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World War II: Molotov's Report on Ratification of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty

(June 19, 1942)

Moscow, June 19, 1942

Information Bulletin, Embassy of the U.S.S.R., Washington, D. C., June 19, 1942.


The Government has deemed it necessary to submit to the Supreme Soviet for examination and ratification the Anglo-Soviet treaty concluded May 26 in London, in view of the great political importance of this treaty. The treaty consolidates the friendly relations which have been established between the Soviet Union and Great Britain and their mutual military assistance in the struggle against Hitlerite Germany. It transforms these relations into a stable alliance. The treaty also defines the general line of our joint action with Great Britain in the post-war period.

The entire tenor of the treaty bears out its great political importance not only for the development of Anglo-Soviet relations but also for the future development of the entire complex of international relations in Europe. Both the Anglo-Soviet treaty and the results of the negotiations which I conducted on instructions of the Soviet Government in London and Washington testify to the substantial consolidation of friendly relations among the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States of America. The importance of this fact to the peoples of the Soviet Union, who are bearing the main brunt of the struggle against Hitlerite Germany, will increase in such measure as it helps expedite our victory over the German invaders. The treaty, like other results of the negotiations in London and Washington, should hasten the defeat of Hitlerite Germany and its associates in aggression in Europe. At the same time these results will serve as a basis for further development of friendly relations between the USSR and Great Britain, as well as between both these countries and the United States of America.

The treaty and the understanding reached between the Soviet Union and England, as well as between the Soviet Union and the United States, on a number of very important questions relating to the present war and on collaboration after the war imply a consolidation of the fellowship in arms of all freedom-loving nations, which are headed today by the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States.

Let me recall the events which preceded the conclusion of the Anglo-Soviet treaty of May 26 and which constituted the principal stages in the development of new, friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. As is known, on the very day of the German aggression against the Soviet Union-June 22 of last year-Mr. Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, expressly declared that England would give assistance to the Soviet Union in the war against the German invaders because the British people considered the crushing of Hitlerite Germany their joint task with the peoples of the Soviet Union.

The negotiations which followed with the Ambassador of Great Britain at Moscow, Mr. Cripps, in which Comrade Stalin took a most active part, resulted in the signing of the well known Anglo-Soviet accord of July 12, 1941. By this agreement the Governments of the USSR and Great Britain reciprocally undertook to grant each other all assistance and mutual support in the war against Hitlerite Germany and not to negotiate or conclude an armistice or peace except by mutual consent. This agreement frustrated Hitler's plans to divide his adversaries and Hitler's hopes of combating each of them separately.

July 12 of last year marked a turning point in the development of Anglo-Soviet relations. On that day was laid a foundation of friendship and fighting collaboration between our countries in the struggle against their common, sworn enemy and in the interest of the great future of our nations.

The next stage in the development of Anglo-Soviet, and at the same time of Soviet-American, relations was the well known Tri-Power Conference at Moscow, attended by Lord Beaverbrook representing Great Britain, and Mr. Harriman representing the United States, which completed its work October 1 of last year. This conference worked out a plan for delivery of munitions to the Soviet Union from Great Britain and the United States. As a result, tanks, planes and other weapons, as well as lacking materials such as aluminum, nickel, rubber, etc., began to arrive in the Soviet Union in accord with the vast program of deliveries drawn up at the Moscow conference.

Of course we should remember that delivery of armaments and material to the Soviet Union presented and still presents many difficulties. German warships, submarines and airplanes are engaged in brigandage and piratry in the Atlantic Ocean, constantly attacking the ships bringing these arms to the Soviet Union. Although escorted by the naval forces of our allies, a number of ships carrying cargoes for the USSR have perished on the way to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. Nevertheless, supplies and weapons coming from the United States and Great Britain, far from having diminished, have increased in the last few months.

These deliveries constitute an essential and important addition to the armaments and supplies which the Red Army receives in overwhelmingly major proportion from our own internal resources. We considered and still consider it necessary to take measures to increase and improve these deliveries, both at present and in the future. It must also be recognized that these deliveries have played and will in future play an important role in strengthening friendly relations among the USSR, Great Britain and the United States.

The visit to Moscow in December of last year of Mr. Eden, British Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the fruitful negotiations which Comrade Stalin conducted with him, in which I participated, were another important factor in the development of Anglo-Soviet relations. These negotiations subsequently developed, and it later became clear that they promised to lead to definite, positive results. Then, on April 3, came an invitation from the British Government to the Soviet Government that I should be sent to London to complete these negotiations and discuss the corresponding draft of a treaty. At the same time the President of the United States of America invited Comrade Stalin to send me to Washington for negotiations on important military and political questions of an urgent character.

As you know, this visit by myself and a group of close assistants took place and I had long and friendly conversations both in London with Mr. Churchill, Mr. Eden and other members of the British Government, and in Washington with Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Hull and other leading representatives of the United States. Soviet Ambassador Comrade Maisky took part in the negotiations at London and Soviet Ambassador Comrade Litvinov took part in those at Washington. Furthermore, an important part in the discussions of military and strategic problems was taken by the chiefs of the military staffs of Great Britain and the United States and by appropriate Soviet military representatives.

