The Pittsburgh Press (August 7, 1943)
Stalin may be invited to meet Roosevelt and Churchill
Washington (UP) –
The Soviet Union’s attitude on overall war strategy and on political reconstruction of Europe today appeared to be among the major factors which must be discussed soon by the United Nations.
London sources are predicting that President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill will be obliged to meet soon to discuss immediate war problems. Some Washington observers believe Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin would be invited to such a meeting. Whether he would accept is another matter.
There is growing belief here – now that Anglo-American armies are within striking distance of Germany’s “inner fortress” – that Soviet attitudes on prosecution of the war to unconditional surrender and on post-war problems must be reckoned with more carefully than heretofore.
Many developments have already raised points that perhaps could be handled more satisfactorily if Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Stalin could get together and thrash them out, man-to-man. Mr. Churchill has visited Moscow and Mr. Roosevelt has often expressed a desire to meet the Soviet Premier.
The German DNB Agency said today under a Stockholm date that Mr. Churchill was already on his way for a conference with Mr. Roosevelt. Diplomatic circles in Stockholm were said to believe that Mr. Stalin would join them. The Soviet Premier has been on a long tour of inspection on the Russian front and Foreign Minister Molotov is acting as chief of state during his absence.
One of the major jobs confronting Anglo-American leaders is the outlining of strategy – political as well as military – that will prevent future situations where their military forces may be endangered by political tumult, such as nearly happened in North Africa and which may be the case in Italy.
Officials here recognize that the political problems found in North Arica and in Italy will be magnified many times when Allied forces penetrate the Nazi strongholds of Europe itself, and finally reach Germany.
Despite Mr. Roosevelt’s reassurances, there is much uncertainty here about the Soviet Union’s aims. It goes far beyond the questions of post-war territorial claims, or whether the Red Army will push the Germans back to Berlin or stop when they have recovered the land the Russians claim in Eastern Europe.
President Roosevelt’s last word on Soviet relations was that there was complete accord between the Western Allies and the Russians. In his last fireside chat, he conceded that “the heaviest and most decisive” fighting in this war is going on in Russia, and asserted that the Soviet summer offensive was based on “plans which coordinate with the whole United Nations’ offensive strategy.”
A mere coincidence?
That latter statement could be interpreted to mean that it was a coincidence that the strategy in the East and that in the West coordinated, rather than that it was planned coordination.
Strength was given that interpretation yesterday by Pravda, the Communist Party organ, which sharply criticized the United States and Great Britain for failing to open a “second front.” The newspaper charged that the delay was a violation of pledges given Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov by Mr. Roosevelt a year ago.
Some quarters here believe that the Soviet Union will be satisfied on the second front issue only when the Allies invade Europe by crossing the English Channel into France proper.
Pravda hinted at that by citing the large number of German divisions still engaged on the Russian front compared with the handful that were in North Africa and, according to Pravda, only two German and several Italian divisions in Sicily.
The second front dispute at this time is the most spectacular, but as the military situation improves and final victory approaches, it is likely to be replaced by others.
Already, Soviet pronouncements have caused considerable speculation among smaller European nations. No U.S. officials has expressed public opinion on the matters involved, but other diplomats here have expressed concern over:
The recent creation within the Soviet Union of a “Free Germany” Committee.
Establishment of a Polish group in the Soviet Union which some observers believe might be set up as a Polish government-in-exile to compete with the Polish government in London, with which Moscow has severed diplomatic relations.
The possibility that the Soviet Union may make boundary demands which would be unreconcilable with plans of the other Allies and associated nations.
Most frequently mentioned as possible areas of disputes are the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, eastern Poland and the section known as Bessarabia in Romania.