A New Reading of Stafford Cripps’s Memorandum of 22 October 1940
Keywords:Stafford Cripps, Anglo-Soviet relations, Second World War, Poland, Baltic States, annexation
This article significantly modifies and broadens the earlier version of the author’s article published in the journal Dzieje Najnowsze in 1993. It elaborates on a British proposal for the Soviet government to balance bilateral relations at the time when the Soviet Union had already reached an agreement with the Third Reich. In order to weaken this agreement, the Government of Great Britain offered beneficial opportunities for the USSR, especially regarding the post-war settlement and countries of Eastern and Central Europe. In the new agreement, special attention had to be paid to Poland as well as to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and, finally, Romania. The author of the proposals was Sir Stafford Cripps, Great Britain’s Ambassador to Moscow. In London, it was approved by the War Cabinet, and the British Ambassador was obliged by the Foreign Secretary to present it to the Soviet Government. The article analyses the course of the preparation and discussion of the document as well as the reaction of the Polish government in exile to British actions in achieving an agreement with Moscow. The memorandum, presented by Cripps to the Deputy People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs Andrey Vyshinsky on 22 October 1940, remains an element of Great Britain’s foreign policy towards the Soviet Union and, therefore, the article’s author assumes that it ought to be more often referred to when investigating and explaining the genesis of the Anglo–Soviet Treaty of 26 May 1942. It has also to be taken account of when studying the fate of countries and nations of Eastern and Central Europe after the Second World War. (The article has been prepared at the request of the Editorial Board of the journal Relevant Tomorrow.)
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