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The United States-Soviet Union rapprochement after the outbreak of the Ger- man-Soviet war

The greatest problem for America's diplomacy during the period from the latter part of June to July 1941 was how to handle her relations with the Soviet Union. The military authorities such as Secretary of the Army Henry Stimson and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox 14 underestimated the Soviet Union's powers of resistance immediately after the outbreak of the German-Soviet war. They believed that the Soviet Union would fall in two or three months at the longest. 13

In addition, Catholics, isolationists and anti-communists were strongly op- posed to aiding the Soviet Union.15 Under such circumstances, the President was very circumspect in determining America's policy toward the Soviet Union.

On July 9, the President told Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles, that "he wanted substantial aid sent to the U.S.S.R. before October 1".16 On July 10, the President invited the then Soviet Ambassador in the United States Con- stantin Oumansky to the White House and had a discussion of major importance from the viewpoint of United States-Soviet rapprochement with the ambassador when the former explained America's fundamental aid policy for the Soviet Un- ion. l7

The main points of the talk were that America would quickly supply the Soviet Union with necessary materials, that the repulsing of Germany would succeed if the Soviet Union held out till October 1, and that she would decide on all matters concerning aid to the Soviet Union after consulting with Britain.

It has been known through past research that this conference took place. I should like to attach importance to the conference as having an epoch-making significance in the history of United States-Soviet relations.

For, although diplomatic relations between the United States and the So- viet Union had been restored since the Roosevelt Administration recognized the Soviet Union on November 16, 1933, United States-Soviet relations, with their ideological differences, could not be said to be friendly. America especially, had continued to entertain a strong feeling of distrust toward the Soviet Union, be- cause the latter had concluded a non-aggression pact with Germany and invaded Finland.

In short, we should pay particular attention to the fact that the President took the step of inviting Ambassador Oumansky representing the Soviet Union to the White House and that at the ensuing conference he expressed his intention to the Soviet Union.

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