Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by KDF33 » 02 Apr 2021 17:26

IMO, it was a mistake to offer a guarantee to Poland.

The absence of a guarantee might have led the Poles to accept German demands and in effect become a satellite state. Even if they decided to fight, the outcome of the localized German-Polish war would have been a common frontier between the Reich and the USSR, which, in the absence of a treaty between the two powers, would have de facto put Hitler in the difficult position of facing two potentially hostile major military powers at once - France in the west and the Soviet Union in the east.

Hitler couldn't be trusted and had unlimited revisionist goals. His forced redrawing of the European map was not, however, leading inexorably to German hegemony in Europe but rather to a simplification of European geopolitics into a game of great powers, something akin to the situation that existed prior to World War I.

The Anglo-French would have been better off focusing on making France as impregnable as possible with newly-expanding British land power and waited to see how events in Eastern Europe developed, now that Hitler and Stalin shared a frontier.

They should have been the last ones to commit.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 02 Apr 2021 23:11

The Poles would resist, it's basically a fact.
Hitler would offer Stalin a Hitler-Stalin pact, it was a reasonable thing to do as he had to deal with France first.
After France, he would have to attack the USSR there was no other option.
So actually it would be no different from OTL, except after betraying Czechoslovakia and Poland the British and French people would have been much less inclined to support their governments and their Machiavellian plans.
Last edited by wm on 03 Apr 2021 09:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Futurist » 03 Apr 2021 08:00

wm wrote:
02 Apr 2021 23:11
So actually it would be no different from OTL, except after betraying Czechoslovakia and Poland the British and French people would have been much less inclined to support their governments and their Machiavellian plans.
So, Britain makes peace after the Fall of France in this scenario?

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 03 Apr 2021 09:17

As I understand it British intransigence was based on the Churchill group supported by the British people.
I don't know if the British would have supported a "more cynical British leadership" and its realpolitik plans. After all their own sons would have to die for them.
As the Master wrote:
To their moral credit, the democracies could not bring themselves to consecrate another set of aggressions, not even on behalf of their own security.
I have the book "Public Opinion and the End of Appeasement in Britain and France" but haven't read it yet.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Steve » 30 Apr 2021 03:59

“By July, Stalin had learned enough. He knew that the British leaders would consent—however reluctantly—to an alliance on close to his terms. On July 23, the Soviet and Western negotiators agreed on a draft treaty that was apparently satisfactory to both sides. Stalin had now acquired a safety net for determining exactly what Hitler had to offer.
Foreign Policy Crisis -Stalin's Bazaar by Henry Kissinger”

Kissenger is wrong when he says there was agreement on a draft treaty.

On July 5th British General Ironside had met with Halifax and Chamberlain and wrote in his diary “Chamberlain said that it seemed impossible to come to an understanding with Russia”. Ironside remarked that an agreement with Russia “was the only thing we could do”, Chamberlain explained it was “the only thing we cannot do”. At a British Cabinet meeting on July 12 Halifax reported that Molotov’s definition of indirect aggression appeared to give The Soviet Government a wide right of intervention in the internal affairs of other countries and on this ground to be open to grave objections.

From The Chamberlain Cabinet by Ian Colvin.

On July 23 Molotov had indicated that he was more or less satisfied with the political agreement. Remaining difficulties over the definition of “indirect aggression” could “easily” be settled later. He asked for military conversations to start at once and Naggiar (French ambassador Moscow) and Seeds (British ambassador Moscow) pressed for acceptance of Molotov’s proposals. The British and French agreed to send military missions to Moscow. The British unlike the French were not prepared to let the issue of “indirect aggression” be set aside and they conditioned agreement to it on the conclusion of a military convention. The French agreed with the British position. Both ambassadors had informed their governments that the Soviets placed great importance on the staff talks. Halifax thought that as long as conversations were ongoing “we should be preventing Soviet Russia from entering the German camp”. Chamberlain agreed “he did not attach any great importance to the talks” The British wanted the Soviets to accept their definition of “indirect aggression”. Instructions were given to the British representatives “to go very slowly”.

From “1939 The Alliance That Never Was And The Coming Of WW2” by Michael Jabara Carley.

