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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 26, 1946

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS OF MR. H. BAILEY, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN AGENCY 'UNITED PRESS'

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    In an interview, Stalin discusses the political developments in Europe and the Soviet Union and the threat of conflict with the West. Particular emphasis is paid to Germany and Eastern Europe.
    "Answers to the Questions of Mr. H. Bailey, President of the American Agency 'United Press'," October 26, 1946, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, I.V. Stalin, Sochineniia, vol. 1 6, pp. 40-43. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134374
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Answers to the Questions of Mr. H. Bailey,

President of the American Agency "United Press"

October 26, 1946

Bailey: Do you agree with the opinion of the Secretary of State Burns, expressed in a radio announcement last Friday, concerning the intensified tensions between the USSR and the United States?

Stalin: No.

Bailey: If such an increased tension exists, could you not point out the reasons for it, as well as the primary means for eliminating it?

Stalin: The question is irrelevant, because of the [lit. "falls away" in connection with the] answer to the previous question.

Bailey: Do you consider that the present negotiations will result in the conclusion of peace agreements that will establish cordial relations between peoples - the former allies in the war against fascism - and eliminate the danger of a war being unleashed by the former countries of the Axis?

Stalin: I hope so.

Bailey: In the opposite case, what are the hindrances to establishing cordial relations among the [countries] that were allies in the great war?

Stalin: The question is irrelevant, because of the [lit. "falls away" in connection with the] answer to the previous question.

Bailey: How does the Russia feel about the decision of Yugoslavia not to sign a peace agreement with Italy?

Stalin: Yugoslavia is justified in being dissatisfied.

Bailey: At present, what, in your opinion, is the most serious threat to world peace?

Stalin: The instigators of a new war, most of all Churchill and like-thinking persons in the USA.

Bailey: If such a threat arises, what steps must be taken to by the peoples of the world to evade a new war?

Stalin: It is necessary to expose and restrain the instigators of a new war.

Bailey: Is the United Nations a guarantee of the integrity of small countries?

Stalin: As yet it is difficult to say.

Bailey: Do you believe that the four zones of occupation in Germany must be unified in the near future as regards economic administration for the purpose of restoring Germany as a peaceful economic unit, and thus ease the four powers' burden of occupation?

Stalin: It is necessary to restore not only the economic, but also the political unity of Germany.

Bailey: Do you believe that it is possible at present to create a kind of central administration run by the Germans themselves, but under Allied control, which will make it possible for the Council of Foreign Ministers to work a peace agreement for Germany?

Stalin: Yes, I consider it [possible ].

Bailey: Are you convinced that, judging from the elections that took place this summer and fall in various zones, that Germany is developing along democratic lines, which give hope for its future as a peaceful nation?

Stalin: As of yet, I am not convinced of this.

Bailey: Do you consider that, as it was proposed in certain circles, the level of industry permitted for Germany must be raised above the level agreed upon so that Germany can be more prosperous [lit. "better provided for"]?

Stalin: Yes, I consider that [it must be raised] .

Bailey: What must be done beyond the existing program of the four powers to prevent Germany from again becoming a military threat to the world?

Stalin: We must really root out fascism in Germany and thoroughly democratize it.

Bailey: Is it desirable to permit the German people to restore their industry and trade so that

they can be self-sufficient?

Stalin: Yes, it is desirable.

Bailey: In your opinion, are the decisions of the Potsdam conference being adhered to? If no,

what is required to make the Potsdam declaration an effective instrument?

Stalin: It is not always adhered to, especially in the matter of democratizing Germany.

Bailey: Do you consider that the right of veto was abused during the negotiations between the four ministries of foreign affairs and at meeting of the Council of the lu.N.O. [UN?]?

Stalin: No, I consider this [to be true].

Bailey: How far, in the opinion of the Kremlin, must the allied powers go in the matter of investigating and bringing to trial minor war criminals in Germany? Is it considered that the Nurmburg decisions created a sufficiently strong basis for such actions?

Stalin: The further it goes, the better.

Bailey: Does Russia consider the western borders of Poland to be permanent?

Stalin: Yes.

Bailey: How does the USSR view the presence of British troops in Greece? Does it consider that must deliver more weapons to the present government of Greece.

Stalin: [I consider it] as unnecessary.

Bailey: How large are the Russian military contingents in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Austria, and for how long, in your opinion, must these contingents be maintained in the interest of guaranteeing peace?

Stalin: In the West, that is, in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Poland, the Soviet Union has 60 divisions altogether (including infantry and armored divisions). Most of them are not fully manned. There are no Soviet troops in Yugoslavia. In two months, when this October's decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet concerning the final stage of demobilization will be implemented, 40 divisions will remain in these countries.

Bailey: How does the USSR government regard the presence of American warships in the Mediterranean Sea?

Stalin: Indifferently.

Bailey: What are the prospects at present for a trade agreement between Russia and Norway?

Stalin: As yet it is difficult to say.

Bailey: Is it possible for Finland to again become a self-sufficient nation after reparations are paid, and does [Stalin] have any sort of opinion concerning the reexamination of the reparations program to hasten the revival of Finland?

Stalin: The question is posed incorrectly. Finland was and remains a fully self-sufficient nation.

Bailey: What will the trade agreements with Sweden and other countries mean for the reconstruction of the USSR? What foreign aid do you consider desirable for the accomplishment of this great task?

Stalin: The agreement with Sweden is a contribution to the economic cooperation of nations.

Bailey: Is Russia still interested in receiving loans from the United States?

Stalin: It is interested.

Bailey: Does Russia already have its own atomic bomb or some similar sort of weapon?

Stalin: No.

Bailey: What is your opinion of the atomic bomb and similar weapons as an instrument of war?

Stalin: I have already given my evaluation of the atomic bomb in a well-known reply to Mr. Werth.

Bailey: How, in your opinion, might we best control atomic energy? Must this control be created on a worldwide basis, and to what degree must a power sacrifice its sovereignty in the interest of establishing effective control?

Stalin: Strict international control is necessary.

Bailey: How much time is required to restore the devastated districts of Western Russia?

Stalin: Six to seven years, if not more.

Bailey: Will Russia permit functioning trade airlines over the territory of the Soviet Union? Does Russia intend to expand its own airline on other continents on a mutual basis?

Stalin: Under certain conditions this is possible [lit. "not excluded"] .

Bailey: How does your government view the occupation of Japan? Do you consider it successful in its present form [lit. "existing basis"] .

Stalin: There is success, but greater successes could have been accomplished.