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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 02, 1945

MEMORANDUM BY SIR ORME SARGENT, DEPUTY UNDER-SECRETARY AT THE FOREIGN OFFICE, TO WINSTON CHURCHILL

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    Sir Orme Sargent suggests that the recent Soviet hardening towards Great Britain is due to the influence of Stalin's ministers; connects chilled relations with situation in Austria and Poland.
    "Memorandum by Sir Orme Sargent, Deputy Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, to Winston Churchill," May 02, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Memorandum by Sir Orme Sargent, Deputy Under- Secretary at the Foreign Office, to Winston Churchill, 2 May 1945, in Prime Minister's Operational Papers, PREM 3/396/14 (Public Record Office, Kew). http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/123361
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Memorandum by Sir Orme Sargent,

Deputy Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office,

to Winston Churchill, 2 May 1945

P.M./O.S./45/60

PRIME MINISTER.

It has occurred to us in the Foreign Office that a possible explanation of the hardening of the Soviet attitude towards us on so many outstanding questions just now may be due to the influence of the victorious Soviet Marshals.

  2. Hitherto it has been our experience that Marshal Stalin tends to take a broad and statesmanlike line on matters put to him directly. Thus he was personally responsible for the decision to send Molotov to San Francisco on President Roosevelt's death. He was also responsible for the invitation conveyed to Harriman for the Allied representatives to visit Vienna to settle matters on the spot. Again his attitude over the Polish question, both in Moscow last autumn and at Yalta, was comparatively cooperative, though Molotov was more obstructive. But in each case there has been a subsequent hardening due apparently to some mysterious influence. This may come either from the party bosses behind the scenes or from the Soviet Generals.

  3. In the case of Poland and Austria it is tempting to connect this with the victorious Marshals who are over-running these countries and insisting that they will not have British and Americans nosing about in their preserves nor allow local governments to be set up which are not thoroughly under their own control.

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