The British were not going to agree to what Stalin wanted and there was never a draft treaty “apparently satisfactory to both sides”. Chamberlain disliked and distrusted communists and if I recall correctly once said he had no wish to see the Red Army in Vienna. Unless Stalin agreed to what the British wanted there was not going to be a treaty. How would a treaty have worked when one of the countries it was supposed to defend refused to allow the military of one of its defenders to enter its territory?

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 30 Apr 2021 21:46

I suppose " a common understanding between the parties" would be better. Kissinger gives no reference for that "draft treaty" but in his book, there are no references anyway.

But I don't have much respect for that Carley's book (where he blames Poland for the ww2). In my opinion, he spins a conspiracy theory there.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 30 Apr 2021 22:14

From Expansion and Coexistence: Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-73 by Adam B. Ulam
The final issue on which the negotiations allegedly broke down was the Soviet demand that the Red Army be allowed to operate on and through Polish territory against Germany. This was something, as Maisky had told Halifax on March 31, the Soviets knew the Poles would not agree to.
Had the Poles by any chance been willing to concede to it under Western pressure, the Soviets would undoubtedly have demanded that Russian troops be allowed to enter Poland in peacetime.
Had that by any stretch of the imagination been agreed on, the Russians had another condition that clearly belonged in the realm of political and military fantasy: the British and French fleets were to enter the Baltic and to occupy Finnish, Latvian, and Estonian ports.

Even in World War I, the Baltic had remained a German lake, and to demand that the British fleet operate in that narrow sea in the airplane age "with the object of defending the independence of the Baltic states" could not have been meant seriously.
The Baltic states would not have agreed and at least one of them, Finland, would have fought.

There was one and only one argument that could have swayed Stalin to accept an alliance with Britain and France. This would have been a declaration that the West would not defend Poland unless the U.S.S.R. joined in her defense. But both morally and intellectually Chamberlain and Halifax were incapable of such Machiavellian diplomacy, and even had they been capable of it, public opinion in Britain would have forced their resignation when news of such an agreement had been leaked. Were the negotiations with the West then conducted entirely for the purpose of deception? No. The Russians were not sure until August 21 that they would sign with Germany.
Hence they wanted to have the most precise information of what the West would and could do for them in case the German gambit failed and they found themselves in war. Some of the information they got was clearly mendacious. Thus the French stated that the Maginot Line extended all the way to the sea.
But this lie probably had the opposite effect to that intended: it implied that the French army in case of war would sit snugly behind its fortifications.
Hence Russia made numerical demands which, unlike the demands about passage through Poland and in the Baltic, were serious and intended to become operative in case of war: the British and French should pledge that 70 per cent of their forces would be committed to an offensive against Germany if the latter struck in the east; the Soviets would pledge a similar proportion of their army if the blow were delivered in the west. (Incidentally, the conversations reveal what was to become apparent in 1940 and 1941: neither the French nor the Russian army was ready for modern war.
The Russians were to learn from the Polish and French campaigns, but in 1939 they still thought that cavalry was an important offensive weapon. The Soviet military confrontation with Germany in 1941 was to be disastrous enough; in 1939 it would have been a catastrophe.)

On August 21 Voroshilov adjourned the military conversations. He did not break them off even now, when Stalin was wiring Hitler to send Ribbentrop, but asked a longer postponement because the Soviet participants were needed at the Red Army's fall manoeuvres (!). Not until August 25, when the Nazi-Soviet Pact had been announced and Britain reiterated her determination to stand by Poland if attacked, did Voroshilov break off the negotiations and send the Anglo-French mission home.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Steve » 01 May 2021 02:27

When Jozef Beck was in London in April 1939 he met with Halifax and Chamberlain on the 4th. He was asked “would it be embarrassing to Poland if His Majesty’s Government now tried to improve their relations with the Soviet Government. This would not mean that they would make an agreement with the Soviet Government, but that they would try to establish such relations as would enable them to expect help from Soviet Russia in case of war”. Beck thought that bringing Russia in might well precipitate a conflict. He felt convinced that “a decision to open a war against Poland would be a very difficult one for Germany to take. Any association between Poland and Russia would bring that decision nearer”. Chamberlain agreed with him.

On April 5th in a Cabinet meeting Chamberlain said that he did not trust Russia; Poland and Romania did not wish to co-operate with Russia; he did not believe that Russia could provide much assistance, “except for defensive purposes”. An arrangement that included Russia would be likely to cause an explosion by provoking Germany.

