The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State
Moscow, November 3, 1939—6 p.m. [Received November 3—3:30 p.m.]
859. My 853, November 2. I am informed that the Finnish delegation is going to the Kremlin at 6 o'clock this afternoon. A member of the Finnish Legation has just advised me that while the violent tone of the Pravda editorial will undoubtedly render the negotiations still more difficult it does not in the opinion of the Finnish delegation basically alter the situation. He added that according to the text of the speech of the Finnish Foreign Minister as received by the Legation the words which he is quoted as saying in the Pravda editorial in regard to Russian imperialism and the impossibility of Finland's accepting the Soviet proposals for the rectification of the frontier north of Leningrad are a fabrication put into the Minister's mouth by Pravda.
In the light of the foregoing, I consider it disturbing that Pravda should have had recourse to such fabrication since, while distortion of meaning and even misquotation are customary Soviet tactics, it is rare that remarks capable of disproof are deliberately invented.
The Izvestiya which today appeared even later than Pravda makes no reference to the Soviet-Finnish negotiations.
Source: Foreign relations of the United States. Diplomatic papers. 1939. Volume I. General. (CONCERN OF THE UNITED STATES OVER SOVIET DEMANDS ON FINLAND AND THE OUTBREAK OF THE WINTER WAR). Department of State 1956, publ. 6242. (University of Wisconsin Digital Collections)