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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 11, 1945

TASS DIGEST DISTRIBUTED TO CDE. I.V. STALIN AND CDE. C.M. MOLOTOV, 'FRENCH NEWSPAPER CONCERNING RUMORS IN CONNECTION WITH COMRADE STALIN'S GOING ON VACATION; ETC.'

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    French newspaper "Pari-Press" reported on rumors of Stalin's departure for the Caucuses on vacation, and claimed this confirmed rumors Stalin was ill; Newspaper "Chicago Tribune" similarly reported rumors of Stalin's retirement and a resulting 'behind-the-scenes battle for power' between Zhukov, backed by the army, and Molotov, backed by the Communist Party.
    "TASS Digest Distributed to Cde. I.V. Stalin and Cde. C.M. Molotov, 'French Newspaper concerning Rumors in Connection with Comrade Stalin's Going on Vacation; etc.'," October 11, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 97, ll. 35-36. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134689
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[stamp: Secret Department of TASS]

Top Secret

FRENCH NEWSPAPER CONCERNING RUMORS IN CONNECTION WITH COMRADE STALIN’S GOING ON VACATION

Paris, 10 October (TASS). The London correspondent of the newspaper Paris Press reports today by telephone from London: “News about Marshal Stalin’s departure from Moscow for vacation is being interpreted here as confirmation of rumors about his illness. There was a rumor circulated in Potsdam that he was ill with angina pectoris and expects to go to the Caucasus. The question of his successor brings up an important problem. However, it is not indicated who will temporarily carry out his responsibilities during the vacation. But during the London Conference it was confirmed that Molotov, Zhdanov, and Beria display more outspokenness than Stalin. It is possible that the nervousness of Soviet politics is thus explained by the many internal complications caused by his departure. If Stalin is actually ill then this will be reflected in the fate of the talks. If, on the contrary, he is just resting then possibly a new conference of the Big Three will take place. But in London they have decided to present the initiative to Moscow”.

FABRICATIONS OF THE NEWSPAPER CHICAGO TRIBUNE ABOUT COMRADE STALIN’S DEPARTURE ON VACATION

(radio intercept)

London, 11 October (TASS). The London correspondent of the newspaper Chicago Tribute, referring to reports of diplomatic circles, transmits that there is a fierce behind-the-scenes battle for power going on in Moscow between Marshal Zhukov and Minister of Foreign Affairs Molotov, who are trying to occupy the dictator’s place of Stalin. Today Moscow Radio announced that Stalin had left the Kremlin “for a short vacation”; however, it was not indicated where he went. This is Stalin’s first vacation since the start of the war with Germany and the first vacation which he has ever taken. Diplomatic representatives who were present at the Potsdam Conference report that Stalin is very sick and it ought to be remembered that the convening of the conference was delayed as a consequence of his ill health. Reports appeared in Paris this summer that Stalin might leave his post because of heart disease. As they report, the ambitious designs of Zhukov to become dictator have the support of the army at a time when the Communist Party stands behind Molotov. The 66-year age of Stalin, as they report, is one of the factors for the current maneuvers of his successors.

Three copies printed

1 – to Cde. I. V. Stalin
2 – to Cde. V. M. Molotov
3 – to the file of the S/O [Translator’s note: probably an abbreviation for “Secret Department”]. PR

Nº 473 ss 11 October 1945