Chamberlain wrote to his sister Hilda in June about an agreement with Russia “My colleagues are so desperately anxious for it and so nervous of the consequences of failure to achieve it that I have to go very warily but I am so sceptical of the value of Russian help that I should not feel that our position was greatly worsened if we had to do without them”.

Taken from Chamberlain and Appeasement by R.A.C. Parker pages 219/223/236

Though Chamberlain had no enthusiasm for an agreement with the Soviet Union his Foreign Secretary Halifax and other members of the Cabinet wanted to try and get an agreement. It would seem that in order to avoid dissension in the Cabinet and criticism in Parliament Chamberlain agreed to the negotiations.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 01 May 2021 17:47

4 April. Record of the conversation between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the British Foreign Secretary
Report from the conversation between Minister Beck and Lord Halifax at the Foreign Office on 4 April 1939, 11:00 A.M.

Present were: Lord Halifax, Sir A. Cadogan and P. Strang on the English side,
Minister Beck, Ambassador Raczyriski and Director J. Potocki on the Polish side.


Lord Halifax then raised the matter of Soviet Russia and expressed satisfaction at what had been said by Minister Beck, namely that HMG had assessed Poland's position in relation to the Soviets in making its latest proposal. Is he right in thinking that the Polish Government would not be displeased if HMG was able to maintain proper relations with Soviet Russia?

Minister Beck replies that Poland attaches great importance to maintaining proper relations with Soviet Russia and has a non-aggression pact with it. After the period of tension last autumn, appropriate steps have been taken to produce a detente. The two countries have concluded a satisfactory trade agreement. For these reasons, the Polish Government understands that HMG values the maintenance of good relations with Soviet Russia. Minister Beck wishes to point out, however, that any mutual assistance agreement between Poland and Soviet Russia would immediately produce an unfriendly reaction in Berlin and would undoubtedly bring the outbreak of a conflict closer. Poland was able, in 1934, to place its relations with Germany on a normal and satisfactory footing despite the existence of a Polish-French alliance, of which no one has ever made a secret. However, the Polish Government realises that should similar obligations arise with regard to its eastern neighbour, this would undoubtedly lead to a crisis.

Lord Halifax asked if, in the opinion of Minister Beck, a mutual assistance agreement between Poland and Great Britain would be seen as provocative by Germany.

Minister Beck stated that he could not give a clear answer on this point. An agreement of this type would be very important for Germany, though it would not have the same consequences as a Polish-Soviet agreement. He thinks that it would be possible to interpret a Polish-English agreement in an analogous manner to the Polish-French treaty and recalled that Chancellor Hitler had said that he had nothing to say against this treaty given the circumstances, and that he had no intention of attacking either France or Poland. The same could be the case with a Polish agreement with Great Britain.

Lord Halifax declares that, considering the above comments, which he understands well, it could be possible for Poland, Great Britain, and France to all find themselves involved in a conflict and that in such a case it would be important for Poland to have the possibility of using the Soviet path for the supply of war materials. So is it not that the question arises as to how to obtain a maximum of cooperation from Soviet Russia without provoking dangerous consequences?

Minister Beck states that he understands Lord Halifax's argumentation. He emphasises, however, that the aim of the present efforts is to maintain peace and one should be very careful not to do anything that could increase the threat of war. Poland, on its part, is ready to improve relations with the Soviets without extending their scope. It is not easy to say if the conflict is unavoidable. It is very important, however, to avoid provoking it.
Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 01 May 2021 18:36

