odessa and Sevastopol. I do so now.
I am obliged to you for the information on the battle in Italy, contained in your latest message. We are watching your successes with admiration.
We are greatly encouraged by your news on the “Overlord”50 preparations now in full swing. What is most important is that the British and U.S. troops are so full of resolve.
I welcome your readiness to resume later the programme for Arctic convoys.
Thank you for your congratulations. We are preparing might and main for new major operations.
May 26, 1944
Thank you very much for your telegram. The battle in Italy goes well and I am greatly in hopes that we cut some of them off. We are not thinking of Rome except as a by-product. Our main object is to draw the largest number of Germans into the battle and destroy them. Immediately this battle is won we turn all our Mediterranean forces towards the best amphibious operation possible to help “Overlord.”50
2. Everything here is centred on “Overlord,” and everything in human power will be done or risked.
May 28th, 1944
Thank you for your latest message on the battle in Italy. We, too, hope for its successful conclusion, which is bound to facilitate the efforts involved in “Overlord.”50 We wish you further success.
May 30, 1944
You will have been pleased to learn of the Allied entry into Rome. What we have always regarded as more important is the cutting off of as many enemy divisions as possible. General Alexander is now ordering strong armoured forces northward on Terni, which should largely complete the cutting off of all the divisions which were sent by Hitler to fight south of Rome. Although the amphibious landing at Anzio and Nettuno did not immediately fructify, as I had hoped when it was planned, it was a correct strategical move and brought its reward in the end. First it drew ten divisions from the following places:
1 from France, 1 from the Rhineland,
4 from Yugoslavia and Istria,
1 from Denmark, and 3 from North Italy.
Secondly, it brought on a defensive battle in which, though we lost about 25,000 men, the Germans were repulsed and much of the fighting strength of their divisions was broken with a loss of about 30,000 men. Finally the Anzio landing has made possible the kind of movement for which it was originally planned, only on a far larger scale. General Alexander is concentrating every effort now on the entrapping of the divisions south of Rome. Several have retreated into the mountains leaving a great deal of their heavy weapons behind, but we hope for a very good round-up of prisoners and material. As soon as this is over we shall decide how best to use our armies in Italy to support the main adventure. British, Americans, Free French and Poles have all broken or beaten in frontal attack the German troops opposite them and there are various important options which will soon have to be considered.
2. I have just returned from two days at General Eisenhower’s Headquarters watching troops embark. The difficulties of getting proper weather conditions are very great, especially as we have to consider the fullest employment of the vast naval and ground forces in relation to the tides, waves, fog and cloud. With great regret General Eisenhower was forced to postpone for one night, but the weather forecast has undergone a most favourable change and tonight we go. We are using 5,000 ships and have available 11,000 fully mounted aircraft.
June 5th, 1944
I congratulate you on the taking of Rome – a grand victory for the Allied Anglo-American troops. The news has caused deep satisfaction in the Soviet Union.
June 5, 1944
Everything has started well. The mines, obstacles and land batteries have been largely overcome. The air landings were very successful and on a large scale. Infantry landings are proceeding rapidly and many tanks and self-propelled guns are already ashore.
The weather outlook is moderate to good.
June 6th, 1944
Your communication on the successful launching of “Overlord”50 has reached me. It is a source of joy to us all and of hope for further successes.
The summer offensive of the Soviet troops, to be launched in keeping with the agreement reached at the Tehran Conference, will begin in mid-June in one of the vital sectors of the front. The general offensive will develop by stages, through consecutive engagement of the armies in offensive operations. Between late June and the end of July the operations will turn into a general offensive of the Soviet troops.
I shall not fail to keep you posted about the course of the operations.
June 6, 1944
Thank you for your message and congratulations about Rome. About “Overlord”50 I am well satisfied with the situation up to noon today, the 7th of June. Only at one American beach has there been serious difficulty and that has now been cleared up. Twenty thousand air-borne troops are safely landed behind the flanks of the enemy’s line and have made contact in each case with American and British sea-borne forces. We got across with small losses. We had expected to lose about ten thousand men. By tonight we hope to have the best part of a quarter of a million men ashore including a considerable quantity of armour (tanks) landed from special ships or swimming ashore by themselves. In this latter class of tanks there have been a good many casualties especially on the American front owing to the waves overturning these swimming tanks. We must now expect heavy counter-attacks but we expect to be stronger in armour, and, of course, overwhelming in the air whenever the clouds lift.
2. There was a tank engagement of our newly landed armour with fifty enemy tanks of the 21st Panzer-Grenadier Division late last night towards Caen as a result of which the enemy quitted the field. The British 7th Armoured Division is now going in and should give us superiority for a few days. The question is how many can they bring against us in the next week. The weather in the Channel does not seem to impose any prohibition on our continued landings. Indeed it seems more promising than before. All commanders are satisfied that in the actual landing things have gone better than we expected.
3. Most Especially Secret. We are planning to make very quickly two large synthetic harbours on the beaches of the wide sand bay of the Seine Estuary. Nothing like these has at any time ever been seen before. Great ocean liners will be able to discharge and run by numerous piers the supplies to the fighting troops. This must be quite unexpected by the enemy and will enable the building-up to proceed with very great independence of weather conditions. We hope to get Cherbourg at early point in the operations.
4. On the other hand the enemy will concentrate rapidly and heavily and fighting will be severe and increasing in scale. Still we hope to have by D+30 day82 about 25 divisions deployed with all their corps troops with both flanks of the eventual front resting on the sea and possessed of at least three good harbours, Cherbourg and the two synthetic harbours. This front will be constantly nourished and expanded and we hope to include later the Brest Peninsula. But all this waits on the hazards of war which, Marshal Stalin, you know so well.
5. We hope that this successful landing and the victory of Rome, of which the fruits have still to be gathered from the cut-off Hun divisions, will cheer your valiant soldiers after all the weight they have had to bear, which no one outside your country has felt more keenly than I.
6. Since dictating the above I have received your message about the successful beginning of “Overlord” in which you speak of the summer offensive of the Soviet forces. I thank you cordially for this. I hope you will observe that we have never asked you a single question because of our full confidence in you, your nation and your armies.
June 7th, 1944
I have received your message of June 7 informing me of the successful development of “Overlord.”50 We all salute you and the gallant British and U.S. troops and sincerely wish you further success.
Preparations for the summer offensive of the Soviet troops are nearing completion. Tomorrow, June 10, we begin the first round on the Leningrad front.
June 9, 1944
I am delighted to receive your message which I have communicated to General Eisenhower. The whole world can see the Tehran design appearing in our concerted attacks upon the common foe. May all good fortune go with the Soviet armies.
2. By tonight, 10th, we ought to have landed nearly 400,000 men together with a large superiority in tanks and a rapidly growing mass of artillery and lorries. We have found three small fishing ports which are capable of taking unexpected traffic. In addition, the two great synthetic harbours are going ahead well. The fighting on the front is reported satisfactory. We think Rommel has frittered away some of his strategical reserves in tactical counter-attacks. These have all been held. We must expect strategical reaction of the enemy in the near future.
3. General Alexander is chasing the beaten remnants of Kesselring’s army northwards swiftly. They will probably make a stand on Rimini-Pisa position on which some work has been done. General Alexander reports fighting value of the twenty German divisions is greatly reduced. There are six or seven divisions retreating northwards under cover of rearguards and demolitions. He is on their track while mopping up continues.
June 10th, 1944
Received on June 11, 1944
I have been astounded by what happened83 to Marshal Badoglio. It seems to me that we have lost the only competent man we had to deal with and one who was bound to serve us best. The present cluster of aged and hungry politicians will naturally endeavour to push Italian claims and might be the greatest possible inconvenience to us. It would be a great help to me to know how you feel about this.
I have received your message on the resignation of Badoglio. To me, too, his resignation came as a surprise. I thought that without the consent of the Allies – the British and Americans – Badoglio could not be removed and replaced by Bonomi. However, it appears from your message that this has happened against the will of the Allies. It is to be expected that certain Italian circles will try to change the armistice terms in their favour. Be that as it may, if circumstances suggest to you and the Americans that Italy should have a Government different from that of Bonomi, you may rest assured that the Soviet side will raise no obstacles.
2. I have also received your message of June 10. Thank you for the information. It appears that the landing, planned on a tremendous scale, has been crowned with success. I and my colleagues cannot but recognise that this is an enterprise unprecedented in military history as to scale, breadth of conception and masterly execution. As is known, Napoleon’s plan for crossing the Channel failed disgracefully. Hitler the hysteric, who for two years had boasted that he would cross the Channel, did not venture even to make an attempt to carry out his threat. None but our Allies have been able to fulfil with flying colours the grand plan for crossing the Channel. History will record this as a feat of the highest order.
June 11, 1944
Your message of June 11th gave me and the whole Cabinet to whom I read it lively pleasure. Your first paragraph fits in with what President Roosevelt has agreed, namely that the matter must be considered by the Joint Advisory Committee and, after discussion there, must be remitted to the three governments who will consult together on their attitude to the new government. Meanwhile Badoglio who is apparently on quite friendly terms with Bonomi will carry on for a space.
2. I visited the British sector of the front on Monday as you may have seen from the newspapers. The fighting is continuous and at that time we had fourteen divisions operating on a front of about seventy miles. Against this the enemy has thirteen divisions not nearly so strong as ours. Reinforcements are hurrying up from their rear but we think we can pour them in much quicker from the sea. It is a wonderful sight to see this city of ships stretching along the coast for nearly fifty miles and apparently secure from the air and the U-boats which are so near. We have to encircle Caen and perhaps to make the capture there of prisoners. Two days ago the number of prisoners was thirteen thousand which is more than all the killed and wounded we had lost up to that time. Therefore it may be said that the enemy has lost nearly double what we have although we have been continuously on the offensive. During yesterday the advances were quite good though enemy resistance is stiffening as his strategic reserves are thrown into the battle. I should think it quite likely that we should work up to a battle about a million a side lasting through June and July. We plan to have about two million there by mid-August.
3. Every good wish for your successes in Karelia.
June 14th, 1944
Your message on June 14 received.
I think you are right in proposing that the question of a new Italian Cabinet be examined preliminarily by the Advisory Council for Italy so that our three Governments can arrive at a common view on the matter.
I have read with great interest your news about the military operations in Northern France. All success to the planned encirclement of Caen and to the further development of the operations in Normandy.
Thank you for your good wishes for the success of our offensive. Our operations are developing according to plan and will be of vital importance to the whole of our common Allied front.
June 15, 1944
I am hoping to resume northern convoys to Russia about August 10th. I have communicated with President Roosevelt and he is in full agreement. We hope to have about thirty merchant ships loading in the near future of which two-thirds will be American. The regular official correspondence will pass through the usual channels.
