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November 12, 1945

TASS Reports Distributed to Cdes. I.V. Stalin, V.M. Molotov, A.I. Mikyan, L.P. Beria, G.M. Malenkov, and A. Ya. Vyshinsky

This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation

Top Secret




PARIS, 9 November (TASS) Reports – one more sensational than the other – fill a good half of the French newspapers. (In this regard the yellow [bul’varnaya] evening press is especially active). The idea about the content of the material placed by them yields – an entire page – of a headline: “Differences in the Kremlin?” (Liberation Soir), “The Search for Stalin” (France Soir), “The Protection of Health, a Political Precaution?” (Paris-Presse).


Delbars, continuing the series of his articles in Paris-Presse, asserted that “Stalin’s retirement is already being put into effect”. “Paris-Matin” reports that “Kalinin is on [his] deathbed”. “Cite-Soir” announced today a large, extraordinarily interesting story about Stalin by Jacques [Castelo] will be printed beginning 12 November. This is a fascinating and unvarnished document about the life of the leader of the USSR. A revelation of the secret of his power”.


The latest trash of Delbars in Paris-Presse is entitled: “The Ruler of the USSR, remaining outside the Party discord, preserves full freedom of action”. Delbars writes: “The retirement of Stalin, which we have already reported, is already being put into effect. This first stage to retirement was already notable for a striking absence. Stalin not only did not make his traditional speech on 6 November, but he was even absent at the military parade on Red Square on 7 November. Accounting for his retreat from daily affairs of management, we pointed out that the matter is far from being a reduction of his prestige or of his moral authority. Just the opposite. Entrusting the concern to make everyday decisions to his colleagues, Marshal Stalin remains aside from the struggle, conserves his strength against an event of exceptional importance, and at the same time takes care of his undermined physical strength in order to have the ability to follow the stability of the regime further. Thus, the timeliness of the moment for the accomplishment of this retirement (absence) was dictated by two considerations. One is a consideration about Stalin’s health, the other depends on tactical motives. Until the last moment the Kursk Station in Moscow was ready to receive Stalin’s special train, who after his air trip during the Stalingrad battle went only by rail. It was these preparations conducted over several days that were the source of the telegram sent by an overly-impatient agency describing his arrival. In reality, as is now apparent, the leaders of the Kremlin knew that their leader was not coming to Moscow. According the latest reports the consensus of doctors convened in Sochi on 2 November advised against leaving and recommended that Stalin avoid any fatigue and especially the tension associated with public statements. Only one possibility remained: Stalin would address the people of the USSR by radio without appearing before the public, but here appeared considerations of a political nature. Only on 6 November at its morning meeting did the Politburo adopt a decision to advise Stalin to decline giving a radio speech. This decision was evidently dictated primarily (ellipsis) in the current international situation, in particular in Far East matters, where the USSR has not agreed to take part in the Control Commission headed by General MacArthur. Thus Stalin would not express himself about an unclear situation and his words and statement would be reserved for a more appropriate moment. Speaking instead of Stalin, Molotov made an official report of the Chairman of the Council (ellipsis) inasmuch as besides the foreign policy questions associated with his functions he also dealt with domestic questions.


[Translator’s note: the following paragraph was highlighted in the left margin in red ink] The next day, dedicating Stalin’s leaving another sector of executive authority, Marshal Vasilevsky, also a Politburo member, signed an order about the Red Army as the new Commander-in-Chief instead of Stalin.


Unburdening himself from all secondary questions and remaining apart from Party disputes, Stalin preserves full freedom of action until the results of the meeting of Truman and Attlee brings clarity to international prospects, and he conserves his health as well as his strength considering possible participation in a new tripartite conference which would occur in London. Meanwhile a new group is forming which is called upon to exercise power in the USSR”.


The newspaper Paris-Matin is publishing a series of reports under the general headline, “The secret of Stalin could be explained by differences in the Politburo”. “The newspaper writes that differences in the Politburo arose on foreign policy questions: an ‘irreconcilable’ faction has been formed in the Politburo which has arisen against compromise with America in spite of the fact that in his 1 November speech Byrnes ‘extended a hand to the Russians’”. In his 6 November speech Molotov, the newspaper writes further, Molotov displayed intransigence on the Far East question. Of which directives is Molotov the executor?, asks the newspaper: “If this is not a directive of Stalin’s, then it cannot be anything other than a directive of the Politburo or some faction of the Politburo. On the other hand, we are informed that during a conference of “the five” Molotov again supposedly received his intransigent instructions not from Stalin, but from the Politburo. Indeed, it is completely understandable that the Politburo, which is properly the center of Communist orthodoxy, opposed the overly-open entry of the USSR into international politics. Stalin’s silence in such an event would mean that the ideologues have censured the “realists”, only if the ideologues are not realists who want to take the place of the others. Located between the “leftists” clan, impatiently demanding revolutionary action in Europe, and the “rightist” clan, concerned about strengthening the national position of Russia, Stalin, temporarily taking a back seat, can wait until the international climate clarifies in some direction and the domestic situation of the USSR needs [someone] to take the helm”.


The same newspaper publishes the following telegram of Robert [Willer], its Washington correspondent: “In American they think that Stalin’s health is not connected with his decision not to appear during the Russian Revolution celebrations. His health is excellent, but the fact that he gave the big annual report to Molotov means that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is the person with whom [everyone] needs to talk in all international discussions. While hiding, Stalin wanted to decisively show that Molotov is the supervisor of Soviet diplomacy”.