The one thing all the distinguished Western historians seem not to understand, but Mr Beck realised immediately was that it wasn't about defending Poland but about maintaining peace (i.e., deterrence).
the present efforts aim to maintain peace and one should be very careful not to do anything that could increase the threat of war
Before the beginning of the war, Britain and France never declared their intention to defend Poland.
Britain promised:
all the support and assistance in its power
[it] will not conclude an armistice or treaty of peace except by mutual agreement.
France:
the two Governments shall take concerted measures for the defence of their territory and the protection of their legitimate interests,
Political Agreement of February 19, 1921
If Germany attacks one of the two countries, they are bound to afford assistance to each other following an agreement between them.
...
direct French help to Poland will consist of sending to Poland war equipment and a technical mission, but not French troops, and securing the lines of sea communication between France and Poland.
Secret Military Convention of February 21, 1921
In the event of Poland or France suffering from a failure to observe undertakings arrived at this day between them and Germany, with a view to the maintenance of general peace, France and, reciprocally, Poland, acting in application of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, undertake to lend each other immediate aid and assistance, if such a failure is accompanied by an unprovoked recourse to arms.
In the event of the Council of the League of Nations, when dealing with a question brought before it in accordance with the said undertakings, being unable to succeed in securing the acceptance of its report by all its members other than the representatives of the parties to the dispute, and in the event of Poland or France being attacked without provocation, France, or reciprocally Poland, acting in application of Article 15, paragraph 7, of the Covenant of the League of Nations, will immediately lend aid and assistance.
Treaty of Locarno Between France and Poland of October 16, 1925
To maintain peace there was no need whatsoever to send Soviet armies to Poland, that would provoke war (as can be seen France flatly refused to send its own troops).
To maintain peace the only thing needed was a common anti-aggression alliance. A threat sufficient to deter the Germans and especially Hitler.
But that was unacceptable for Stalin, he believed his country wasn't threatened by war (so he didn't need any alliance) and demanded to be compensated (with territories and spheres of influence) for his efforts.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 02 May 2021 22:18

20 April. Unsigned note about the pronouncements of the Soviet Ambassador in Paris
20 April 1939 THE USSR AND THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION.

Circles close to the Soviet Plenipotentiary Representation in Paris communicate what follows: Prior to his departure for Moscow, Surits organised a 'tea party' at the Polpred for leftist groups, mainly communists, socialists and deputies. During this 'tea party' long discussions were held on the subject of prospects for the USSR's joining international 'guarantee' combinations.

Surits … in a confidential discussion that took place in the salons of the Polpred with Dote and Tessan, left-wing radical-socialist candidates for leading positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in case of a 'Popular Front restoration', Surits expounded at length about some of Moscow's doubts:

1. Personally, Stalin does not want to believe that 'capitalist democratic' countries have once and for all abandoned the idea of 'buying Hitler off' by directing him eastward, in the direction of the USSR, and thus deflecting from the West the threat of Germany's 'dynamism'. Stalin particularly distrusts the 'Munich appeasers', i.e., Chamberlain and the Bonnet-Daladier pair, considering them to be proponents of the above-mentioned idea of 'mutual embitterment of the USSR and Germany'.

2. The USSR fears that, having tied itself with strong military and alliance guarantee obligations in relation to countries which could be assaulted by Germany in the east and south-east of Europe, the Red Army would have to bear the brunt of the principal strike of the German armed forces, as the USSR borders on those countries that are the object of German aggression and would immediately have to send its troops onto the territory of those countries, thus showing them absolute support.
In those circumstances, the struggle of the coalition against Germany will be transformed in principle into a Soviet-German war (France will be sitting behind the Maginot line, making demonstrations of cautious proportions from time to time, given that it is tied down by the Italian and Spanish border and the necessity of fighting in Africa. England can limit itself to defending the Netherlands, possibly Belgium, and to fighting in the air).

3. The party and military authorities in the USSR consider it as absolutely impossible, from the point of view of maintaining the Red Army's combativeness and morale, for the Soviet military units located on foreign territory to be subordinated to 'bourgeois norms of wartime criminal law and generally to political norms that are entirely contrary to the socialist credo of a Red Army soldier.

4. The USSR thinks it absolutely necessary in order not to 'embolden individual assailants' to give the mutual assistance pact the character of a 'universal pact of general security that would be applicable everywhere in Europe and in the Far East. Specifically speaking, this means that the USSR should be secure in case of an attack by Japan. At the same time, Surits didn't hide from his interlocutors that in Moscow it was generally regarded as highly improbable that Germany would attack the USSR and, for this reason, the USSR's assistance in Europe was considered 'unilateral', one without equivalent from the other side.

5. Surits also declared to his interlocutors that Warsaw's position makes the worst possible impression on Stalin, as it levels 'absurd allegations' against the government of the USSR and ascribes to it the desire to make use of the war to spark a world revolution.