2. Your telegram of June 15th about Italy. You will have seen the Foreign Office telegram to the Naples High Commissioner No. 285 of June 14th repeated to Moscow No. 1796.84 I thank you very much for the way you have looked at this surprise situation. I must now tell you that after hearing from the President of the United States as well as from our representatives on the spot I have become convinced that it will be impossible to set up Badoglio again and that he himself feels that he has had enough of it. He has served us well. I agree that these matters should now be considered by the Advisory Council for Italy in order that our three Governments may declare our opinion at the same time on this question. The important thing is that the new Italian Government should be made to understand exactly what the obligations are which they have inherited.
3. The battle in Normandy is now fully engaged on a seventy-mile front and will increase steadily in scale and violence. It is by this increase in scale and violence that its course should be measured at this juncture rather than in territorial gains. We have had about thirty thousand casualties and have certainly inflicted more upon the enemy. Three days ago we held thirteen thousand prisoners and many more have been taken since. We have about five hundred and fifty thousand men ashore so far representing twenty divisions plus corps troops, etc. The enemy is about sixteen but weaker. I have just conferred with General Marshall, United States Army, who tells me that he is well assured as regards the position and that the power of the enemy to launch a great-scale counter-attack in the next few days has been largely removed through Rommel throwing in strategic reserves prematurely to feed the battle line.
4. Hitler has started his secret weapon upon London. We had a noisy night. We believe we have it under control. All good wishes in these stirring times.
June 17th, 1944
Thank you for the news that you and the President plan to resume northern convoys to the Soviet Union about August 10. This will help us considerably.
As regards Italian affairs, I presume that you are already familiar with the Advisory Council resolution85 on the new Italian Government. The Soviet Government has no objection to the resolution.
We are all happy about the progress of the operations by the British and U.S. troops in Normandy, which have already assumed such a vast scale. With all my heart I wish your troops further success.
2. The second round of the summer offensive of the Soviet forces will begin within a week. The offensive will involve 130 divisions, including armoured ones. I and my colleagues expect important success from it and I hope it will be a substantial help to the Allied operations in France and in Italy.
June 21, 1944
I was greatly cheered by the information conveyed in your telegram of June 21st. We now rejoice in the opening results of your immense operations and will not cease by every human means to broaden our fronts engaged with the enemy and to have the fighting kept at the utmost intensity.
2. The Americans hope to take Cherbourg in a few days. The fall of Cherbourg will soon set three American divisions free to reinforce our attack southward, and it may be that twenty-five thousand prisoners will fall into our hands at Cherbourg.
3. We have had three or four days of gale – most unusual in June – which has delayed the build-up and done much injury to our synthetic harbours in their incomplete condition. We have provided means to repair and strengthen them. The roads leading inland from the two synthetic harbours are being made with great speed by bulldozers and steel networks unrolled. Thus with Cherbourg a large base will be established from which very considerable armies can be operated irrespective of the weather.
4. We have had bitter fighting on the British front where four out of the five Panzer divisions are engaged. New British onslaught there has been delayed a few days by bad weather which delayed the completion of several divisions. The attack will begin tomorrow.
5. The advance in Italy goes forward with great rapidity and we hope to be in possession of Florence in June and in contact with the Pisa-Rimini line by the middle or end of July. I shall send you a telegram presently about various strategical possibilities which are opened up herewith. The overriding principle which in my opinion we should follow is the continuous engagement of the largest possible number of Hitlerites on the broadest and most effective fronts. It is only by hard fighting that we can take some of the weight off you.
6. You may safely disregard all the German rubbish about the results of their flying bomb. It has had no appreciable effect upon the production or the life of London. Casualties during the seven days it has been used are between ten and eleven thousand. The streets and parks remain full of people enjoying the sunshine when off work or duty. Parliament Debates continue throughout the alarms. The rocket development may be more formidable when it comes. The people are proud to share in a small way the perils of our own soldiers and of your soldiers who are so highly admired in Britain. May all good fortune attend your new onfall.
June 25th, 1944
Please accept my warmest congratulations on the liberation of Cherbourg from the German invaders. I salute the valiant British and U.S. troops on the occasion of their brilliant success.
June 27, 1944
Your message of June 25 received.
Meanwhile the Allied troops have liberated Cherbourg, thus crowning their efforts in Normandy with another major victory. I welcome the continuing success of the gallant British and U.S. troops who are developing their operations both in Northern France and in Italy.
While the scale of the operations in Northern France is becoming more and more powerful and menacing for Hitler, the successful development of the Allied offensive in Italy, too, is worthy of the greatest attention and praise. We wish you further success.
With regard to our offensive I may say that we shall give the Germans no respite, but shall go on extending the front of our offensive operations, increasing the force of our drive against the German armies. You will agree, I suppose, that this is essential for our common cause.
As to Hitler’s flying bomb, this weapon, as we see, cannot seriously affect either the operations in Normandy or the population of London whose courage is a matter of record.
June 27, 1944
Your message of June 27th. We are honoured by your congratulations on the liberation of Cherbourg and for your greetings to American and British troops on the occasion of this most pregnant victory.
June 29th, 1944
Your message of June 27th has given us all the greatest encouragement and pleasure. I am forwarding it to the President, who will I am sure be gratified.
2. This is the moment for me to tell you how immensely we are all here impressed with the magnificent advances of the Russian armies which seem, as they grow in momentum, to be pulverising the German armies which stand between you and Warsaw, and afterwards Berlin. Every victory that you gain is watched with eager attention here. I realise vividly that all this is the second round you have fought since Tehran, the first which regained Sebastopol, Odessa and the Crimea and carried your vanguards to the Carpathians, Sereth and Prut.
3. The battle is hot in Normandy. The June weather has been very tiresome. Not only did we have a gale on the beaches worse than any in the summer-time records for many years, but there has been a great deal of cloud. This denies us full use of our overwhelming air superiority and also helps flying bombs to get through to London. However, I hope July will show an improvement. Meanwhile the hard fighting goes in our favour and, although eight Panzer divisions are in action against the British sector, we still have a good majority of tanks. We have well over three-quarters of a million British and Americans ashore, half and half. The enemy is burning and bleeding on every front at once, and I agree with you that this must go on to the end.
July 1st, 1944
Received on July 3, 1944
I received the splendid photograph of yourself which you have sent me, with an inscription which adds greatly to the pleasure it gives me. Thank you very much indeed.
Your message of July 1 received.
I am grateful for your high praise of the successes of the Red Army, which is now fighting the second round of its summer offensive.
We are all confident that the temporary difficulties in Normandy of which you write will not prevent the British and U.S. forces from making good use of their superiority over the enemy in aircraft and armour, from further exploiting the success of their offensive operations.
Regards and best wishes from us all.
July 4, 1944
With great joy I hear of your glorious victory in taking Minsk and of the tremendous advance made on so broad a front by the invincible Russian armies.
July 5th, 1944
Thank you for your warm greetings on the occasion of the capture of Minsk by the Soviet troops.
July 7, 1944
I congratulate you on the glorious victory of the British troops who have liberated Caen.
July 11, 1944
Received on July 12, 1944
Some weeks ago it was suggested by Mr Eden to your Ambassador that the Soviet Government should take the lead in Roumania and the British should do the same in Greece. This was only a working arrangement to avoid as much as possible the awful business of triangular telegrams which paralyses action. Mr Molotov then suggested very properly that I should tell the United States Government, which I did and always meant to, and after some discussion the President agreed to a three-months’ trial being made. These may be three very important months, Marshal Stalin, July, August and September. Now, however, I see that you find some difficulties in this. I would ask whether you should not tell us that the plan may be allowed to have its chance for three months. No one can say it affects the future of Europe or divides it into spheres. But we can get a clear-headed policy in each theatre and we will all report to the others what we are doing. However if you tell me it is hopeless I shall not take it amiss.
2. There is another matter I should like to put to you. Turkey is willing to break off relations immediately with the Axis Powers. I agree with you that she ought to declare war, but I fear that if we tell her to do so she will defend herself by asking both for aircraft to protect her towns, which we shall find it hard to spare or put there at the present moment, and also for Joint military operations in Bulgaria and the Aegean for which we have not at present the means. And in addition to all this she will demand once again all sorts of munitions, which we cannot spare because the stocks we had ready for her at the beginning of the year have been drawn off in other directions. It seems to me therefore wiser to take this breaking of relations with Germany as a first instalment. We can then push a few things in to help her against a vengeance attack from the air and out of this, while we are together, her entry into the war might come. The Turkish alliance in the last war was very dear to the Germans and the fact that Turkey had broken off relations would be a knell to the German soul. This seems to be a pretty good time to strike such a knell.
3. I am only putting to you my personal thoughts on these matters, which are also being transmitted by Mr Eden to Mr Molotov.
4. We have about a million and 50,000 men in Normandy, with a vast mass of equipment, and rising by 25,000 a day. The fighting is very hard and before the recent battles, for which casualties have not yet come in, we and the Americans had lost 64,000 men. However there is every evidence that the enemy has lost at least as many and we have besides 51,000 prisoners in the bag. Considering that we have been on the offensive and had been landing from the sea I consider the enemy has been severely mauled. The front will continue to broaden and the fighting will be unceasing.
5. Alexander is pushing very hard in Italy also. He hopes to force the Pisa-Rimini line and break into the Po Valley. This will either draw further German divisions on to him or yield up valuable strategical ground.
6. Londoners are standing up well to the bombing which has amounted to 22,000 casualties so far and looks like becoming chronic.
7. Once more congratulations on your glorious advance to Vilna.
There is firm evidence that the Germans have been conducting the trials of flying rockets from an experimental station at Debice in Poland for a considerable time. According to our information this missile has an explosive charge of about twelve thousand pounds and the effectiveness of our counter-measures largely depends on how much we can find out about this weapon before it is launched against this country. Debice is in the path of your victorious advancing armies and it may well be that you will overrun this place in the next few weeks.
2. Although the Germans will almost certainly destroy or remove as much of the equipment at Debice as they can, it is probable that a considerable amount of information will become available when the area is in Russian hands. In particular we hope to learn how the rocket is discharged as this will enable us to locate the launching sites.
3. I should be grateful, therefore, Marshal Stalin, if you could give appropriate instructions for the preservation of such apparatus and installations at Debice as your armies are able to ensure after the area has been overrun, and that thereafter you would afford us facilities for the examination of this experimental station by our experts.
July 13th, 1944
Thank you very much for your message of congratulation. I have repeated it to General Montgomery and told him that he may tell his troops.
July 13th, 1944
Your message of July 12 received.