The newspaper L’Aube writes that “the absent Stalin remains the arbiter”: “even if you assume the existence of an internal crisis, as the Daily Express reports about this. It is not excluded that he has extended his stay in Sochi, as the Daily Express reports about this. However, be that as it may, it is Molotov who received in the evening on the occasion of the traditional reception of representatives of the diplomatic corps organized in connection with the revolutionary holidays and it was Molotov and General Antonov who took the places on the tribune usually devoted to the Generalissimo during grandiose ceremonies in Red Square”.




TEHERAN, 6 November (TASS). The Seid newspaper “Sedaye Iran” printed a vile libel against Cdr. Stalin on 5 November.


What did Stalin do, asked this newspaper. The leader of Russian was an interpreter in Paris in one of the stores in L’Etoile Square. He knew some English and German and knew Russian well. [Translator’s note: the next two sentences are highlighted the left margin]. They sent him especially to talk with members of the Tsar’s family, which arrived in Paris to shop (just in the beginning of this century). All those who came were satisfied with this interpreter, and asked him the addresses of restaurants and other places. He gave them the addresses of restaurants, cabarets, and the late-night bars of the Montmartre. The majority of these clients were aristocrats and representatives of the elite. Twenty years after the period we describe they were expelled from Russia by people among whom was the interpreter himself, and they played the balalaika in the hotels and restaurants of Paris. The interpreter usually bowed to some of them and got a tip. The young leader was often seen reading a book of Karl Marx and arguing about his theory with his comrades. His comrades said that Bruchev (this was Stalin’s name then) was simply a nihilist. Nihilists, the paper then writes, appeared in Russia in the 19th century and they committed acts of terrorism against people whom they considered enemies of their country. They killed Alexander II. Bruchev was the son of one Russian landlord of a teahouse. Back in [his] youth he held to the opinion that the existing system should be turned upside down not only in Russia, but also in the entire world. He took part in an attempt on the governor of Tomsk during which his arm was injured as a result of a bomb explosion. He was expelled from Russia and came to Paris, where he got to know Lenin and Trotsky, who were living in extreme poverty. His work as an interpreter in one of the hotels was very reliable. Missing [his] homeland, he came to Kiev and his name has been Stalin since that time. In Russia he began as an instructor of French in one of the secondary schools, but sometimes he reminisced about the beautiful cabarets of Paris and thought about revolution. After some time he went to Paris again and took a small room in one of the hotels which was considered a bath in the hotel and cost very little. There was no chair in the room, and he used a bicycle to sit which he was given by the owner of the hotel. He had nothing to shave with, and when he was asked why he didn’t shave he angrily replied that he didn’t have a razor, soap, and eau de cologne which aristocrats and wealthy men could easily obtain. Hearing this, the owner shook with rage. After some time he left the hotel, which made the owner inwardly glad. Twenty years later he heard that his impoverished client had become the absolute ruler of Russia. Now, when the discussion turns to diamonds, pearls, flowers, and beautiful women, Stalin says, “I don’t love these things now, for earlier I found out the taste of all this in Paris”.


One ought to remember that a year ago this same newspaper printed the same vile slander against Cde. Kalinin.





LONDON, 11 November. As the Reuters agency reports, in an article under the headline, “The Riddle of Stalin”. the diplomatic columnist of the newspaper “Sunday Times” writes: “The Current Eclipse” of Generalissimo Stalin “has its political background”. According to the assertion of the columnist, it is quite likely that Stalin is again seeking a comparatively unnoticed post he held before the war moved him to the forefront. “He intentionally preferred to remain in the background of the political machine, exercising the supreme power of the General Secretary of the Communist Party”.


There are also “some indications of a slight split and possible competition in the Presidium which has possibly forced Stalin to consult with himself in his solitude”. Then the columnist recounts the unexpected sharp changes of the front by Molotov at the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the change of Soviet policy with respect to the Far East Consultative Commission, the Soviet policy with respect to the conference on questions of agriculture, and the conference on education questions in London, naming them “remarkable vacillations”.


If there is any basis for the reports that Stalin might retire from the post of chairman of the Presidium, then the names of Molotov and General Zhdanov (the head of the Allied Control Commission in Finland) “have good chances in the struggle for this post, so it is though”.




STOCKHOLM, 9 November (TASS). All today’s newspapers are publishing a telegram from Moscow by a French correspondent under big headlines in prominent places that Stalin’s health has supposedly suddenly worsened and he is in a hospital in Gagry.




ROME, 9 November (TASS). Newspapers published on the evening of 8 November are reproducing a report of the International News Service that Cde. Stalin is on his way to Washington. On the morning of 9 November many newspapers, referring to a French source, are reviving the exaggeration of rumors about an illness of Cde. Stalin, in particular about a “serious heart attack” which has supposedly occurred.


Seven copies printed


1 – to Cde. I. V. Stalin Outgoing Nº 532ss

2 – to Cde. V. M. Molotov 12 November 1945

3 – to Cde. A. I. Mikoyan M. Nº 434

4 – to Cde. L. P. Beria  zp

5 – to Cde. G. M. Malenkov

6 – to Cde. A. Ya. Vyshinsky

7 – to file

[handwritten: PR]


TASS reports on foreign news stories it views as slanderous to Joseph Stalin.

Document Information


RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 98, ll. 0124-0131.Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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