Monsieur le Ministre,

According to information received from the headquarters of the Red Army, our troops posted on the Carelian Isthmus, in the vicinity of the village of Mainila, were the object to-day, November 26th, at 3.45 p.m., of unexpected artillery fire from Finnish territory. In all, seven cannon-shots were fired, killing three privates and one non-commissioned officer and wounding seven privates and two men belonging to the military command. The Soviet troops, who had strict orders not to allow themselves to be provoked, did not retaliate.

In bringing the foregoing to your knowledge, the Soviet Government consider it desirable to stress the fact that, during the recent negotiations with M. Tanner and M. Paasikivi, they had directed their attention to the danger resulting from the concentration of large regular forces in the immediate proximity of the frontier near Leningrad. In consequence of the provocative firing on Soviet troops from Finnish territory, the Soviet Government are obliged to declare now that the concentration of Finnish troops in the vicinity of Leningrad, not only constitutes a menace to Leningrad, but is, in fact, an act hostile to the U.S.S.R. which has already resulted in aggression against the Soviet troops and caused casualties.

The Government of the U.S.S.R. have no intention of exaggerating the importance of this revolting act committed by troops belonging to the Finnish Army - owing perhaps to a lack of proper guidance on the part of their superiors - but they desire that revolting acts of this nature shall not be committed in future.

In consequence, the Government of the U.S.S.R., while protesting energetically against what has happened, propose that the Finnish Government should, without delay, withdraw their troops on the Carelian Isthmus from the frontier to a distance of 20-25 kilometres, and thus preclude all possibility of a repetition of provocative acts.

[Accept, M. le Ministre, the assurance of my high consideration.

People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR V.] Molotov.

November 26th, 1939.

Source: The development of Finnish-Soviet relations during the autumn 1939 in the light of official documents. Publication of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Doc. nr. 23. Suomen Kirja, Helsinki 1940.

Contemporary and officially published Russian and Finnish diplomatic and other documents on Soviet-Finnish relations 1939-1940. Soviet troops crossed the Finnish border along with aerial strikes on Finnish cities on November 30, 1939.

Mr. H.B. Elliston of the Christian Science Monitor, and representing also the London Observer tells in his book "Finland Fights", Little, Brown and Co., Boston 1940: "While I was eating in an officer's mess at the frontier I heard a Moscow broadcaster telling the world of Finnish bombardments on precisely that spot ... I arrived back in Helsinki exactly eight hours before the Russian airmen." A picture opening from his book.
A "democratic government" of Finland led by O.W. Kuusinen was set up by the Russians having its residence at the newly conquered township of Terijoki, Dec. 1, 1939.

A Soviet report, Nov. 25, 1939, on Red Army invasion preparations. Red Army political administration, Nov. 1939: Finnish "Swineheads" should be taught a lesson. "Pravda", Nov. 26, 1939: A clown as the Prime Minister of Finland. The League of Nation's report on the Soviet-Finnish conflict and exclusion of Soviet Union from its membership, Dec. 14, 1939.

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