With regard to the question of Roumania and Greece there is no need to repeat what you already know from correspondence between our Ambassador in London and Mr Eden. One thing is clear to me, that the U.S. Government has certain doubts about this matter, and we shall do well to return to the matter when we get the U.S. reply. I shall write to you on the subject again the moment we get the U.S. Government’s comments.
2. The question of Turkey should be examined in the light of the facts with which the Governments of Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the U.S.A. have been familiar since the negotiations with the Turkish Government at the end of last year. You will no doubt recall how insistently the Governments of our three countries proposed that Turkey should enter the war against Hitler Germany on the side of the Allies as early as November and December 1943. But nothing came of this. As you know, on the initiative of the Turkish Government we resumed negotiations with it last May and June, and twice made the same proposal that the three Allied Governments made at the end of last year. Nothing came of that, either. As regards any half-hearted step by Turkey I do not at the moment see how it can benefit the Allies. In view of the evasive and vague attitude which the Turkish Government has assumed in relation to Germany it is better to leave Turkey to herself and to refrain from any further pressure on her. This implies, of course, that the claims of Turkey, who has evaded fighting Germany, to special rights in post-war affairs will be disregarded.
3. We should like to comply with your request, stated in your message of July 13, concerning the experimental station at Debice in the event of it falling into our hands. Please specify which Debice you mean, for I understand there are several places with that name in Poland.
4. Thank you for the information on the situation in Normandy and Italy and for the congratulations on our advance in the Vilna area.
July 15, 1944
Your telegram of July 15th about the experimental station at Debice. The following is the British official location of the said station.
2. The area in which we are interested and where the experimental firing of large rockets takes place is north-east of Debice or Debica, which is situated on the main railway line between Cracow and Lvov, latitude 50°05´ North, longitude 21°25´ East. The actual area is some ten by three and a half miles, and lies between the following points:
3. It is possible that they have a thousand of these things, each of which carries about five tons. If this be true it would become an undoubted factor in the life of London. Our present killed and wounded are about thirty thousand but everyone is taking it very well. Parliament will require me to convince them that everything possible is done. Therefore it would be a help if you could lay your hands on any evidence that may be available and let us know, so that some of our people may come and see it. We have got a good deal out of the bomb that fell in Sweden and which did not detonate, but traces of the Polish experiments will give an invaluable supplement. There is one particular part of the radio work out of the rocket that fell in Sweden which we should particularly like to find although it looks quite a petty thing. If you will put your officers in touch with Generals Burrows and Deane and order them to help, the matter need not be of any more trouble to you.
A. 50°07´ North, 21°27´ East.
B. 50°12´ North, 21°36´ East.
C. 50°11´ North, 21°39´ East.D. 50°04´ North, 21°32´ East.
4. You will no doubt have been rejoiced to know that we have broken out into the plains of Normandy in a strong force of seven or eight hundred tanks with a number of highly mechanized brigades and artillery, and that we are behind their line and that their lines are already stretched by many days of battle to the last limit. I am therefore sanguine enough to hope that we may derange the entire enemy front. However, everybody has had disappointments in this war, so all I will say is that I hope to report good news to you ere long. I am going over tomorrow to be there for a few days myself.
July 19th, 1944
In your telegram of May 8th you spoke of some decorations with which you would honour personalities and officers concerned in the Arctic convoys. I have been a long time replying to this because I had to make some inquiries. For the honour which you thought of for Mr Lyttelton I would also recommend Lord Beaverbrook. He was the first who roused us to the need of instituting the convoys and it was due largely to his energy that several more months were not wasted. He came to you with the mission at the beginning, and I know he would be greatly complimented to receive a Russian Order. Both these Ministers therefore would be proud to accept. There are some people who have done good work lower down but I do not want to trespass on your kindness about them unless you feel the inclination to recognise some of the lower grades. They do a great work and very often do not get distinguished. In our orders we have many similar variants which can be given out judiciously. I could even send you names.
2. The first convoy of the new cycle starts in August. Thereafter I am planning to run a regular stream of convoys which will not be given up unless I show you good reason that I must have the destroyers elsewhere. I do not think it will occur. Presently we may come by shorter routes.
3. With respect to Poland I have avoided saying anything because I trust in you to make comradeship with the underground movement if it really strikes hard and true against the Germans. Should Mikolajczyk ask to come to see you, I hope you will consent.
4. All the world is marvelling at the organised attacks on Germany from three points at once. I hope you and the President and I may have a meeting somewhere or other before the winter closes in. It will be worth it to the poor people everywhere.
July 20th, 1944
In connection with your latest message I have given proper instructions on the experimental station in Debice. General Slavin, a General Staff representative, will establish the necessary contact on this matter with Generals Burrows and Deane. I appreciate the British Government’s great interest in this matter. I promise, therefore, to take personal care of the matter so as to do all that can be done according to your wishes.
I was deeply satisfied to learn from you that your troops in Normandy have broken into the German rear. I wish you further success.
July 22, 1944
Your message of July 20 received. I am now writing to you on the Polish question only.
Events on our front are going forward at a very rapid pace. Lublin, one of Poland’s major towns, was taken today by our troops, who continue their advance.
In this situation we find ourselves confronted with the practical problem of administration on Polish territory. We do not want to, nor shall we, set up our own administration on Polish soil, for we do not wish to interfere in Poland’s internal affairs. That is for the Poles themselves to do. We have, therefore, seen fit to get in touch with the Polish Committee of National Liberation, recently set up by the National Council of Poland, which was formed in Warsaw at the end of last year, and consisting of representatives of democratic parties and groups, as you must have been informed by your Ambassador in Moscow. The Polish Committee of National Liberation intends to set up an administration on Polish territory, and I hope this will be done. We have not found in Poland other forces capable of establishing a Polish administration. The so-called underground organisations, led by the Polish Government in London, have turned out to be ephemeral and lacking influence. As to the Polish Committee, I cannot consider it a Polish Government, but it may be that later on it will constitute the core of a Provisional Polish Government made up of democratic forces.
As for Mikolajczyk, I shall certainly not refuse to see him. It would be better, however, if he were to approach the Polish National Committee, who are favourably disposed towards him.
July 23, 1944
I thank you for your telegram of July 22nd about Debice and am very glad you will give the matter your personal attention.
2. You will no doubt by now have received the President’s telegram suggesting another meeting between us three in the North of Scotland around the second week in September. I need not say how earnestly His Majesty’s Government and I personally hope you will be able to come. I know well your difficulties and how your movements must depend upon the situation at the front, but I beg you to consider also the great advantage and simplification of all our joint affairs which would flow as at Tehran from a threefold meeting. We had thought that Invergordon was the best place and that we could either be accommodated in three separate battleships or that satisfactory arrangements could be made on shore or a blend of both. It would be easy to make the highest arrangements for secrecy as far as was thought desirable and for security. The weather is often at its best in the Highlands of Scotland in September, but in this matter I could give you no guarantee. Meanwhile I am making preparations for the President and myself as he has notified me of his intention to come. Pray let me know your thoughts and wishes.
3. I have just returned from three days in Normandy. Our advances have not been as fast or as far as I had hoped, but the weather has prevented on most days the use of our superior air power and has gravely impeded operations. A new battle will open on the first fine day, I hope tomorrow the 25th. Up to the present since the landing we have lost 110,000 men, and according to our estimates the enemy at least 160,000, including 60,000 prisoners. We have landed over 1,400,000 troops ashore. One of our new synthetic harbours was destroyed by the fury of the storm in June but the remaining one has delivered up to 11,000 tons in a day and is an astonishing sight to see. We are strengthening this by every means so that it can face the winter storms. Cherbourg is being rapidly developed by the Americans and will take a very great tonnage. Half a dozen smaller ports have been found capable of valuable contributions and Caen itself will be a 6,000-ton port when the enemy has been cleared sufficiently far to the east of it.
4. You know no doubt already that “Anvil”69 begins on August 15th. We have gathered more reinforcements from every part of the Mediterranean in order to support Alexander’s advances through the Apennines into the lower valley of the Po. He is conducting an offensive against about twenty-seven German divisions, many of them greatly reduced, with about twenty-four of his own representing seven countries. He hopes to reach Trieste before the winter sets in. He will give his right hand to Marshal Tito whom we are helping in every way possible.
5. Finally let me send my heartfelt congratulations on the irresistible onward marches of the Soviet armies and on the enormously important conquests you have made.
July 24th, 1944
M. Mikolajczyk is starting tomorrow night in response to the suggestion in the last paragraph of your message of July 23rd. He is bringing with him M. Romer and M. Grabski. His Majesty’s Government are making arrangements for his transport to Tehran or to Moscow as may be required. He desires a full and friendly conversation with you personally. He commands the full support of all his colleagues in the Polish Government, which of course we continue to recognise.
2. Our heartfelt wish is that all Poles may be united in clearing the Germans from their country and in establishing that free, strong and independent Poland working in friendship with Russia which you have proclaimed is your aim.
3. I have told the President of the United States of your telegram to me and have sent him also a copy of this. He will no doubt communicate with you.
July 25th, 1944
I fully agree with you about decorating, besides Mr Lyttelton, Lord Beaverbrook who has contributed so much to the successful running of the convoys and indeed deserves a high reward. The Soviet Government will propose to the Supreme Soviet that Lord Beaverbrook and Mr Lyttelton be decorated with the Order of Suvorov First Class. The Soviet Government shares your idea of decorating men of lower rank, who have distinguished themselves in organising and sailing the convoys, and has assigned for the purpose a hundred and twenty Orders and fifty medals. A specific communication on the matter will be sent through diplomatic channels.
2. I was pleased to learn from your message about the August convoy, to be followed, as you write, by a new cycle of convoys, which we need badly.
3. As regards a meeting between you, Mr Roosevelt and myself, also mentioned in your message of July 24, I rather think that a meeting is desirable. But now that the Soviet armies are fighting along so extended a front and expanding their offensive, I am unable to leave the Soviet Union, to relinquish the leadership of the armies, even for a short time. My colleagues think this absolutely impossible.
4. You tell me about the planned new offensive in Normandy. If launched it will be of tremendous importance in the situation in which Germany finds herself and will make Hitler’s plight pretty sore indeed.
5. The success of “Anvil”69 will hasten the defeat of Hitler or at least involve him in insurmountable difficulties. I hope you will cope with that task as successfully as you did with the invasion of Normandy.
Thank you for your friendly congratulations on the success of the Soviet armies.
July 26, 1944
M. Mikolajczyk and his colleagues have started. I am sure M. Mikolajczyk is most anxious to help a general fusion of all Poles on the lines on which you and I and the President are, I believe, agreed. I believe that the Poles who are friendly to Russia should join with the Poles who are friendly to Britain and the United States in order to establish a strong, free, independent Poland, the good neighbour of Russia, and an important barrier between you and another German outrage. We will all three take good care that there are other barriers also.
