Russia hopes the Dumbarton Oaks Conference will ensure peace.
Moscow, August 22, by Cable
“Let there be hunger. Let there be cold. Let us freeze and starve to death in our homes. Only let there be no more war.”
In these words my Moscow sister-in-law expressed the passionate wish for a stable peace that animates every Soviet citizen I have seen since my arrival six weeks ago. Her last two brothers had just left for the front. Three others are already dead, two in battle, one from overwork. Her father died from the exhaustion and strain of evacuation from the occupied area. Eight other close relatives, women and children, were murdered by the Nazis in the Ukraine.
Her husband — editor of a factory newspaper whose task is whipping up war production — was equally likely to become a casualty. He had returned from the factory at seven o’clock that Sunday morning after working all night and had dropped into bed telling his wife to call him at ten-thirty so he could return to work. Eighteen or twenty hours of responsible work daily for three years without Sunday rest or vacation had not only destroyed their home life but had reduced him physically to a nervous shadow.
Their case is quite typical. The war here has spared no one. Americans will never understand the strain endured by the Soviet people. Similarly the Soviet people cannot understand how a country engaged in war can spare the energy for election discussions. The American elections therefore somewhat disquiet people here, not because they doubt America’s participation in the war to the finish but because a military victory is only half a victory. The other half is the establishment of a sound, enduring peace. Everyone knows this depends on the closest friendship with America and Britain. After three years of growing friendship and joint action with America, people here naturally dread the possible shifting of post-war policies which the American system so casually permits.
Soviet post-war policy is absolutely clear in its basic principles. It was expressed last October in the three-power declaration of the Moscow conference, recognizing the necessity of an international organization for peace and security on the basis of the equal sovereignty of peace-loving nations both large and small. No Soviet official has made any change in or addition to that declaration. All await a more concrete formulation of this basic principle by the joint conference at Dumbarton Oaks. Dewey’s statement, making Dumbarton Oaks the center of an inter-party discussion, therefore seems here like playing politics with the destinies of the world.
No “Soviet plan” for Dumbarton Oaks has been published in Moscow. The first Russian assumption is that the underlying principle is Anglo-Soviet-American cooperation, which is more important than anything else. The second assumption is that the exact form of international organization is a matter for experts in international affairs. The third assumption is that all decisions must be reached jointly with American and British experts, and if would therefore have been unwise to announce a specifically “Soviet plan” before the conference.