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195 Bruce to Forde and Evatt

Cablegram 87A LONDON, 13 June 1944, 5.30 p.m.


For the Acting Prime Minister and the Minister for External


I went to the Soviet Embassy one afternoon last week and over tea
had an informal talk with Ambassador [1] which lasted for nearly
two hours. I was glad to find that he proposed to have his
Counsellor Zinchenko to act as Interpreter as his English is

The conversation began by Gusev asking how the Prime Minister's
Conference had gone. I replied that it was a very great success,
not because of any concrete decisions but because meeting had
shown there was basic agreement between the Governments of the
British Nations on all the great fundamental problems. Broadly the
position was that all the Prime Ministers had found themselves in
accord on the objectives of pursuing the war to total defeat of
the Axis and that there would be no diminution of efforts of any
of the British Countries if Hitler were defeated before Japan.

Furthermore, there was complete agreement that every effort should
be made to ensure fulfilment of the Moscow Declaration [2] with
regard to security and world peace and that all should co-operate
with a view to maximum International collaboration for raising
standards of living and a greater measure of social security

Furthermore there had been complete agreement that there should be
full consultation among the British Nations in pursuing these
objectives although no real alteration had been made in the
existing methods for such consultation. It had been left for each
Dominion to pursue the method of consultation best adopted to its
own particular circumstances. For instance one method might be
appropriate for consultation between Canada and the United Kingdom
in view of the fact that a Minister could dine in Ottawa and
breakfast in London, whereas it would be wholly inapplicable as
regards Anglo-Australian consultation seeing that Australia and
England were 12,000 miles apart.

We then discussed at length the relationship between British
Nations and that between the Republics constituting the Soviet
Union. Speaking very frankly I said that the main difference was
that the British Dominions were resolute that they would not
tolerate any interference from the United Kingdom Government. On
the other hand, although autonomous powers had recently been given
to various Republics of the Soviet Union, the Central Government
had, in fact, intervened and such intervention would not be
resented by the Republics.

Gusev interjected with the remark that intervention of the Central
Government in U.S.S.R. would always be for the benefit of the

I replied that if the United Kingdom Government ever attempted to
intervene they would no doubt consider their intervention was for
the good of the Dominions, but that would not in any way minimise
the resentment and hostility that would be felt towards such

I suggested this difference was perfectly natural seeing U.S.S.R.

was only a product of the last 20 years based on common social
ideals and a similar economic policy. The United Kingdom and
Dominions, however, had over a long period of years been
progressively developing their own social systems and economic
policies which often diverged, e.g. all Dominions had their own
tariffs on goods from other parts of the Commonwealth as well as
Foreign Countries which was unthinkable with regard to U.S.S.R.

I also pointed out that all Russians were prepared to accept
directions of the Central Party Organisation which was far from
being the position of all British peoples. The only thing which
really held us together was our common allegiance to the Crown.

The Ambassador then asked whether post-war organisation had been
considered at the Conference. I said it had only been dealt with
in its broadest aspects. No decisions of any sort had been taken
but the Prime Ministers had re-affirmed the principles of the
Moscow Declaration and had made it clear to the Prime Minister of
the United Kingdom that they were all convinced some world
authority had to be established for ensuring world peace. This
objective they hoped would be achieved by consultation between the
United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America. I
added that the United States of America had also been considering
this problem and, from what I had read in the Press, they might
possibly have reached more concrete conclusions as to the form of

I asked what was the position in the U.S.S.R. Gusev replied that
they considered it essential that there should be some world
organisation but had been so pre-occupied with fighting that only
a minor degree of consideration had as yet been given to it.

In reply to this I paid the obvious tribute to Russia's war
effort, her great losses and sufferings, adding that the British
peoples had also endured much and the measure of their sacrifices
was likely to be greatly increased now the invasion of Europe had
started. Nevertheless, it had been possible to examine the
question of world organisation without interfering with the war
effort. I stressed that the present was the crucial moment and
everything depended on the U.S.S.R. The United Kingdom were now
reinforced in their attitude as to the necessity for a world
organisation by the strong support of all the Dominions. American
Administration seemed to be ready, if necessary, to make an
election issue of the question of America's participation. This
opinion might, however, pass, as after the war in Europe was won
the Americans might intend to withdraw.

Gusev replied that this was not possible. America must recognise
that in her own interests she could not disassociate herself from
Europe. I replied that I was afraid Political decisions could be
taken in America which would ignore the fact that the Atlantic to-
day gave little protection to America. Because of that danger I
felt very strongly this was the moment when we should get America
committed to some form of future world organisation.

At this stage Gusev proceeded to enumerate a list of grievances
the Soviet had with regard to their treatment in the last 20
years-long exclusion from the League, lack of appreciation that
after her admission Russia had supported all the principles of the
Covenant, scorning of Russia's proposals for disarmament and
consistent contempt for Russia by other nations. He ended by
saying that Russia persisted in her demands as to her position
being recognised and would not tolerate the treatment received in
the past.

I listened to the tirade in complete silence, merely waiting for
the next outburst-each statement had to be translated. This
silence rather encouraged Gusev to become more emphatic with a
growing tinge of aggressiveness. When he had finished I replied
that I entirely agreed with the greater part of what he had said
but entirely disagreed with Russia allowing her future policy to
be influenced by her memory of past grievances. My somewhat
emphatic reply obviously rather surprised the phlegmatic Gusev.

I then went on to elaborate what I meant. I said I agreed that
Russia was quite entitled to have strong feelings about her
treatment in connection with the League. I was also prepared to
admit that her record at Geneva was beyond reproach and the
attitude by many nations towards her between the two wars must
have been very galling to a proud people. Nevertheless, I thought
Russians were quite wrong now to be nourishing a sense of
grievance over the past. They should be taking the attitude of a
great people-their feelings should be those of satisfaction that
they had proved the whole world wrong and themselves right. They
had, I went on, demonstrated the success of their great social
experiment so that what they had achieved had to be recognised by
all and they had won the admiration of the whole world by their
achievements in the war.

I ended by appealing to Gusev as earnestly as I could to realise
the force of what I had said, to think in terms of the future and
not of the past and to throw Russia's incomparable weight behind
creation of world authority in which she would take her proper
place as one of the greatest nations in history.

Zinchenko, translated everything very fully and it was quite clear
from his manner that what I said was acceptable to him at all
events. On the whole I think the interview will be of some value
and when we parted Gusev was certainly quite genial for him.



1 F. T. Gusev.

2 i.e. the Four Power Declaration.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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