FROM THE DIARY OF PLENIPOTENTIARY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE USSR IN THE GREAT BRITAIN I. MAISKY
December 12, 1939
Military advance in Finland goes relatively slowly. The nature of the surface, the climate, the time of the year (short day, low clouds, lakes and swamps are still not properly frozen) - all this is against us. In such a situation, the mechanization of the Red Army cannot be felt with full force. Finally, on the Karelian Isthmus, the Finns have quite serious fortifications built on the use of the rivers, lakes and swamps there. All this, of course, will be overcome, but so far patience is required.
This delay in the development of events in Finland creates favorable conditions for the deployment of a rabid anti-Soviet campaign in England. Almost two weeks have passed since the beginning of it, but for now there are no signs of a decline in the wave. Rather, the tension is still growing [...]
The Halifax speech in the House of Lords on December 5 is very indicative from the same point of view. The "militant" activity of Butler in Geneva, which supports the exclusion of the USSR from League of Nations, is also very indicative. The British government's decision to publish the White Book on the summer talks in Moscow is also very curious. So far, the Foreign Office has repeatedly rejected such a move under the pretext that "this could adversely affect Anglo-Soviet relations." Now this consideration is discarded. It is easy to imagine the content of this future "White Book". The British government will try to use it to justify its conduct during negotiations and to accuse the USSR. Lie, slander, distortion - everything will be used to achieve this goal. Most likely, not even a simple lie, but (which is much more dangerous) a clever mixture of truth and lies. We too should have prepared our "book" for publication immediately after the English one. Otherwise, the British version will walk around the world without any resistance from our side..
What will happen next?
One of these days the decision of League of Nations is expected. Possibly, an "expulsion" will be accepted. How the British government will react to it is still difficult to say. One thing is clear: it will not go for an open armed support for Ryti and Co., but it will provide political, diplomatic and logistical assistance (including the supply of airplanes, weapons, etc.).
Returning to the campaign, that's what catches your eye. In the campaign connected with Poland, and then with the Baltic States, the USSR was accused of "imperialism". Now the main emphasis is on the "world revolution" and "communism." In government and political circles, the question is now vividly debated: who is the enemy number 1 - Germany or the USSR? The answers to this question are different. Not surprisingly, London is now full of rumors about new attempts to find the ground for a deal with Hitler. In this connection, the names of Montagu Norman and Horace Wilson are mentioned.
The US position has played and will play a very large role. Chamberlain and Co. are guided by them now more than ever.
Despite, however, all the anti-Soviet rabies, which fills the social and political atmosphere of the country, there has so far been no talk at all (which has been going on in France for a long time) about breaking off diplomatic relations with the USSR. The British are smarter than the French, and besides, they already had the sad experience of such a gap. They do not want to repeat it. Nevertheless, I would not vouch for a more distant future. In an era of war, anything is possible.
The external attitude to us here is quite correct. But on the other hand, in the plenipotentiary representation and trade mission, as always in the days of large anti-Soviet campaigns, there is are chilling emptiness. With a few exceptions, all of our "friends", both "right" and "left", from the beginning of the campaign rushed into the bushes. Well, this is not the first time. Will return.
I am a seasoned bird, and the storm is not new to me. The sooner the events in Finland end, the sooner it will settle down. The British are big fans of recognizing "fait accompli."
MID RF, f 017a, op.
1, p. I, d. 6, l. 355—357.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. 1939. XXII:2. Nr, 856. Moscow: Internat. relations, 1992. Computer assisted draft translation by Pauli Kruhse.
Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940