As a result of these successful negotiations, there was signed at London on May 26, between the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain, a "treaty of alliance in the war against Hitlerite Germany and its associates in Europe and of collaboration and mutual assistance thereafter."

The treaty consists of two parts: The first part contains two articles defining the relations between the USSR and Great Britain during the war against Hitlerite Germany, and the second part contains articles defining the relations between the two countries after the war.

Of the first part of the treaty it may be said that it repeats in general the tenor of the well known Anglo-Soviet agreement of July 12 of last year, transforming this agreement into a formal treaty. Giving greater precision to last year's agreement, this part of the treaty provides for mutual military and other assistance and support not only against Germany, but also against "those states which are associated with her in acts of aggression in Europe."

The second part of the treaty is comparatively new. The significance of this part of the treaty consists, first, in the fact that it lays down for the first time basic principles for friendly collaboration between the USSR and Great Britain after the war. It also provides for collaboration by both countries with the other United Nations in the peace settlement and in the postwar period. This collaboration is conceived along the lines of the basic principles of the well known Atlantic Charter, to which the USSR in good time adhered.

There can be no doubt that an agreement of this kind will be of great significance in the entire future development of Europe. Both countries agreed to work together after the re-establishment of peace "for the organization of security and economic prosperity in Europe." The treaty states that both countries "will take into account the interests of the United Nations in realizing this objective and will act in accord with the two principles of not seeking territorial aggrandizement for themselves and of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states."

These principles of the treaty fully accord with the well known pronouncement made by the head of the Government of the USSR, Comrade Stalin, on November 6 last year, when he said: "We have not and cannot have any such war aims as the seizure of foreign territories and the subjugation of foreign peoples, whether it be peoples and territories of Europe or peoples and territories of Asia, including Iran."

Stressing their lack of any desire for territorial aggrandizement for themselves and their policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, the Soviet Union and Great Britain proclaim the friendly principles of their policy toward all freedom-loving nations and at the same time point to the fundamental difference between their policy and the aggressive policy of Hitlerite Germany, which is fighting for seizure of the territory of other nations and for their enslavement.

In this connection it is necessary to recall what Comrade Stalin said about the aims of our patriotic war of liberation against the fascist invaders when he addressed the peoples of the Soviet Union as far back as July 3 of last year: "Our war for the freedom of our country will merge with the struggle of the peoples of Europe and America for their independence and for democratic liberties. It will be a united front of the peoples standing for freedom and against enslavement and threats of enslavement by Hitler's fascist armies."

In accordance with the aforementioned objects and principles of the treaty, it declares that both Governments desire "to unite with other like-minded states in adopting proposals for common action to preserve peace and resist aggression in the post-war period," and likewise after the termination of the war "to render impossible a repetition of aggression and violation of the peace by Germany or any of the states associated with her in acts of aggression in Europe." Both countries also agreed that should one of them during the post-war period again be attacked by Germany or any other aggressive state, the other party "will at once give to the contracting party so involved in hostilities all the military and other support and assistance in its power."

The clear and categorical nature of this mutual undertaking is of high importance to the countries which are striving to ensure a stable peace after the victorious termination of this war. Further, everyone realizes the importance of the fact that both Governments have agreed that all the above-mentioned obligations relating to the post-war period shall remain in force for a prolonged period, 20 years being the term envisaged, with the possibility of its prolongation.

It is also asked whether, in addition to the published treaty, any secret agreements were concluded between the USSR and Great Britain. I must declare, with a full sense of responsibility, that these assumptions are absolutely unfounded and that no secret Anglo-Soviet agreements exist, as likewise there exist no secret Soviet-American agreements.

After all that has been said, one cannot help associating one-self with the words uttered by Mr. Eden in his speech on the signing of the treaty, when he said: "Never before in the history of our two countries has our association been so close or our mutual pledge for the future so complete. This is surely a happy augury."

The treaty met with a sympathetic response both in the USSR and in Great Britain. The consolidation of friendship and collaboration in the struggle against the invading German fascist tyrants and oppressors met with warm approval and support among the broad masses of people of both countries. The United States of America, which was kept duly informed of the progress of the negotiations and the conclusion of the treaty, as well as other freedom-loving countries which have experienced the oppression and bloody tyranny of the Hitlerite hordes, or are in danger of experiencing them, greeted our treaty with Great Britain with approval.

In the camp of our enemies, in the camp of the German fascists and their associates, on the other hand, the treaty has caused dismay and malignant hissing. The camp of our enemies was caught unawares. All the more effectively will the treaty serve our just and righteous cause of liberation.