7. Finally, Surits declared that during the last meeting between Merekalov, the Polpred in Berlin, and von Ribbentrop, Merekalov obtained far-reaching assurances from the German minister of foreign affairs that Germany considered the Soviet-German non-aggression agreement as binding and was ready to confirm this point of view in a most formal manner, even in the form of a personal declaration by the Reichsfuhrer [i.e., by Hitler].
Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939


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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Steve » 03 May 2021 01:35

I found it surprising that “Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October – 30 September 1939” made no mention of talks with Chamberlain being present. However, the meeting referred to took place in the morning at 11am and I believe the meeting with Chamberlain took place in the afternoon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6BkxtpNecc

The guarantee was intended to deter Hitler from attacking Poland and strengthen its negotiating position. Poland would make concessions and war would be avoided. If it came to war there was nothing the British could do and their military estimates were that Poland might be able to hold out for three months.

Without Soviet military intervention the Poles were lost it was therefore important for an effective eastern front against Germany that the Soviets were brought in. The Soviets were worried that Hitler would attack them and that anti Soviet elements in the west would encourage him to do so. The two sides negotiated but could not reach agreement so Stalin went to plan B and then had to justify it to the communist movement.

An anti aggression pact meant nothing without a military commitment by its members. Rather like having a guard dog with no teeth.

“20 April. Unsigned note about the pronouncements of the Soviet Ambassador in Paris
20 April 1939 THE USSR AND THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION.”

7. Finally, Surits declared that during the last meeting between Merekalov, the Polpred in Berlin, and von Ribbentrop, Merekalov obtained far-reaching assurances from the German minister of foreign affairs that Germany considered the Soviet-German non-aggression agreement as binding and was ready to confirm this point of view in a most formal manner, even in the form of a personal declaration by the Reichsfuhrer [i.e., by Hitler].
Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939

I always thought that the Soviet German Non Aggression agreement was signed in August 1939 but apparently there was one in operation on April 20 1939 or have I missed something.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 03 May 2021 21:57

Steve wrote:
03 May 2021 01:35
I found it surprising that “Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October – 30 September 1939” made no mention of talks with Chamberlain being present.
Of course, the transcript is there but there are limits of publishing other people's hard work for free on the Internet.

Steve wrote:
03 May 2021 01:35
Poland would make concessions and war would be avoided.
I wanted first of all to establish a tolerable relationship with Poland in order to fight first against the West. But this plan, which appealed to me, could not be executed, as fundamental points had changed. It became clear to me that, in the event of a conflict with the West, Poland would attack us.
August 22, 1939, Obersalzberg Speech


Steve wrote:
03 May 2021 01:35
Without Soviet military intervention the Poles were lost it was therefore important for an effective eastern front against Germany that the Soviets were brought in.
That's unproven. The Soviets never offered to save Poland. Especially that, they only offered the same number of divisions as the French divisions directly engaged on the Western Front.
As the French Army was incapable of any offensive actions (so to engage any reasonable number of divisions too) for months to come there was no chance to save Poland. Considering too that the Red Army wasn't well disposed for offensive operation as Voroshilov declared.

Steve wrote:
03 May 2021 01:35
The Soviets were worried that Hitler would attack them and that anti Soviet elements in the west would encourage him to do so.
But where is the evidence that Stalin was afraid that Hitler would attack him?
in Moscow it was generally regarded as highly improbable that Germany would attack the USSR and, for this reason, the USSR's assistance in Europe was considered 'unilateral', one without equivalent from the other side.

The Fascist Powers [will] never break through [the Stalin Line]
Voroshilov to Doumenc August 14, 1939


Steve wrote:
03 May 2021 01:35
An anti aggression pact meant nothing without a military commitment by its members. Rather like having a guard dog with no teeth.
Three major powers controlling together almost all the world was "no teeth"? How many months was Germany going to survive under a full continental blockade?

Steve wrote:
03 May 2021 01:35
I always thought that the Soviet German Non Aggression agreement was signed in August 1939 but apparently there was one in operation on April 20 1939 or have I missed something.
Surits had in mind the German-Soviet Neutrality and Nonaggression Pact (1926) otherwise called the new Reinsurance Treaty. The USSR actually didn't need any new non-aggression pact, it already had one.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 03 May 2021 23:04

What's wrong with this agreement?
Draft Military Pact prepared by Anglo-French Delegations