2. It would be a great pity and even a disaster if the Western democracies find themselves recognising one body of Poles and you recognising another. It would lead to constant friction and might even hamper the great business which we have to do the wide world over. Please, therefore, receive these few sentences in the spirit in which they are sent, which is one of sincere friendship and our twenty-years’ alliance.
July 27th, 1944
Your messages of July 25 and 27 concerning the departure of Mikolajczyk have reached me. Mr Mikolajczyk and his companions will be given every help in Moscow.
You know our point of view on Poland, which is a neighbour of ours and relations with which are of special importance to the Soviet Union. We welcome the National Committee of the democratic forces on Polish soil, and I think the formation of this Committee signifies a good beginning for the unification of those Poles who are friendly towards Great Britain, the U.S.S.R. and the United States, and for overcoming the resistance of those Polish elements who are incapable of uniting with the democratic forces.
I realise the importance of the Polish question to the common cause of the Allies, and that is why I am willing to help all Poles and to mediate in achieving understanding among them. The Soviet troops have done and are continuing to do all in their power to accelerate the liberation of Poland from the German invaders and to help the Polish people regain freedom and achieve prosperity for their country.
July 28, 1944
Thank you very much for your first paragraph about decorations and for your generosity to the lower ranks. This will, as you say, be transacted through the diplomatic channel. We shall study most carefully those whom we recommend to be recipients.
2. The following is not my business at all; but you will no doubt remember how Harry Hopkins flew to you86 in his state, of ill-health, and certainly he was dead-beat when he got back here. There must surely have been a number of Americans in the very many merchant ships they sent. Perhaps you will consider this side of the picture, which is a good one.
3. I must accept with great regret, but with perfect understanding, what you say about our possible meeting. I presume you will also have notified the President.
4. Your advances become more magnificent every day.
All good wishes.
July 29th, 1944
It goes without saying that with regard to decorating those who have distinguished themselves in organising and manning the convoys, we have not forgotten the Americans. Thank you for your friendly advice.
Concerning the impracticability of a meeting between you, the President and myself at the moment, I notified the President at the same time as I did you, giving him the reasons.
Please accept my thanks for your good wishes.
August 1, 1944
In your message of July 22nd you were good enough to tell me that you had given the necessary instructions about the experimental station at Debice.
The party of British experts have been at Tehran for several days waiting for their visas to enter the Soviet Union, although Ambassador Sir A. Clark Kerr was instructed on July 20th to ask the Soviet Government to authorise the Soviet representative at Tehran to grant the visas.
You kindly told me that you would take the matter under your personal control. May I ask you, therefore, to issue the necessary instructions to enable our experts to proceed immediately.
August 3rd, 1944
Your message of August 3 about the experimental station received. The Soviet Ambassador in Tehran has been instructed to issue entry visas right away to the British experts.
August 4, 1944
At the urgent request of the Polish underground army we are dropping subject to the weather about sixty tons of equipment and ammunition into the south-western quarter of Warsaw where it is said a Polish revolt against the Germans is in fierce struggle. They also say that they appeal for Russian aid which seems very near. They are being attacked by one and a half German divisions. This may be of help to your operations.
August 4th, 1944
I have just received the following minute from the First Sea Lord for which I called. Considering the great numbers of German troops you are cutting off in Finland and the Baltic States, it occurred to me that you might care to have some of our submarines to help destroy their Baltic shipping and pen the Hitlerites in.
2. If you think that this project would be a help let me know and we will act at once. On the other hand do not hesitate to say if you think that it is not useful or convenient or if it will be too late.
3. The minute begins:
“Provided the Russians can open the White Sea-Baltic Canal it would be possible to send up to six submarines to a port in the Baltic. Available intelligence indicates that the Russians will not be able to open the canal until September owing to the extensive damage done to the locks by the Germans before they withdrew in June. The canal is not navigable after October and the passage of a ship normally takes about fourteen days. Submarines could probably operate in the Baltic up to December before being iced in.
“We have temporarily given the Russians one S-class and three U-class submarines which they may themselves pass into the Baltic.
“Any submarine sent via the canal would have to be lightened for the passage, stores and spare gear being sent separately.”
August 4th, 1944
I am in receipt of your message about Warsaw.
I think that the information given to you by the Poles is greatly exaggerated and unreliable. I am impelled to this conclusion by the mere fact that the Polish émigrés claim that they have all but captured Vilna with Home Army units, and have even announced this on the radio. But, of course, that has nothing at all to do with the facts. The Home Army consists of a few detachments misnamed divisions. They have neither guns, aircraft nor tanks. I cannot imagine detachments like those taking Warsaw, which the Germans are defending with four armoured divisions, including the Hermann Goering Division.
August 5, 1944
With regard to sending six British submarines into the Baltic I must say this.
The White Sea-Baltic Canal has been heavily damaged by the Germans and cannot be used this year. But if the British submarines could make their way into the Baltic through the Skagerrak and Kattegat, as they did during the last world war, that would be a magnificent exploit and would be a fresh blow to the Germans.
August 5, 1944
I should like to inform you of my meeting with Mikolajczyk, Grabski and Romer. My talk with Mikolajczyk convinced me that he has inadequate information about the situation in Poland. At the same time I had the impression that Mikolajczyk is not against ways being found to unite the Poles.
As I do not think it proper to impose any decision on the Poles, I suggested to Mikolajczyk that he and his colleagues should meet and discuss their problems with representatives of the Polish Committee of National Liberation, first and foremost the matter of early unification of all democratic forces on liberated Polish soil. Meetings have already taken place. I have been informed of them by both parties. The National Committee delegation suggested the 1921 Constitution as a basis for the Polish Government and expressed readiness if the Mikolajczyk group acceded to the proposal, to give it four portfolios, including that of Prime Minister for Mikolajczyk. Mikolajczyk, however, could not see his way to accept. I regret to say the meetings have not yet yielded the desired results. Still, they were useful because they provided Mikolajczyk and Morawski, as well as Bierut who had just arrived from Warsaw, with the opportunity for an exchange of views and particularly for informing each other that both the Polish National Committee and Mikolajczyk are anxious to co-operate and to seek practical opportunities in that direction. That can be considered as the first stage in the relations between the Polish Committee and Mikolajczyk and his colleagues. Let us hope that things will improve.
August 8, 1944
I am very much obliged to you for your telegram of August 8th about the Poles. I am very glad that you brought both sides together. Undoubtedly an advance has been made towards our common goal. I share your hope that the business will go better in future.
2. Another effort was made by Polish aviators last night to carry some more ammunition to Warsaw. It is claimed that this was delivered. I am so glad to learn that you are sending supplies yourself. Anything you feel able to do will be warmly appreciated by your British friends and Allies.
3. I can give you good news of the battle in the West. The enemy quite rightly struck with five Panzer divisions at the waspwaist at Avranches between the Cherbourg and the Brittany Peninsula, but the Americans had it well in hand. The enemy’s armour has probably been reduced at this point by more than a third through our concentrated bombing and in fighting. We are not particularly anxious for him to hurry off too quickly because the Americans, who have a great force operating around the German left, propose to march via Alencon and Argentan to join hands with the British, Canadian and Polish attack from Caen towards Falaise. General Montgomery has hopes that we may surround the main German forces. If this encirclement is only partially successful and a large number break out, as often happens, we shall still have the chance of driving them up against the Seine where all the bridges are destroyed and will be kept destroyed by our Air Forces. Thus a victory of first class proportions is not beyond our hopes. Altogether there are in France a million Americans and three-quarters of a million British, Canadian and Allied troops. The Dutch and Belgian brigade groups have already landed. I am sure you will wish us good fortune.
4. I am off to the Mediterranean tonight for a short visit, in the course of which I am to meet Tito. I will send you a message about our meeting.
Every good wish for your further successes.
August 10th, 1944
I have seen a distressing message from the Poles in Warsaw, who after ten days are still fighting against considerable German forces which have cut the city into three. They implore machine-guns and ammunition. Can you not give them some further help, as the distance from Italy is so very great?
August 12th, 1944
I have examined the question of our submarines penetrating into the Baltic Sea through the Skagerrak-Kattegat, but am advised that, owing to extensive mining of both our own and the enemy’s and net barrages, this is not a practicable proposition.
I am sorry about the canal being damaged. We would like to be with you.
August 12th, 1944
I read with the greatest interest your communication on the front situation in Northern France and acquainted myself with your plan for encircling and destroying the main German forces. I wish you all success in carrying out the plan.
Thank you for the good wishes and for the news about your forthcoming meeting with Marshal Tito.
August 14, 1944
I have had meetings during the last two days with Marshal Tito and the Yugoslav Prime Minister.87 I told both Yugoslav leaders that we had not thought but that they should combine their resources so as to weld the Yugoslav people into one instrument in the struggle against the Germans. Our aim was to promote the establishment of a stable and independent Yugoslavia, and the creation of a united Yugoslav Government was a step towards this end.
2. The two leaders reached a satisfactory agreement on a number of practical questions. They agreed that all Yugoslav naval forces will now be united in the struggle under a common flag. This agreement between the Yugoslav Prime Minister and Marshal Tito will enable us with more confidence to increase our supplies of war material to the Yugoslav forces.
3. They agree between themselves to issue a simultaneous declaration in a few days’ time which I hope will reduce internal fighting and will strengthen and intensify the Yugoslav war effort. They are going off together today to Vis to continue their discussions.
4. I am informing President Roosevelt of the results of these meetings.
August 14th, 1944
After a talk with Mr Mikolajczyk I instructed the Red Army Command to drop munitions intensively into the Warsaw area. A liaison officer was parachuted, but headquarters report that he did not reach his objective, being killed by the Germans.
Now, after probing more deeply into the Warsaw affair, I have come to the conclusion that the Warsaw action is a reckless and fearful gamble, taking a heavy toll of the population. This would not have been the case had Soviet headquarters been informed beforehand about the Warsaw action and had the Poles maintained contact with them.
Things being what they are, Soviet headquarters have decided that they must dissociate themselves from the Warsaw adventure since they cannot assume either direct or indirect responsibility for it.
2. I have received your communication about the meeting with Marshal Tito and Prime Minister Šubašić. Thank you for the information.
3. The successful Allied landing in Southern France is very heartening. I wish them every success.
August 16, 1944
We are thinking of world opinion if anti-Nazis in Warsaw are in effect
abandoned. We believe that all three of us should do the utmost to save
as many of the patriots there as possible. We hope that you will drop
immediate supplies and munitions to the patriot Poles of Warsaw, or
will you agree to help our planes in doing it very quickly? We hope you
will approve. The time element is of extreme importance.
August 20th, 1944
The message from you and Mr Roosevelt about Warsaw has reached me. I should like to state my views.
