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Government, as here expressed. They have it in their power to alleviate many of the situations which today weigh so heavily on all international life. It is our earnest hope that they will take advantage of these possibilities. If they do, they will not find us lacking in readiness and eagerness to make our own contribution to a stabilization of world conditions entirely compatible with the security of the Soviet peoples.
(b) Translation of the Statement of Foreign Minister Molotov to Ambassador Smith, May 9, 1948
The Soviet Government has familiarized itself with the declaration of the Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr. Smith, dated May 4, 1948, in connection with the present state of Soviet-American relations. The Soviet Government shares the desire, expressed in this statement by the Government of the United States of America, to better these relations, and is in agreement with the proposal to proceed with this aim toward a discussion and settlement of the difference existing between us.
At the same time the Soviet Government considers it necessary to state that it cannot agree with the Government of the United States of America that the reason for the present unsatisfactory conditions of Soviet-American relations and the tension in the international situation is a result of the policy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in eastern Europe and to the increased influence there of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
As concerns the relations of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with bordering as well as other countries of Europe, the Soviet Government notes with satisfaction that in fact these relations following the war have significantly improved.
As is known, this has found expression through the conclusion of treaties of friendship and mutual assistance between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and these countries which are directed exclusively against the repetition of aggression on the part of Germany and its possible allies and which, contrary to the statement of the Ambassador of the United States of America in Moscow, Mr. Smith, do not include any secret protocols. The countries overrun by German aggression are particularly interested in the conclusion of these agreements.
It is common knowledge that the United States of America also is carrying out the policy of strengthening its relations with bordering countries, for example, with Canada, Mexico, and also with other countries of America, and this is fully understandable. It is likewise understandable that the Soviet Union also is conducting a policy of strengthening its relations with bordering and other countries of Europe. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will pursue in the future as well its policy of strengthening friendly relationships with these countries of Europe.
In the declaration of the Government of the United States of America it is stated that certain of the external political measures of the United States of America in other countries, which have evoked the dissatisfaction of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, are explained by the excessive influence of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics in the internal affairs of these countries. The Soviet Government is unable to agree with this kind of explanation.
In the countries of eastern Europe which are under consideration, following the war, as is well known, there took place serious democratic reforms which are a means of defense against the threat of a new war and which created favorable conditions for the growth of friendly relations between these countries and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It would be absolutely incorrect to attribute the democratic reforms which have taken place here to interference of the Soviet Union in the internal affairs of these countries. This would mean ignoring the indubitable fact that the above-mentioned reforms are a natural result of the victory of democratic forces over Nazism and Fascism and are regarded by the peoples of eastern Europe as guaranties against the threat of a new war. In this connection, the emergence of Communists in positions of leadership is completely understandable, since the people of these lands consider Communists the most effective fighters against a new war.
No one has the right to dispute the fact that the carrying through of democratic reforms is an internal affair of each state. However, from the above-mentioned communication of the Government of the United States it is clear that it holds another viewpoint and tolerates on its own part interference in the internal affairs of other states which cannot but call forth serious objections on the part of the Soviet Government. Events in Greece are not the only example of such interference in the internal affairs of other states.
The Government of the United States of America explains the present unsatisfactory state of Soviet-American relations also by the position of the Soviet Government on the question of the so-called European Recovery Program.
At the same time it is absolutely clear that if the question of the economic recovery of the European countries has been set up, not as has been done in the indicated program but on the basis of normal conditions of international economic cooperation within the framework of the United Nations organization and with the necessary regard of the national rights and sovereignty of states, there would be no reason for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' negative attitude toward the ERP, all the more since the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as one of the states which suffered most, economically, in the war, is fully interested in the development of postwar international economic cooperation.
At the same time the Soviet Government thinks it necessary to state that the present unsatisfactory condition of Soviet-American relations and the tense state of the international situation are the result of the recent policy of the Government of the United States of America.
The creation of such a tense situation has been fostered in the first place by such steps of the Government of the United States of America as the increasing development of a network of naval and air bases in all parts of the world, including territories adjacent to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, about which the press and a series of official representatives of the United States of America frankly declare that the establishment of these bases has the aim of the encirclement of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Such measures cannot be explained by the interests of self-defense. It is
likewise impossible to overlook the fact that the present atmosphere of international relations is poisoned by warlike threats of all kinds directed against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, issuing from certain circles closely connected with the Government of the United States of America. In contrast to this, the Soviet Government is conducting a consistently peaceful policy with respect to the United States of America and other states, is not establishing military bases in other countries and is not emitting any kind of threat toward anyone at all.
Further, there was recently formed a military union of western countries, including England, France, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. At a time when all the treaties of mutual assistance concluded by the Soviet Union with the eastern countries, as well as with England and France, have as their aim the prevention of a new aggression on the part of Germany and are not directed against any allied state, the newly founded military alliance of the five western states, as is clear from the treaty, has in view not only Germany but may equally be directed against those states which were allies in the second world war. In all the English, French, and American press it is openly said that this union is directed against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Furthermore, it cannot be overlooked that the formation of the stated military union was possible only thanks to the patronage of the Government of the United States of America. It is clear that the military treaty of the five western states can in no way be regarded as a treaty of self-defense.
