May 2, 2017

1943. Joseph Davies Concludes His Moscow Mission

Stalin Responds to President Roosevelt's Letter
Joseph E. Davies shakes hands with Joseph Stalin, with Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov on the right, 1943 (source)
(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 27, 1943

Former ambassador Joseph Davies has received Joseph Stalin's answer to President Roosevelt's personal letter to Russia's commander-in-chief. Mr. Stalin's answer is also in the form of a letter—a sealed letter which President Roosevelt's special envoy will carry back to Washington.

Mr. Davies went to the Kremlin last night, where Stalin handed him the answer. The former ambassador said this morning: "I will make no comment either directly or by inference as to what the letter contains. Its contents are exclusively for our commander-in-chief, the President of the United States."

Mr. Davies said he would leave "immediately" for America. The Davies mission hit Moscow like a small whirlwind. It was exactly a week ago tonight that the former ambassador went to the Kremlin and delivered Mr. Roosevelt's letter to Stalin. At that time, Stalin said he would take the points raised in the President's letter under consideration and advise Mr. Davies later.

While Mr. Davies has been waiting for the answer, the Soviet government really rolled out the red carpet and gave the ambassador's mission a good time. There was a banquet in his honor at the Kremlin; there were luncheons and private dinners with Russian governmental and military leaders; members of the crew which flew the Army's big DC-4 over here have done the town in the best tourist fashion—and the Russians love it.

You could spot a member of the Davies mission at any ballet or theater that happens to be playing.

In his statement this morning, Mr. Davies said: "Nothing could have been more fine or kind than the generous treatment I have received from my old friends in the Soviet government."

This morning's newspapers print large front-page propaganda photos of Mr. Davies saying goodbye to Mr. Stalin and Mr. Molotov. Both men are smiling and beaming.

We don't know what the President of the United States is discussing with the Premier of the Soviet Union, but whatever the problems or issues under consideration, we have indication on this end of the line that Mr. Roosevelt's letter received a prompt and friendly answer.

The reception of the Davies mission and the facilities awarded it during its brief stay in Russia demonstrate a new high in friendliness and cooperation accorded to the allies of the Soviet Union.