Sooner or later the truth about the handful of power-seeking criminals who launched the Warsaw adventure will out. Those elements, playing on the credulity of the inhabitants of Warsaw, exposed practically unarmed people to German guns, armour and aircraft. The result is a situation in which every day is used, not by the Poles for freeing Warsaw, but by the Hitlerites, who are cruelly exterminating the civil population.
From the military point of view the situation, which keeps German attention riveted to Warsaw, is highly unfavourable both to the Red Army and to the Poles. Nevertheless, the Soviet troops, who of late have had to face renewed German counterattacks, are doing all they can to repulse the Hitlerite sallies and go over to a new large-scale offensive near Warsaw. I can assure you that the Red Army will stint no effort to crush the Germans at Warsaw and liberate it for the Poles. That will be the best, really effective, help to the anti-Nazi Poles.
August 22, 1944
This morning, August 24, the squadron of one battleship and eight destroyers, transferred to the Soviet Union by Great Britain, arrived safely at the Soviet port of which you are aware.
I wish to convey to you and to the Government of Great Britain heartfelt thanks on my own behalf and on behalf of the Soviet Government for this vital aid to the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union.
August 24, 1944
We have arrived at the following decisions as to military, operations in our conference at Quebec just concluded:
1. North-west Europe – Our intention is to press on with all speed to destroy the German armed forces and penetrate into the heart of Germany. The best opportunity to defeat the enemy in the West lies in striking at the Ruhr and the Saar since the enemy will concentrate there the remainder of his available forces in the defence of these essential areas. The northern line of approach clearly has advantages over the southern and it is essential that before bad weather sets in we should open up the northern ports, particularly Rotterdam and Antwerp. It is on the left, therefore, that our main effort will be exerted.
2. Italy – Our present operations in Italy will result in either: (A) The forces of Kesselring will be routed, in which event it should be possible to undertake a rapid regrouping and a pursuit toward the Ljubljana Gap; or (B) Kesselring will succeed in effecting an orderly retreat, in which event we may have to be content this year with the clearing of the plains of Lombardy.
The progress of the battle will determine our future action Plans are being prepared for an amphibious operation to be carried out if the situation so demands on the Istrian Peninsula
3. The Balkans – We will continue operations of our air forces and commando type operations.
4. Japan – With the ultimate objective of invading the Japanese homeland we have agreed on further operations to intensify in all theatres the offensive against the Japanese.
5. Plans were agreed upon for the prompt transfer of power after the collapse of Germany to the Pacific theatre.
September 19, 1944
I was gratified to hear from Ambassador Sir A. Clark Kerr the praise which you gave to the British and American operations in France. We value very much such expressions from the Leader of the heroic Russian armies. I shall take the occasion to repeat tomorrow in the House of Commons what I have said before, that it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine and is at the present moment holding by far the larger portion of the enemy on its front.
2. I have just returned from long talks with the President and I can assure you of our intense conviction that on the agreement of our three nations, Britain, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, stand the hopes of the world. I was very sorry to learn that you had not been feeling well lately and that your doctors did not like your taking long, journeys by air. The President had the idea that the Hague would be a good place for us to meet. We have not got it yet but it may be that the course of the war even before Christmas may alter the picture along the Baltic shore to such an extent that your journey would not be tiring or difficult. However we shall have much hard fighting to do before any such plan can be made.
3. Most private. The President intends to visit England and thereafter France and the Low Countries immediately after the election, win or lose. My information leads me to believe that he will win.
4. I most earnestly desire, and so I know does the President, the intervention of the Soviets in the Japanese war as promised by you at Tehran as soon as the German army was beaten and destroyed. The opening of a Russian military front against the Japanese would force them to burn and bleed, especially in the air, in a manner which would vastly accelerate their defeat. From all that I have learnt about the internal state of Japan and the sense of hopelessness weighing on their people, I believe it might well be that once the Nazis are shattered a triple summons to Japan to surrender coming from our three Great Powers might be decisive. Of course we must go into all these plans together. I would be glad to come to Moscow in October if I can get away from here. If I cannot Eden would be very ready to take my place. Meanwhile I send you and Molotov my most sincere good wishes.
September 27th, 1944
I have received the message from you and Mr Roosevelt about the Quebec Conference, informing me of your future military plans. Your communication shows the important tasks ahead of the U.S. and British armed forces.
Allow me to wish you and your armies every success.
At present Soviet troops are mopping up the Baltic group of German forces, which threatens our right flank. Without wiping out this group we shall not be able to thrust deep into Eastern Germany. Besides, our forces have two immediate aims – to knock Hungary out of the war and to probe the German defences on the Eastern Front and, if the situation proves favourable, pierce them.
September 29, 1944
Your message of September 27 received.
I share your conviction that stable harmony between the three leading Powers is an earnest of future peace and is in tune with the hopes cherished by all peace-loving nations. The consistency of our Governments in this policy in the post-war; period, like that achieved during this great war, will, I believe, be the decisive thing.
Certainly I should like very much to meet you and the President. I think it very important to our common cause. I must, however, make a reservation as far as I am concerned: my doctors advise against undertaking long journeys. I shall have to bow to this for some time to come.
I wholeheartedly welcome your desire to come to Moscow in October. Military and other problems of great importance need to be discussed. Should anything keep you from coming, we should, naturally, be glad to see Mr Eden.
Your communication on the plans for the President’s visit to Europe is very interesting. I, too, feel sure that he will win the election.
As regards Japan, our attitude remains the same as it was in Tehran.
I and Molotov send you our best wishes.
September 30, 1944
Your people are anxious about the route I have been advised to take. It is not good for me to go much above 8,000 feet, though I can if necessary do so for an hour or so. We think it less of a risk to fly across the Aegean Sea and Black Sea. I have satisfied myself on the whole that this is best and involves no inappropriate risk.
So long as we can get down safely to refuel if necessary at Simferopol or at any other operational landing ground on the coast which you may prefer, I shall be quite content with the facilities available. I have everything I want in my plane. The only vital thing is that we may send an aircraft on ahead to establish with you a joint signal station regulating our homing and landing. Please have the necessary orders given.
I am looking forward to returning to Moscow under the much happier conditions created since August 1942.
October 4th, 1944
Your message of October 4 received.
Landing arranged at the Sarabuz air field near Simferopol. Direct your signal aircraft thither.
October 5, 1944
In an informal discussion we have taken a preliminary view of the situation as it affects us and have planned out the course of our meetings, social and others. We have invited Messrs Mikolajczyk, Romer and Grabski to come at once for further conversations with us and with the Polish National Committee. We have agreed not to refer in our discussions to the Dumbarton Oaks issues,88 and that these shall be taken up when we three can meet together. We have to consider the best way of reaching an agreed policy about the Balkan countries, including Hungary and Turkey. We have arranged for Mr Harriman to sit in as an observer at all the meetings, where business of importance is to be transacted, and for General Deane to be present whenever military topics are raised. We have arranged for technical contacts between our high officers and General Deane on military aspects, and for any meetings which may be necessary later in our presence and that of the two Foreign Secretaries together with Mr Harriman. We shall keep you fully informed ourselves about the progress we make.
2. We take this occasion to send you our heartiest good wishes and to
offer our congratulations on the prowess of the United States forces
and upon the conduct of the war in the West by General Eisenhower.
October 10th, 1944
My dear Marshal Stalin,
I suggest, if it is all right with you, that we fix the talks on military matters for Saturday, the 14th, 10 p.m. Eden and I would come with Field Marshal Brooke and two officers of the Ministry of Defence – General Ismay and Major-General Jacob – to the Kremlin, if that meets your wishes. I suggest that Averell Harriman come with General Deane. Field Marshal Brooke would be prepared to explain on the map the situation on the Western Front and would also set forth the plans and intentions that we and the Americans have there, and he can give a much more detailed exposition than the President and I could have communicated in our joint message from Quebec.
After that he will outline the situation in Italy and the connection between that situation and the westward offensive of your southern armies. He or I will readily answer any questions that you or your officers may wish to ask. We should also be glad to hear anything you might wish to tell us about your future plans on the Eastern Front, which, of course, are essential to the Anglo-American offensive both in the West and in the South. After our talks on European affairs Field Marshal Brooke will tell you briefly about our campaign in Burma against the Japanese and about our plans and intentions there. Mr Harriman is in full agreement that thereafter General Deane should describe the course of Allied operations and plans in the Pacific and indicate what kind of help from you would be of the greatest use. We should like to hear from you all that you can tell us about the locations of Soviet troops in the Far East or about any other measures there after the German armies surrender unconditionally or are reduced to the status of mere guerrilla detachments. I think it exceedingly important that we should have a preliminary exchange of views on this matter.
Mr Harriman is with me while I am writing this and is in agreement with the foregoing.
Believe me to be
Your sincere friend,
Moscow, October 12, 1944
Dear Mr Churchill,
I am in receipt of your letter of October 12, in which you suggest holding the military talks on the 14th, at 10 p.m. I agree with the proposal and with your plan for the conference. I suggest that we hold the discussions in Molotov’s office in the Kremlin.
October 12, 1944
My dear Marshal Stalin,
You will remember the telegrams we exchanged in the summer, about the visit of British experts sent to visit the German rocket experimental establishment at Debice in Poland, for whom you were good enough to grant facilities.
I now hear that the experts have returned to England bringing back valuable information which has filled in some of the gaps in our knowledge about the long-range rocket.
Pray accept my thanks for the excellent arrangements made for this visit and for the help given to our Mission by the Soviet Authorities.
Yours with sincere respect,
Winston S. Churchill
16 October, 1944
My dear Marshal Stalin,
I found these telegrams89 waiting for me when I returned and unless you have this news from other quarters, you may be interested to read them. Pray do not trouble to send them back as we have other copies.
Yours in sincere respect,
Winston S. Churchill
Moscow, 16 October, 1944
My dear Marshal Stalin,
We have had further conversations with Mikolajczyk, and we have made progress. I am more than ever convinced of his desire to reach an understanding with you and with the National Committee, despite the very real difficulties that confront him. Mikolajczyk is anxious to see you himself alone, in order to tell you what his plans now are and to seek your advice. The conversations which I have had with him since I saw you lead me to press this request most strongly upon you.
I am looking forward to our conversation tonight on the question of the partition of Germany. I feel, as I think you agreed yesterday, that we may clarify and focus our ideas with a precision which was certainly lacking at Tehran, when victory seemed so much more distant than now.
Finally let me tell you what a great pleasure it has been to me to find ourselves talking on the difficult and often unavoidably painful topics of State policy with so much ease and mutual understanding.
My daughter Sarah will be delighted with the charming token from Miss Stalin and will guard it among her most valued possessions.