Important as are the questions which are dealt with in the treaty and to which great attention was devoted in the London negotiations, these negotiations, as you know, were not confined to the aforementioned questions alone. Both in London and Washington other important questions were also discussed. I am referring chiefly to questions intimately bearing on the vital problems of our war against Hitlerite Germany. Serious attention was naturally paid in our negotiations both in London and in Washington to problems of a second front in Europe. The results of these negotiations are dealt with in similar words both in Anglo-Soviet and Soviet-American communiqués. Both communiqués declare that in the negotiations "complete understanding was reached with regard to the urgent tasks of creating a second front in Europe in 1942."

This statement is of great importance to the peoples of the Soviet Union, since the creation of a second front in Europe will make insuperable difficulties for Hitler's armies on our front. Let us hope that our common enemy will soon experience to his cost the results of the ever growing military collaboration of the three great powers.

Furthermore, questions were discussed of further improving and increasing munitions deliveries to the Soviet Union from the United States and Great Britain. Here too positive results may be recorded. In the second half of the current year deliveries of munitions and supplies to the USSR by the Allies will be increased and accelerated. This is confirmed above all by the increasing dimensions of deliveries from the United States.

As we know, last November the United States of America decided to accord the Soviet Union a loan of $1,000,000,000 to pay for munitions deliveries to the Soviet Union. As for the new program of deliveries, the United States fixes its total value at $3,000,000,000. Thus we have a further substantial increase in the military-economic assistance rendered to the Soviet Union by the United States of America, as well as the consent of Great Britain to further improve munitions deliveries.

In this connection we must recognize the supreme importance of the "agreement between the Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America on principles applying to mutual aid in the prosecution of the war against aggression" signed in Washington June 11, which follows the lines of a similar agreement between the United States and Great Britain. This agreement is of a preliminary nature and lays down only principles of future agreement between the two governments in question.

The significance of this Soviet-American agreement lies in that it not only proceeds from recognition of the fact of the fighting collaboration established between the Soviet Union and the United States of America in the present war against Hitlerite Germany, but also provides for coordinated action between the two countries in the post-war period. The agreement implies an understanding between the USSR and the United States as regards the improvement of international relationships after the war in the interests of the stability of the peace. Consequently, the Washington agreement is of great significance to the United States and the Soviet Union as well as to other nations.

Lastly, in Washington as in London were discussed all the basic problems of collaboration between the Soviet Union and the United States in ensuring peace and security for the freedom-loving nations after the war. In this, as in the other fundamental questions of our relations, the parties noted with satisfaction their mutual understanding and identity of views.

I must declare that, as the representative of the USSR, I was shown cordiality and exceptional hospitality both in London and Washington. I must particularly note the personal attention given to and the most active part taken in the conversations by the President of the United States, Mr. Roosevelt, and the British Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, and I take this opportunity of expressing to them sincere gratitude.

In all this we observe the consolidation of the international position of the Soviet Union. Fact after fact confirms what Comrade Stalin said in his May 1 Order-of-the-Day: "As regards the international ties of our country, they have grown stronger and become more extensive of late than ever before. All the freedom-loving peoples have united against German imperialism. Their eyes are fixed on the Soviet Union. The heroic fight which the peoples of our country are waging for their freedom, honor and independence evokes the admiration of all progressive humanity. The peoples of all the freedom-loving countries look upon the Soviet Union as a force capable of delivering the world from the Hitlerite plague. First among these freedom-loving countries stand Great Britain and the United States of America, to which we are linked by bonds of friendship and alliance and which are affording our country ever increasing military assistance against the German fascist invaders."

The treaty and the results of the negotiations in London and Washington in general testify that the ties of friendship and alliance among the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States are growing ever stronger and closer. This is a sign of the growing international recognition of the Red Army's strength and its success in the struggle against the sworn enemy of all freedom-loving nations, in the struggle against Hitler and his bloody underlings. In this we observe also a confirmation of the correctness of our Government's foreign policy, which is unswervingly concerned to strengthen friendly relations with Great Britain and the United States of America, as well as with all other freedom-loving nations, in order to speed the defeat of Hitler's hordes and their expulsion from our country, and for the sake of the triumph of the cause of all freedom-loving nations united in struggle for their existence and happy future.

The treaty with Great Britain and the results of the negotiations in London and Washington strengthen our confidence, the confidence of the Red Army and the entire Soviet people, that the united forces of the adversaries of Hitler's army are growing ever stronger and more consolidated. They strengthen our confidence that the defeat of the German invaders is drawing near, that now our victory over predatory German imperialism will be considerably accelerated.

The growing strength of the Red Army, the invincible Soviet people and the increasing military assistance of our allies will defeat each and every plan of the German fascist invaders. Our strength is growing and our confidence in victory is greater than ever.

On behalf of the Government, I request the Supreme Soviet to ratify the treaty placed before it as one which fully corresponds with the interests of the Soviet people. Under the great banner of Lenin and Stalin we are waging our heroic struggle of liberation against German fascism. Under the great banner of Lenin and Stalin we shall carry this struggle to a victorious conclusion and to the triumph of the cause of our country and of all freedom-loving nations.

Sources: ibiblio