The Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union (Stalin) to President Roosevelt 78
I have received your message on the question of negotiations in Bern. You are absolutely right that in connection with the affair regarding negotiation of the Anglo-American Command with the German Command somewhere in Bern or some other place “has developed an atmosphere of fear and distrust deserving regrets.”
You insist that there have been no negotiations yet.
It may be assumed that you have not been fully informed. As regards my military colleagues, they, on the basis of data which they have on hand, do not have any doubts, that the negotiations have taken place and that they have ended in an agreement with the Germans, on the basis of which the German commander on the Western front—Marshal Kesselring, has agreed to open the front and permit the Anglo-American troops to advance to the East, and the Anglo-Americans have promised in return to ease for the Germans the peace terms.
I think that my colleagues are close to truth. Otherwise one could not have understood the fact that the Anglo-Americans have refused to admit to Bern representatives of the Soviet Command for participation in the negotiations with the Germans.
I also cannot understand the silence of the British who have allowed you to correspond with me on this unpleasant matter, and they themselves remain silent, although it is known that the initiative in this whole affair with the negotiations in Bern belongs to the British.
I understand that there are certain advantages for the Anglo-American troops as a result of these separate negotiations in Bern or in some other place since the Anglo-American troops get the possibility to advance into the heart of Germany almost without any resistance on the part of the Germans, but why was it necessary to conceal this from the Russians, and why your Allies—the Russians, were not notified?
As a result of this at the present moment the Germans on the Western front in fact have ceased the war against England and the United States. At the same time the Germans continue the war with Russia, the Ally of England and the United States. It is understandable that such a situation can in no way serve the cause of preservation of the strengthening of trust between our countries.[Page 743]
I have already written to you in my previous message and consider it necessary to repeat it here that I personally and my colleagues would have never made such a risky step, being aware that a momentary advantage, no matter what it would be, is fading before the principle [sic] advantage on the preservation and strengthening of trust among the Allies.
- Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y. A marginal notation indicates that this telegram was received from the Soviet Embassy in Washington April 4 at 3:05 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, and dispatched to the President in Warm Springs, Ga., at 3:40 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time the same day.↩