I remain, with sincere respect and goodwill,
Your friend and war comrade,
Winston S. Churchill
Moscow, October 17, 1944
Dear Mr Churchill,
On the occasion of your departure from Moscow please accept from me two modest gifts as souvenirs of your sojourn in the Soviet capital: the vase “Man in a Boat” is for Mrs Churchill and the vase “With Bow Against Bear” for yourself.
Once again I wish you good health and good cheer.
October 19, 1944
My dear Marshal Stalin,
I have just received the two beautiful vases which you have given to me and my wife as a souvenir of this memorable visit to Moscow. We shall treasure them among our most cherished possessions.
I have had to work very hard here this time and also have received an Air Courier every day entailing decisions about our own affairs. Consequently I have not been able to see any of the City of Moscow, with all its historic memories. But in spite of this, the visit has been from beginning to end a real pleasure to me on account of the warm welcome we have received, and most particularly because of our very pleasant talks together.
My hopes for the future alliance of our peoples never stood so high. I hope you may long be spared to repair the ravages of war and lead All The Russias out of the years of storm into glorious sunshine.
Your friend and war-time comrade,
Winston S. Churchill
Moscow, October 19, 1944
Received on October 21, 1944
Mr Eden and I have come away from the Soviet Union refreshed and fortified by the discussions which we had with you, Marshal Stalin, and with your colleagues. This memorable meeting in Moscow has shown that there are no matters that cannot be adjusted between us when we meet together, in frank and intimate discussion. Russian hospitality, which is renowned, excelled itself on the occasion of our visit. Both in Moscow and in the Crimea, where we spent some enjoyable hours, there was the highest consideration for the comfort of myself and our mission. I am most grateful to you and to all those who were responsible for these arrangements. May we soon meet again.
Received on October 24, 1944
At Moscow you said you would let me know whether there was any way we could help you in Northern Norway. I understand that a token force of two hundred Norwegians will be sent. Please let me know if you have other requirements and I will immediately make inquiries whether, and to what extent, they can be met.
All good wishes and kind regards.
I have received your message of October 24 informing me of the Norwegians’ intention to send a token force of two hundred to Northern Norway. I must say that in a talk with Molotov the Norwegian Ambassador spoke of more substantial measures against the Germans on the part of the Norwegians.
If you could launch naval operations of some kind against the Germans in Norway they would be helpful.
Congratulations on your safe return to London and my best wishes.
October 24, 1944
It is only since my arrival in London that I have realised the great generosity of your gifts of Russian products to myself and members of my mission. Please accept the warmest thanks of all who have been grateful recipients of this new example of Russian hospitality.
October 29th, 1944
I am informed that the Norwegian Ambassador in Moscow and Mr Molotov arranged the size of the token Norwegian military force to be sent from this country at 120 men, and that later, as a result of examination of the figure by Norwegian military authorities in this country, it was raised to 230. This force has already sailed.
2. I must point out that there are an insignificant number of Norwegian troops in this country. There are only three mountain companies of a strength of 200 each, and a parachute company and field battery of 170 each. Thus the token force already despatched to Murmansk represents one-third of the effective infantry strength in this country. The Norwegian Government have hitherto wished to keep the rest in England, with the idea that they should return to Norway with our forces when the Germans are in the process of withdrawal; but if you would prefer to have a proportion of these sent to cooperate with the Red Army I would see the Norwegian Prime Minister about it.
3. As regards naval operations, our Home Fleet are constantly engaged in all forms of attack on enemy shipping to and from the North of Norway. Considerable success is being achieved. I shall be pleased to consider what further and more direct naval help can be given if you can give me an outline of your intended operations.
October 31st, 1944
Many congratulations on your advance to Budapest.
2. We have now got effective control of the approaches to Antwerp and I hope that coasters will be through in about ten days and ocean-going ships in three or four weeks. This solves the problem of the northern flank of the advance into Germany. There has been very hard fighting in Belgium and Holland and the British 21st Army Group have lost in British and British-controlled forces alone over 40,000 since the taking of Brussels. When the various pockets and ports that are still holding out have been reduced, we shall have a far larger number of prisoners than that.
3. During the quiet spell on the Anglo-American front, all preparations have been made for a major offensive.
4. Tremendous torrential rains have broken a vast number of our bridges on the Italian front and all movement is at present at a standstill.
5. About Yugoslavia, I am awaiting Dr. Šubašić’s return and the result of his report to King Peter. I was very glad to learn that King Peter was favourably impressed with such accounts as had hitherto reached him. Brigadier Maclean is with me now and tells me how much the atmosphere improved at Partisan headquarters when it was known that Russia and Britain were working together.
6. Although I have not said anything to you about Poland you may be sure that I have not been idle. At present they are still talking to the United States Government and I do not know what answer I shall be able to extract. However I take this opportunity of assuring you that I stand exactly where I stood when we parted and that His Majesty’s Government will support at any armistice or peace conference the Soviet claims to the line we have agreed upon. It will be a great blessing when the election in the United States is over.
Every good wish.
5th November, 1944
Received on November 6, 1944
It gives me great pleasure to send you my congratulations on the anniversary of the foundation of the Soviet State. I wish your country and yourself all success in peace as in war, and pray that the Anglo-Soviet Alliance may be the cause of much benefit to our two countries, to the United Nations and to the world.
Your message of October 31 is to hand.
At the request of the Norwegian Government and in keeping with your previous message, I have instructed the Soviet military authorities to receive the Norwegian unit arriving at Murmansk from Britain and to send it to the liberated Norwegian territory, where it will be under the general guidance of the Soviet Command.
As for other Norwegian military groups, that, I think, is a matter for the Norwegian Government to decide.
I have no specific proposals for British naval forces taking part in liberating Norway. Any step you might take towards that end would be welcomed.
November 7, 1944
Thank you for your message of November 5.
I was glad to learn that you now have effective control of the approaches to so important a port as Antwerp. I hope your preparations for a new offensive are making good progress and that soon the Germans will again experience the force of powerful Anglo-American blows.
With regard to Yugoslavia, I have been advised that the trend is favourable to the Allies. Dr. Šubašić plans to come to Moscow to tell us about his latest meetings with Marshal Tito. It appears that we can count on the formation of a United Yugoslav Government before long.
As to Polish affairs, it must be admitted that Mr Mikolajczyk, to the detriment of his own chances, is wasting much valuable time.
Thank you for your congratulations on the Soviet forces’ advance to Budapest. Our troops are pushing on in Hungary, though they are having to overcome numerous difficulties on the way. With regard to the 32 German divisions left in Latvia we are taking the necessary steps to accelerate their destruction. Rain and fog have greatly handicapped our operations in that area in the past few days. The delay, however, has enabled us to step up preparations for forthcoming decisive operations.
It is now safe to say that the President has won the election, and with a big majority. In the Soviet Union the news will be hailed as another victory for all of us. November 9, 1944
Royal Air Force bombers have sunk the Tirpitz. Let us rejoice together.
Everything has gone very well here, and the great operations which I mentioned in my last telegram are rapidly unfolding. I am off tonight first to French and then to United States Headquarters.
Every good wish.
Paris, November 12th, 1944
The news of the sinking of the Tirpitz by British aircraft has greatly rejoiced us. The pilots have every reason to be proud of their feat.
Here’s wishing you success in the large-scale operations of which you have apprised me.
November 13, 1944
Sent on November 16, 1944
Thank you for your congratulations and good wishes for the anniversary
of the Soviet State. I am confident that the growing alliance of our
two countries will promote victory over our common foe and serve
lasting peace throughout the world.
You will doubtless like to have some account of our visit to Paris. I certainly had a wonderful reception from about half a million Frenchmen in the Champs Élysées and also from the headquarters of the Resistance Movement at the Hotel de Ville. I also re-established friendly private relations with de Gaulle.
2. I see statements being put out in the French press and other quarters that all sorts of things were decided by us in Paris. You may be sure that our discussions about important things took place solely on an ad referendum basis to the three Great Powers. Eden and I had a two hours’ talk with de Gaulle and two or three of his people after luncheon on the 11th. De Gaulle asked a number of questions which made me feel how very little they had been kept informed about what had been decided or was taking place. He is anxious to obtain full modern equipment for eight more divisions, which can only be supplied by the Americans. Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, reasonably contend that these will not be ready for the defeat of Germany in the field, and that shipping must be concentrated on the actual forces that will win the battles of the winter and spring. I reinforced this argument.
3. At the same time I sympathise with their wish to take over more lines, to have the best share they can in the fighting or what is left of it, and there may be plenty, and not to have to go into Germany as a so-called conqueror who has not fought. I remarked that this was a sentimental point which ought nevertheless to receive consideration. The important thing for France was to have an army prepared for the task which it would actually have to discharge, namely their obligations firstly, to maintain a peaceful and orderly France behind the front of our armies, and secondly to assist in the holding down of parts of Germany later on.
4. On this second point they pressed very strongly to have a share in the occupation of Germany not merely as sub-participation under British or Allied Command but as a French Command. I expressed my sympathy with this and urged them to study the type of army fitted for that purpose, which is totally different in any form from the organisation by divisions required to break resistance of a modern war-hardened army. They were impressed by this argument but nevertheless pressed their view.
5. I see a Reuter’s message, emanating no doubt unofficially from Paris, that it was agreed that France should be assigned certain areas, the Ruhr, the Rhineland, etc., for her troops to garrison. There is no truth in this and it is obvious that nothing of the kind can be settled on such a subject except in agreement with the President and you. All I said to de Gaulle on this was that we had made a division of Germany into Russian, British and United States spheres; roughly, the Russians had the East, the British the North, and the Americans the South. I further said that, speaking for His Majesty’s Government, we would certainly favour the French taking over as large a part as their capacity allowed, but that all this must be settled at an inter-Allied table. I am telegraphing to the President in the same sense. We did not attempt to settle anything finally or make definite agreements.
6. It is evident, however, that there are a number of questions which press for decision at a level higher than that of the High Commands, without which decision no guidance can be given to the High Commands, and this seems to reinforce the desirability of a meeting between us three and the French in the fairly near future. In this case the French would be in on some subjects and out on others.
7. Generally, I felt in the presence of an organised government, broadly based and of rapidly growing strength, and I am certain that we should be most unwise to do anything to weaken it in the eyes of France at this difficult, critical time. I had a considerable feeling of stability and thought we could safely take them more into our confidence.
November 16th, 1944
November 20, 1944
Thank you for keeping me posted about your talks with de Gaulle. I read your communications with interest. I have nothing against the proposal for an eventual meeting between the three of us and the French if the President is willing, but we must first reach final agreement on the time and place of the meeting of us three.