The unfriendly character of the policy of the Government of the United States of America with regard to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has its effect also in the realm of Soviet-American commerce. In accordance with the commercial agreement concluded between our two states, the Government of the United States of America is obliged not to apply in regard to the export of goods from the United States of America to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics any more burdensome regulations or formalities than are applied in regard to any third country. However, the policy now conducted by the Government of the United States of America ignores this obligation and is in complete contradiction to the Soviet-American commercial agreement, setting up discrimination in regard to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, regardless of the fact that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is fulfilling in good faith its obligations under the aforementioned agreement. As a result thereof, the export into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of American goods is disrupted, goods on which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has paid deposits or even the full cost, a fact which injures the American firms concerned as well. The intolerability of such a situation is completely evident.
At the present time the Government of the United States of America declares that the United States has no hostile or aggressive intentions with regard to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and expresses the hope of the possibility of finding a way to the establishment of good and reasonable relations between our two countries, together with a fundamental relaxation of the tension in international relations, and expresses its readiness to cooperate in such a stabilization of world conditions as would correspond as well to the interests of the security of the Soviet people.
The Soviet Government can only welcome this declaration of the Government of the United States of America, for, as is known, it has always carried on a peace-loving policy and one of collaboration with regard to the United States of America which has always met with unanimous approval and support on the part of the peoples of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics declares that in the future as well it intends to carry out this policy with complete consistency.
The Soviet Government also expresses the hope for the possibility of finding the means to eliminate present disagreements and to establish between our countries good relations which would correspond to the interests of our peoples, as well as to the consolidation of universal peace.
(c) Additional Comments by Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith to Foreign Minister Molotov's Reply May 9, 1948
At the conclusion of Mr. Molotov's statement I said I would comment briefly. With regard to remarks about "development of United States bases", our "policy of encirclement and our warlike threats", I had only to say that our entire history was refutation of any suspicion of a policy which involved aggressive war. As I stated during our previous conversation, the drawing together of the western European countries and the support which was being given them by the United States was a direct reflection of the apprehensions and fears which had been aroused by the expansionist policy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and that while I had no right to disbelieve his statements, I could not refrain from paraphrasing Mr. Vyshinski's comment that facts spoke for themselves.
The United States was secure in its honesty of purpose with regard to ERP. Our people were, as stated previously, completely unable to understand implications placed on that program by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The United States appreciates and fully understands the desire and indeed the necessity of close and friendly relations between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its neighbors, but that here again facts spoke for themselves, and I was fully familiar with events which followed the acceptance by Czechoslovakia of the invitation to the ERP conference in Paris and subsequent reversal of this acceptance during the immediately following visit of Mazaryk and Gottwald to Moscow. A country like my own which permitted complete freedom of political thought and expression did not oppose Communism because of its Marxian ideology but purely and simply because we had seen repeated instances of Communist minorities coming into power by illegal means and against the will of the majority of the population in the countries referred to. The United States remained convinced that these minority coups d'état would have been quite impossible without the moral and physical support of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
With respect to trade agreements, there was nothing the United States would like better under conditions of reasonable and honest understanding than to participate in expanding trade with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and to contribute to the economic recovery of the Soviet states which had suffered during the war.
proof were desired of our previous feelings in this respect it could be found in fact that under lend-lease we had shipped to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics enormous values in basic industrial plants which when shipped obviously would not be in production in time to contribute to the war effort. Our change in views with regard to trade was again a direct reflection of the Soviet expansionist policies referred to in my previous conversation.
I did not wish to indulge in a contest of words which might be interpreted as the "pot calling the kettle black", but I had recently reviewed some of our past agreements with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, particularly the Roosevelt-Litvinov agreement, and that I would remind him of what I am sure he already knows, i. e., that the only provision of this agreement which had not been violated by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was that permitting the presence of an American clergyman in Moscow.
However, these were matters which it would be profitless for us to pursue to the exclusion of the major issues. I had, I believed, made completely clear the policies of the United States and the reasons which prompted the adoption of these policies. I appreciated Mr. Molotov's statement of the policies of his Government, which I would communicate at once to Washington.
(d) Statement by President Truman, May 11, 1948
With regard to the recent exchange of views between Ambassador Smith and Foreign Minister Molotov in Moscow, it was felt by this Government that in view of the adoption of the European Recovery Program as a definite expression of policy and of the President's recent recommendations to Congress concerning the military establishment, it was important that there should be no misconception or confusion in the minds of the Soviet Government concerning the position of this Government.
Accordingly, Ambassador Smith was directed to seek an interview with Mr. Molotov in order to set forth as clearly as could be expressed the policies and purposes of the United States with regard to the Soviet Union, and thus avoid any unfortunate misunderstanding in view of the character of the current propaganda statements.
The statement made by Ambassador Smith represented no new departure in American policy. It was a reiteration of the American position as it has been repeatedly expressed both publicly and privately.
The two salient points of the statement made by Ambassador Smith were these:
"The policies of the United States Government in international questions have been made amply clear in recent months and weeks. They have the support of the overwhelming majority of the American people. They will continue to be vigorously and firmly prosecuted."
"On the other hand my Government wishes to make it unmistakably clear that the United States has no hostile or aggressive designs whatsoever with respect to the Soviet Union."