Article 1
The three contracting Powers are agreed on the vital importance of building up a continuous, solid and durable front on Germany's Eastern as well as on her Western frontiers.
Article 2
In order to oppose without delay the development of the enemy military action, the United Kingdom, France and the U.S.S.R. undertake to operate with all their forces, naval, land and air, on all the hostile fronts on which they can fight effectively until Germany is defeated.
The manner in which these forces are employed will depend on the decisions of the respective Commanders-in-Chief. These decisions will be arrived at according to the development of the situation, but the first common aims are specified hereunder.
Article 3
One of the essential aims will be to keep free communications between the various fronts, thus allowing them to afford to each other, under the best conditions, effective help in material, technicians, specialists and in military formations.
In the North, sea communication will be established and maintained to and from the U.S.S.R. harbours of the Arctic Ocean.
n the South, sea communications will be established and maintained through the Mediterranean by suitable naval, military and air measures.
Air communications between the territories of the three contracting parties will be established as soon as possible.
Article 4
The three contracting Governments consider that another essential aim is to cut off the common enemy from all external supplies. In particular, they will coordinate their action to stop all traffic between the neutral States and hostile Powers and between the different parts of the hostile territories. Co-operation between the different naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea, the North Atlantic, the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean will be determined as laid down in Article 1.
Article 5
The three contracting Powers, in case of aggression by any European Power leading to a war in the Balkan area, undertake to give immediate and simultaneous help to Turkey. They will give immediate help with their available naval and air forces to Turkey in order to protect her territory and communications. They will assist her with technical units and will reinforce her by such specialists and material as they can provide.
Article 6
Should operations spread in the Balkan area, the three contracting Governments agree that they will take common military action in this area.
Article 7
The defence of the Polish and Romanian territories is essentially the task of the military forces of these two Powers. Moreover, the three contracting Powers agree mutually that on receipt of requests from either or both of the above States, they will help them by sending such available aid as may be considered necessary, particular consideration being given to air assistance, war material and specialists.
Article 8
The three contracting Powers agree to co-operate in the organisation and maintenance of supplies of munitions and raw materials for Poland, Roumania and Turkey as required by the situation.
Article 9
To facilitate the concerted operations foreseen in Article 1, Military Missions will be exchanged as soon as a state of war occurs.

Naval Clauses
Prelude
The contracting parties attach the greatest importance to preserving intact the sea communications with the U.S.S.R.
1. To keep the U.S.S.R. communications free to and from the Arctic. If the U.S.S.R. will deal with local defence of her ports and the protection of a suitable area to the Westward (say midway between the White Sea and Scapa Flow), Britain and France will use their utmost efforts to destroy or neutralise the menace to shipping of the enemy navy and air force in the Atlantic and North Sea.
2. As regards the Baltic, it is agreed that at the beginning of the war Britain and France can best contribute by attacking the enemy naval forces outside the Baltic in every part of the world.
As soon as the menace of the enemy fleets in the outer seas has been met and destroyed, Britain and/or France would move a steadily increasing force into the Baltic in order to obtain complete command of it.
Any British or French air forces based in Poland would co-operate so far as they found possible with the U.S.S.R. naval forces operating in the Baltic.
3. If enemy naval forces are at any time reported moving towards the Baltic, whether by the Kattegat or Kiel Canal, Franco-British forces will use their utmost endeavours to intercept and destroy them en route.
4. To keep the U.S.S.R. communications free to and from the Marmora and the Black Sea. Franco-British naval and air forces will use their utmost efforts to destroy or render useless the naval and air forces of the enemy in those waters and in the Mediterranean.
If the U.S.S.R. is faced with the threat or presence of superior enemy naval forces in the Black Sea, Britain and France will at once move to the Black Sea naval forces adequate to ensure the destruction of the enemy.
August 9, 1939
DOCUMENTS ON BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY 1919-1939 - THIRD SERIES Volume VII 1939