Recently General de Gaulle expressed the wish to come to Moscow to contact Soviet Government leaders. We told him we were willing, and we expect the French to reach Moscow by the end of the month. They have not yet specified the points they would like to discuss. Anyway, I shall inform you of them after the talks with de Gaulle.
Dr. Šubašić is leaving Moscow today after a brief visit. I had a talk with him, as well as with Kardelj, Vice-Chairman of the National Committee, and Simić, the Yugoslav Ambassador. The talk showed that the agreement reached by Marshal Tito and Šubašić about a United Yugoslav Government is likely to benefit Yugoslavia and that its implementation should not be delayed. You are probably aware of the agreement, and I hope, will have no objection, especially after you talk with Šubašić who is now on his way to London. Now that Belgrade has been liberated and that the Yugoslavs – Serbs, Croats, Slovenes and others – are ready to unite and work together, support by our Governments for the joint efforts of the peoples of Yugoslavia will be another blow to the Hitlerites and will considerably further the common Allied cause.
November 24, 1944
Your message of November 20th. I am glad that de Gaulle is coming to see you and I hope you will talk over the whole field of negotiation. There has been some talk in the press about a western bloc. I have not yet considered this. I trust first of all to our Treaty of Alliance and close collaboration with the United States to form the mainstay of a world organisation to ensure and compel peace upon the tortured world. It is only after and subordinate to any such world structure that European arrangements for better comradeship should be set on foot and in these matters we shall have no secrets from you, being well assured that you will keep us equally informed of what you feel and need.
2. The battle in the West is severe and the mud frightful. The main collision is on the axis Aix-la-Chapelle-Cologne. This is by no means decided in our favour yet, though Eisenhower still has substantial reserves to throw in. To the North-west, Montgomery’s armies are facing north holding back the Germans on the line of the Dutch Maas. This river permits us an economy in force on this front. To the East we are making slow but steady progress and keeping the enemy in continual battle. One must acclaim the capture of Metz and the driving of the enemy back towards the Rhine as a fine victory for the Americans. In the South the French have had brilliant success particularly in reaching the Rhine on a broad front and in taking Strasbourg, and these young French soldiers, from 18 to 21 years old, are showing themselves worthy of the glorious chance to cleanse the soil of France. I think highly of General de Lattre de Tassigny. De Gaulle and I travelled there in order to see the opening of this battle from a good viewpoint. However, a foot of snow fell in the night and that was put off for three days.
3. In a week or ten days it should be possible to estimate whether the German armies will be beaten decisively west of the Rhine. If they are, we can go on in spite of the weather. Otherwise there may be some lull during the severity of the winter, after which one more major onslaught should break organised German resistance in the West.
4. Do you think it is going to be a hard winter and will this suit your strategy? We all greatly liked your last speech. Please do not fail to let me know privately if anything troublesome occurs so that we can smooth it away and keep the closing grip on Nazidom at its most tense degree.
November 25th, 1944
Sent on November 29, 1944
Heartfelt congratulations on your birthday. I send you my friendly wishes for long years of good health and good cheer for the benefit of our common cause.
The Admiralty have asked me to seek your assistance in a small but important matter. The Soviet Navy have informed the Admiralty that two German T5 acoustic torpedoes have been found in a U-boat captured at Tallinn. This is the only known type of torpedo directed by acoustic principles and is very effective against not only merchant ships, but escort vessels. Although not yet in use on a very large scale, it has sunk or damaged twenty-four British escorts, five of them in convoys to North Russia.
2. Our experts have invented one special device which provides some protection against the torpedo and is fitted to British destroyers now operated by the Soviet Navy. Study of an actual specimen of the T5 torpedo would however be of the utmost value in developing counter-measures. Admiral Archer has asked the Soviet naval authorities that one of the two torpedoes should immediately be made available for examination and practical tests in the United Kingdom. I understand that they do not rule out the possibility, but that the question is still under consideration.
3. You will, I am sure, recognise the great assistance that the Soviet Navy can render to the Royal Navy by facilitating the immediate transport of one torpedo to the United Kingdom, when I remind you that the enemy have for many months past been preparing to launch fresh U-boat campaigns on a large scale with new boats specially fast under water. From this there would follow all the increased difficulties of transporting United States troops and supplies across the ocean to both theatres of war. We regard the obtaining of a T5 torpedo as of such urgency that we should be ready to send a British aircraft to any convenient place designated by you to fetch the torpedo.
4. I therefore ask you to give your kind attention to this matter, the importance of which is increased by the probability that the Germans have given the designs of the torpedo to the Japanese Navy. The Admiralty will gladly give to the Soviet Navy all the results of their researches and experiments with the torpedo, and the benefit of any new protective equipment subsequently devised.
November 30th, 1944
We very much regret the unfortunate accident in Yugoslavia on November 7th which resulted in the loss of valuable Russian lives through a mistake by Allied aircraft.90 To prevent possible repetition of such an accident in existing circumstances, the Combined Chiefs of Staff43 have restricted the operations of Anglo-American forces on an extensive front to the area southward of a line drawn south-eastwards from Sarajevo through Prilep to the Yugoslav frontier with Greece. This restriction has virtually paralysed the effective action we have hitherto been taking against German lines of retreat from Yugoslavia’ and will undoubtedly allow great numbers of Germans to escape northwards unmolested. Such a state of affairs is in the interest only of our common enemy.
2. With a view to allowing the greatest possible freedom of action by all Allied forces against the Germans whilst at the same time reducing the risk of accidents, the British and American Military Missions in Moscow are discussing with your staff the adoption of a revised boundary to the area in which air attacks may be carried out. This new boundary follows recognisable ground features and whilst safeguarding Russian forces, will allow air attacks to be made against the enemy’s lines of communication and roads which constitute his escape routes.
3. I am sure that you would not wish to restrict our operations against the retreating enemy provided that these can be carried out without the risk of attacks on friendly forces, and I hope that you will instruct your staff to agree to this new boundary, which I am assured adequately safeguards Russian forces, as a temporary measure.
4. I shall be telegraphing further regarding more permanent and satisfactory measures of providing liaison between the Anglo-American and Russian forces in the Balkans which is essential if we are to inflict the greatest possible damage upon the enemy and at the same time avoid the risks of attack on friendly forces.
December 1st, 1944
As regards the Western bloc, so far I have little information about it, and the newspaper reports are contradictory. I am grateful to you for the promise to keep me informed about developments, and I myself am ready to reciprocate.
I read with interest your message on military operations in the West. True, weather is now a serious obstacle.
I shall not fail to profit by your kind advice and shall inform you of anything worthy of special attention.
December 1, 1944
I thank you most warmly for your very kind message upon my birthday, which a year ago I celebrated with you and the President of the United States on either hand. Since then we have made gigantic advances and we are entitled to hope that a continuance of all our efforts at the highest speed and with the utmost energy and devotion will see the final destruction of Hitlerism in the coming year. I most particularly welcomed in your message the wish you expressed that our comradeship and personal relations may continue in the future, not only in the hazards of war but also in solving the problems of peace.
2nd December, 1944
The indications are that de Gaulle and his friends, who have arrived in the Soviet Union, will raise two questions.
1. Concluding a Franco-Soviet pact of mutual aid similar to the Anglo-Soviet pact.
We shall find it hard to object. But I should like to know what you think. What do you advise?
2. De Gaulle will probably suggest revising the eastern frontier of France and shifting it to the left bank of the Rhine. There is talk, too, about a plan for forming a Rhine-Westphalian region under international control.91 Possibly French participation in the control is likewise envisaged. In other words, the French proposal for shifting the frontier line to the Rhine will compete with the plan for a Rhineland region under international control.
I would like your advice on this matter as well.
I have sent a similar message to the President.
December 2, 1944
I beg you to read for yourself the attached telegram circulated to General Deane and others concerned,92 especially paragraph 1 and paragraph 2. It would be bad if these Hitlerite columns escaped through these mountain roads upon which we can drop a serious bomb weight. Therefore please give us more latitude in the bomb line. The new line will enable powerful, even destructive, attacks to be brought to bear upon the retreating foe. Pray let us have this now.
2. But best of all would be a reasonable and comrade-like liaison between our advanced High Commands. Any of the enemy that get away will confront us both in strong positions later on. Let us strike them while we can. We hope that your people will understand why we are having to go ahead on the lines mentioned in paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 of the attached telegram. To save time I am counting on you to issue the orders or replies to all quarters, pending any further communication with me or the others.
All good wishes.
2nd December, 1944
I have seen Mr Mikolajczyk, who has explained to me the reason for his resignation. Briefly, the position is that he could not count on the support of important sections of his cabinet for his policy and was, therefore, unable at this stage to conclude an agreement on the basis of the discussions between us at our recent Moscow meeting.
2. Attempts are now being made to form an alternative Polish Government, in which Mr Mikolajczyk, Mr Romer and the Ambassador, Mr Raczynski, have refused to participate. A change of Prime Ministers does not affect the formal relations between States. The desire of His Majesty’s Government for the reconstitution of a strong and independent Poland, friendly to Russia, remains unalterable. We have practical matters to handle with the Polish Government, and more especially the control of the considerable Polish armed forces, over 80,000 excellent fighting men, under our operational command. These are now making an appreciable contribution to the United Nations’ war effort in Italy, Holland and elsewhere. Our attitude towards any new Polish Government must therefore be correct, though it will certainly be cold. We cannot of course have the same close relations of confidence with such a government as we have had with Mr Mikolajczyk or with his predecessor, the late General Sikorski, and we shall do all in our power to ensure that its activities do not endanger the unity between the Allies.
3. It is not thought that such a government, even when formed, will have a long life. Indeed, after my conversations with Mr Mikolajczyk, I should not be surprised to see him back in office before long with increased prestige and with the necessary powers to carry through the programme discussed between us in Moscow. This outcome would be all the more propitious because he would by his resignation have proclaimed himself and his friends in the most convincing way as a champion of Poland’s good relations with Russia.
4. I trust, therefore, that you will agree that our respective influence should be used with the Poles here and with those at Lublin to prevent any steps on either side which might increase the tension between them and so render more difficult Mr Mikolajczyk’s task when, as I hope, he takes it up again in the not far distant future. He is himself in good heart and remains anxious, as ever, for a satisfactory settlement. I see no reason why he should not emerge from this crisis as an even more necessary factor than before for the reconstruction of Poland.
December 3rd, 1944
In view of our agreement about our joint policy in regard to Yugoslavia, I send you a copy of a telegram I have been forced with much regret to send to Marshal Tito.93 I shall be very ready to hear your views.
3rd December, 1944
The meeting with General de Gaulle provided the opportunity for a friendly exchange of views on Franco-Soviet relations. In the course of the talks General de Gaulle, as I had anticipated, brought up two major issues – the French frontier on the Rhine and a Franco-Soviet mutual aid pact patterned on the Anglo-Soviet Treaty.
