Winston S. Churchill: Triumph and Tragedy:
Prime Minister to Marshal Stalin 11 July 44
Some weeks ago it was suggested by Eden to your Ambassador that the Soviet Government should take the lead in Roumania, and the British should do the same in Greece. This was only a working arrangement to avoid as much as possible the awful business of triangular telegrams, which paralyses action. Molotov then suggested very properly that I should tell the United States, which I did, and always meant to, and after some discussion the President agreed to a three months’ trial being made. These may be three very important months, Marshal Stalin, July, August, and September. Now however I see that you find some difficulty in this. I would ask whether you should not tell us that the plan may be allowed to have its chance for three months.
No one can say it affects the future of Europe or divides it into spheres; but we can get a clear-headed policy in each theatre, and we will all report to the others what we are doing. However, if you tell me it is hopeless I shall not take it amiss.
There is another matter I should like to put to you. Turkey is willing to break relations immediately with the Axis Powers. I agree with you that she ought to declare war, but I fear that if we tell her to do so she will defend herself by asking both for aircraft to protect her towns, which we shall find it hard to spare or put there at the present moment, and also for joint military operations in Bulgaria and the Ægean, for which we have not at present the means. And in addition to all this she will demand once again all sorts of munitions, which we cannot spare because the stocks we had ready for her at the beginning of the year have been drawn off in other directions.
It seems to me therefore wiser to take this breaking off relations with Germany as a first instalment. We can then push a few things in to help her against a vengeance attack from the air, and out of this, while we are together, her entry into the war might come. The Turkish alliance in the last war was very dear to the Germans, and the fact that Turkey had broken off relations would be a knell to the German soul. This seems to be a pretty good time to strike such a knell.
I am only putting to you my personal thoughts on these matters, which are also being transmitted by Eden to M. Molotov.
We have about a million and fifty thousand men in Normandy, with a vast mass of equipment, and rising by 25,000 a day. The fighting is very hard, and before the recent battles, for which casualties have not yet come in, we and the Americans had lost 64,000 men. However, there is every evidence that the enemy has lost at least as many, and we have besides 51,000 prisoners in the bag. Considering that we have been on the offensive and had the landing from the sea to manage, I consider that the enemy has been severely mauled. The front will continue to broaden and the fighting will be unceasing.
Alexander is pushing very hard in Italy also. He hopes to force the Pisa–Rimini line and break into the Po valley. This will either draw further German divisions on to him or yield up valuable strategic ground.
The Londoners are standing up well to the bombing, which has amounted to 22,000 casualties so far and looks like becoming chronic.
Once more, congratulations on your glorious advance to Vilna.