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 03 May 2021 23:21

The insincere Soviet delaying tactics.
Record of a Conversation between Marshal Voroshilov and General Donmenc,
August 22,
The conversation began at 7 o'clock and ended at 7.50 p.m.
...
General Doumenc: ... my Government has informed me that the reply to the basic, essential question is in the affirmative. In other words, the Government has empowered me to sign a military convention under which authorisation will be given for the passage of Soviet troops at the points specified by you, that is to say, the Corridor of Vilno, and, if the actual circumstances demand it, Galicia and Roumania.
Marshal Voroshilov: Is that the French Government's message?
General Doumenc: Yes, the French Government has given me these instructions.
Marshal Voroshilov: And the British Government?
General Doumenc: I do not know if Admiral Drax has received a similar reply from the British Government, but I know that the Admiral is of opinion that the Conference can go on.
Marshal Voroshilov: Then the English Delegation knows of this communication?
General Doumenc: Yes; I told the Admiral that the French Government's reply had arrived. And I am nearly certain that the same reply will be given by the English Government. But, as I am responsible for the military questions and Admiral Drax more particularly for the naval ones, this reply is sufficient to allow the work of our Conference to proceed.
Marshal Voroshilov: It may be that the English Delegation agrees that General Doumenc should take charge of the military questions. But it seems to me that the English Mission has, if not a dominant role, at least an equal one, in all our conversations. Hence it will clearly be difficult for us to continue the work of the Conference.
General Doumenc: I think that the reply of the British Government will be here soon.
Marshal Voroshilov: There is another question in which I am interested. I apologise, General, but it is a very serious question and I find it essential to ask it.
General Doumenc: I also desire to speak seriously and frankly with the Marshal.
Marshal Voroshilov: You have given no reply regarding the attitude of the Polish and Roumanian Governments in this matter. Are they being kept informed of the negotiations, or does the reply you have received come solely from the French Government, without previous communication to Poland and Roumania?
General Doumenc: I do not know what conversations have taken place between the Governments. I can only repeat what my Government has told me. Taking the opportunity afforded by the present conversation, I would like to ask the following question: do you intend our conversations to proceed rapidly and to lead to the signing of a military convention? I came here for that purpose, but time is passing.
...
General Doumenc: If my Government have given me an affirmative reply, they have in, t done so lightly. If 1 now declare thai my Government have said 'Yes', I consider that we can begin our work. Now the Marshal asks me about new political guarantees. I am ready to ask for them, but I fear that this will give the impression that we do not wish to sign the Convention quickly.
Marshal Voroshilov: I believe you misunderstand me. I have not spoken of new guarantees. I said only this: if nothing happens from a political point of view between now and then, we can agree fully. As soon as the situation is clear and the answer to our question has been given by the Polish and Roumanian Governments, we shall be able to agree rapidly and to settle all the practical problems. But all this, I repeat, is based on the assumption that no political occurrence intervenes.
General Doumenc: I understand the Marshal to refer to a declaration or to some information from the Polish Government?
Marshal Voroshilov: No, not that. I ask whether there is a reply approved by the Polish and Roumanian Governments, or merely a reply from the French Government on the following lines: 'We have put the question to Poland and we hope to receive a reply in the affirmative, &c.' That is no reply for us. It is a useless waste of time. I believe implicitly in the General and the General believes in his Government, but on this point we must be absolutely clear. We must have a definite reply from the Governments of these countries, showing that they agree to the passage of our troops.
General Doumenc: I do not think that it is our wish to deceive you.
Marshal Voroshilov: Naturally not. But we know the Poles well. The Poles, naturally, will also like to clear up some questions if there is no previous agreement with them; but neither you nor I know whether they have been informed of the general state of affairs.
General Doumenc: I know them perhaps a little less well than the Marshal, but in spite of that I wish to ask whether you think it possible to begin our Conference, or would you prefer to postpone it?
Marshal Voroshilov: We have at present no subject for conversation. Until we receive a reply, all conversation is useless.
General Doumenc: My opinion is different. No work, generally speaking, is useless. We have confidence in you and we think that this work is justified and useful. For example, the question of the Corridor of Vilno ought to be studied closely to find out all its advantages and drawbacks. That is useful, even if it becomes necessary afterwards to work jointly with the Poles as the Marshal suggested just now.
Marshal Voroshilov: I have already said that if the Poles had given an affirmative reply, they would have insisted on being present at our talks. As they have not done this, it means that they know nothing of the matter or that they do not agree.
General Doumenc: I see that the Marshal has no intention of continuing our work in the next few days, and I can only take note of the fact. In spite of that, I am still convinced that we have good reason to continue our work.
Marshal Voroshilov: Our Delegation has already given its reply. Until we receive a clear answer to the questions put, we will not work.
DOCUMENTS ON BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY 1919-1939 - THIRD SERIES Volume VII 1939

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