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Stalin- Transcripts from Soviet Archives
Conversation of Stalin with Cripps ‐ 1940
From: conversation of the general secretary Stalin with the ambassador of Great Britain in the USSR Cripps in the Kremlin
/ July 1940 top secret
Comrade Stalin turns to the question of Turkey.
What about Turkey? We have good relations with the Turks, but they, the Turks, play so much in politics and play so many unexpected tricks that it is difficult to guess what they want.
With regard to the aspirations of Italy and Germany to the middle east, comrade Stalin considers such aspirations not excluded, but here a lot depends on the position of Turkey which jumps and where she will make it, is very difficult to guess.
Cripps replies that, of course, the Turks will jump if there is a danger to Istanbul or to further revise the status quo on the Bosporus or the Black Sea. If there is an opportunity for England to do something in the direction of resolving this issue, then England will gladly do everything possible.
Comrade Stalin turns to the question of the Balkans.
Comrade Stalin says that this question must be studied. I think, says comrade. Stalin, that it makes no sense for Germany to withdraw troops from the western front and transfer them to the Balkans. There is a lot of talk in Romania that because of the war in the Mediterranean, the Romanians have nowhere to send their oil. Romanians will sell oil to Germany and Italy. Therefore, there is hardly any reason to divert forces to the Balkans.
As for Turkey, Istanbul and the straits. What kind of danger could be for Turkey in this matter? Maybe this is a fictional danger of Turkey, on which the latter is going to play and throw out a new focus. If we talk not about imaginary, but about real dangers, then the speech of comrade Molotov must calm down the Turks. We have good relations with them insofar as we are not going to attack each other. With regard to the recent negotiations, it must be said frankly that we did not come to an agreement with the Turks and we parted, dissatisfied with each other.
During his last visit, says comrade Stalin, Saracoglu did not even want to talk about the straits, and I think that our relations need to be improved. If the UK intends to make an effort to improve relations, then we will not object.
S. A. Lozovsky
Avp rf, f. 0144, on. 20, p. 105, d. 3, l. 1‐3.
Selected Secret Documents from Soviet Foreign Policy Documents Archives ‐ 1919 to 1941 , Svitlana M, Erdogan A