Cablegram D947 LONDON, 29 June 1944, 7 p.m.
Following recent constitutional changes in the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, Commissars for Foreign Affairs have been
appointed for the Ukrainian, Byelo-Russian and other constituent
Republics of the Soviet Union.
2. The United Kingdom Ambassador, at Moscow, thinks it possible
that we may at some stage be faced with a definite request from
the Soviet Government to appoint a separate representative to the
Ukraine, and we have accordingly been considering what should be
our attitude in that event.
3. It may be that the Soviet Government may seek to draw a
parallel between the new position in foreign affairs of the
constituent Soviet Republics and the position of the Dominions. It
has, of course, already been explained in the memorandum handed to
the Soviet Charge d'Affaires in London , of which a copy was
enclosed in my circular Despatch D.No. 79 of the 3rd September,
1943 , that there is no such resemblance. If an analogy to the
position of the Union Republics is to be sought, it is to be found
not in the British Commonwealth, but in the German Reich as it
existed between 1870 and 1918, where some of the constituent
states were allowed to exercise a certain limited control in
foreign affairs and in army matters, and for that purpose received
and appointed diplomatic representatives.
4. We feel, however, that it would be difficult indefinitely to
withhold recognition of the International status of the 16
constituent Republics. If the U.S.S.R. is determined on this
development of its International position, it would probably be
impossible to pursuade all the United Nations to stand firm in
refusing recognition, and once one country accorded recognition
the others would follow and our position, if we stood out, would
cause great resentment in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
5. At the same time, we see no advantage in hastening such
recognition. Moreover, there would be difficulties in regard to
the immediate establishment of separate United Kingdom
representatives in the Ukraine for three reasons:-
(a) We might find ourselves being represented as having recognised
the Ukrainian Republic's claim to parts of Eastern Poland. Since
the claimed territory would be only a small proportion of the
total territory of the Republic, such a contention would not be
good in law. Nevertheless, the situation might be embarrassing.
(b) If we established separate representatives in the Ukraine, the
Soviet Government might apply pressure publicly to induce us to do
the same for the Byelo-Russian Republic which claims parts of
Eastern Poland, amounting to approximately as much territory as
the whole pre-1939 extent of the Republic.
(c) The Baltic States Republics might put in similar requests for
representatives, when freed from the Germans, which if granted
would involve recognition of incorporation of the Baltic States in
the Soviet Union.
6. In all the circumstances, we suggest that it should be our aim
to try to postpone the question of recognition of the 16
constituent Republics until the peace settlement. We should,
however, be grateful to learn the views of the Dominion
Governments on the matter.
7. If the Dominion Governments agree with the line proposed above,
we would suggest that all the British Commonwealth Governments
should keep each other informed of any Russian move bearing on
this matter. We should also propose to inform the United States
Government and ask them to keep in contact with us on the subject.
We would also suggest that the various representatives in Moscow
should be instructed to exchange information on it.
8. We should be grateful for the comments of the Dominion
Governments as soon as convenient.