As to the French frontier on the Rhine, I said, in effect, that the matter could not be settled without the knowledge and consent of our chief Allies, whose forces are waging a liberation struggle against the Germans on French soil. I stressed the difficulty of the problem.
Concerning the proposal for a Franco-Soviet mutual aid pact I pointed to the need for a thorough study of the matter and for clearing up the legal aspects, in particular the question of who in France in the present circumstances is to ratify such a pact. This means the French will have to offer a number of elucidations, which I have yet to receive from them.
I shall be obliged for a reply to this message and for your comments on these points.
I have sent a similar message to the President.
December 3, 1944
Your telegram about General de Gaulle’s visit and the two questions he will raise. We have no objection whatever to a Franco-Soviet pact of mutual assistance similar to the Anglo- Soviet pact. On the contrary His Majesty’s Government consider it desirable and an additional link between us all. Indeed it also occurs to us that it might be best of all if we were to conclude a tripartite treaty between the three of us which would embody our existing Anglo-Soviet Treaty with any improvements. In this way the obligations of each one of us would be identical and linked together. Please let me know if this idea appeals to you as I hope it may. We should both of course tell the United States.
2. The question of changing the eastern frontier of France to the left bank of the Rhine, or alternatively of forming a Rhenish-Westphalian province under international control, together with the other alternatives, ought to await settlement at the peace table. There is, however, no reason why, when the three heads of government meet, we should not come much closer to conclusions about all this than we have done so far. As you have seen, the President does not expect General de Gaulle to come to the meeting of the three. I would hope that this could be modified to his coming in later on when decisions specially affecting France were under discussion.
3. Meanwhile would it not be a good thing to let the European Advisory Commission94 sitting in London, of which France is a member, explore the topic for us all without committing in any way the heads of government.
4. I am keeping the President informed.
5th December, 1944
I have received your reply to my message about the Franco- Soviet pact and the French frontier on the Rhine. Thank you for your advice.
By the time your reply came we had begun talks on the pact with the French. I and my colleagues approve of your suggestion that a tripartite Anglo-Franco-Soviet pact, improved in comparison with the Anglo-Soviet one, would be preferable. We have suggested a tripartite pact to de Gaulle, but have had no reply so far.
I am behind in replying to the other messages I have had from you. I hope to be able to answer them soon.
December 7, 1944
Your message on Mikolajczyk received.
It has become obvious since my last meeting with Mr Mikolajczyk in Moscow that he is incapable of helping a Polish settlement. Indeed, his negative role has been revealed. It is now evident that his negotiations with the Polish National Committee are designed to cover up those who, behind his back, engaged in criminal terror acts against Soviet officers and Soviet people generally on Polish territory. We cannot tolerate this state of affairs. We cannot tolerate terrorists, instigated by the Polish émigrés, assassinating our people in Poland and waging a criminal struggle against the Soviet forces liberating Poland. We look on these people as allies of our common enemy, and as to their radio correspondence with Mr Mikolajczyk, which we found on émigré agents arrested on Polish territory, it not only exposes their treacherous designs, it also casts a shadow on Mr Mikolajczyk and his men.
Ministerial changes in the émigré Government no longer deserve serious attention. For these elements, who have lost touch with the national soil and have no contact with their people, are merely marking time. Meanwhile the Polish Committee of National Liberation has made substantial progress in consolidating its national, democratic organisations on Polish soil, in implementing a land reform in favour of the peasants and in expanding its armed forces, and enjoys great prestige among the population.
I think that our task now is to support the National Committee in Lublin and all who want to cooperate and are capable of cooperating with it. This is particularly important to the Allies in view of the need for accelerating the defeat of the Germans.
December 8, 1944
Both your messages of December 2 received. Of course, we must ensure complete coordination and effectiveness of our operations against the Germans in Yugoslavia. A report has been submitted to me concerning the proposal, received from the Combined Chiefs of Staff43 on November 29, for establishing a new boundary line for the operations of the Soviet and Allied air forces in Yugoslavia. You are probably aware that as early as December 3 our General Staff agreed that the boundary should be established along the line Sarajevo-Mokro-Sokolac- Babrun-Uvac-Prijepolje-Sjenica-Peć through Prilep to the southern frontier of Yugoslavia, it being understood that Peć and Prilep would remain in the sphere of operations of the Soviet air forces, and along the southern frontier of Bulgaria. I presume that that line meets your wishes.
As to the other questions, I hope our military representatives will be able to settle them.
December 8, 1944
Thank you very much for both your telegrams of December 8th which we will study very carefully. We must make sure that our permanent and loyal relations are not disturbed by awkward moves of subordinate events. I will send you a further telegram about the Polish business when I have consulted the Foreign Secretary.
2. I understand that the drawing up of the bomb line is being carried out by our military experts. I will write to you again in a few days. Many congratulations on the successes of your southern armies.
December 10th, 1944
I informed General de Gaulle of your opinion that an Anglo- Franco-Soviet mutual aid pact was preferable and declared for your proposal. General de Gaulle, however, insisted on a Franco- Soviet pact, suggesting that a tripartite pact be the next stage, because the matter required preparation. Meanwhile we received a message from the President, saying that he had no objection to a Franco-Soviet pact. As a result we agreed on a pact which was signed today. The text will be published when General de Gaulle reaches Paris.
I think de Gaulle’s visit has yielded positive results; not only will it help strengthen Franco-Soviet relations, it will be a contribution to the common cause of the Allies.
December 10, 1944
I have received your message and the copy of your letter to Marshal Tito.
Before expressing an opinion on the issues raised in your message to Marshal Tito I should like to have Marshal’s views on these matters. I bear out your statement that the Soviet and British Governments agreed in Moscow on pursuing, as far as feasible, a joint policy on Yugoslavia. I hope you will be able to come to terms with Marshal Tito and give your backing to the agreement reached between him and Mr Šubašić.95
2. I have received your message concerning the German T5 torpedo. Soviet seamen have actually captured two German acoustic torpedoes, which our experts are now examining. Unfortunately we cannot at the moment send one of them to Britain because both have been damaged by explosion, so that in order to examine and test the torpedo, the damaged parts of one torpedo will have to be replaced by those of the other, otherwise it will be impossible to examine and test it. Hence the alternative: either the drawings and descriptions of the torpedo can be turned over to the British Military Mission at once, as the torpedo is examined, and after examination and tests are finished the torpedo itself can be handed over to the British Admiralty; or British experts could leave for the Soviet Union at once to examine the torpedo in detail on the spot and make the required drawings. We are ready to provide you with either opportunity.
December 14, 1944
Many thanks for your message of the 14th about Yugoslav affairs. I have had no answer yet from Marshal Tito in reply to my last message, but will let you know as soon as I do.
Dr. Šubašić reports that you impressed on him and on Marshal Tito’s emissary who accompanied him that the Soviet and British Governments were pursuing a joint policy in regard to Yugoslavia. This will, I am sure, do much to facilitate a satisfactory settlement between Marshal Tito and the Yugoslav Government.
Mr Eden has now seen Dr. Šubašić, who has explained to him the agreement95 he has reached with Marshal Tito. When read together with the additions to which Marshal Tito consented on Dr. Šubašić’s return to Belgrade from Moscow it seems to us to offer a satisfactory basis on which to build a new federal Yugoslavia in which all loyal Yugoslavs will be able to play their part. I am sure that you will agree that what is essential is that the Yugoslav people as a whole should have complete freedom to decide as soon as conditions permit both on the question of the monarchy and on the new federal constitution. Provided that there is goodwill and loyalty among the Yugoslavs, this freedom of decision seems to be safeguarded in the Tito-Šubašić agreement. Mr Eden and I are seeing the King this week in order to discuss the whole question with him, and I will of course let you know the result.
Meanwhile I am explaining matters to the United States Government in the hope of being able to persuade them to take the same line as we do.
December 19th, 1944
I saw last night for the second time the film which you have given me called Kutuzov. The first time I greatly admired it but, as it was all in Russian, I could not understand the exact meaning of each situation. Last night I saw it with English captions, which made exactly intelligible the whole thing, and I must tell you that in my view this is one of the most masterly film productions I have ever witnessed. Never has the conflict of two willpowers been more clearly displayed. Never has the importance of fidelity in commanders and men been more effectively inculcated by film pictures. Never have the Russian soldiers and Russian nation been presented by this medium so gloriously to the British nation. Never have I seen the art of the camera better used.
If you thought it fit privately to communicate my admiration and thanks to those who have laboured in producing this work of art and high morale, I should thank you. Meanwhile I congratulate you.
I like to think we were together in that deadly struggle, as in this thirty years’ war. I do not suppose you showed the film to de Gaulle, any more than I shall show him Lady Hamilton when he comes over here to make a similar treaty to that which you have made with him, and we have made together.
December 19th, 1944
I send you my most sincere congratulations on your birthday. I believe that your life is very precious to the future of the world and to the constant strengthening of the ties which unite our two countries. It is therefore no figure of speech when I wish you “Many happy returns of the day.”
20th December, 1944
In reply to your message about the German torpedo, I quite understand that you cannot send one of these torpedoes to England immediately. I prefer the second of the two alternatives you suggest, that British experts should go to the Soviet Union to study the torpedo on the spot. I am informed that the Soviet Navy expect to carry out trials in early January, and the Admiralty think it would be most convenient if their officer were sent by the next convoy, thus arriving in time for the trials.
I am most grateful for your help in this matter and am asking the Admiralty to make their arrangements through the British Mission.
December 23rd, 1944
I do not consider the situation in the West bad, but quite evidently Eisenhower cannot solve his problem without knowing what your plans are. President Roosevelt, with whom I had already communicated, has proposed to you the sending of a fully qualified staff officer to receive from you necessary points for our guidance. We certainly have great need to know the main outlines and dates of your movements. Our confidence in the offensives to be of the Russian army is such that we have never asked you a question before and we are convinced now that the answer will be reassuring; but we thought for secrecy’s sake you would rather tell a highly trusted officer than make any signal.
December 24th, 1944
Thank you for your congratulations and good wishes for my birthday. I have always greatly appreciated your friendly sentiments.
December 25, 1944
It goes without saying that I shall welcome the conclusion of an Anglo-French treaty.
I greatly appreciate your praise for the Kutuzov film and shall not fail to convey your comment to those who made it.
December 25, 1944
I have received your message about a competent officer coming to Moscow from Gen. Eisenhower.
I have already advised the President of my concurrence and readiness to exchange information with the said officer.
December 25, 1944
I have received your message informing me that you prefer to send British experts to the Soviet Union to examine the German torpedo on the spot. Appropriate instructions have, therefore, been given to the relevant Soviet military authorities.
December 27, 1944
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