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Telegram to League of Nations Secretary Avenol

Mr. Secretary,
The USSR, with which Finland has maintained good-neighborly relations since the signing of the peace treaty in Tartu in 1920, and with which Finland has signed a non-aggression pact, the validity of which expires only in 1945, suddenly on the morning of Nov. 30 of this year, attacked not only frontier positions, but also open Finnish cities, spreading death and devastation among the civilian population, particularly by attacks from the air.

Finland has never taken any measures against her powerful neighbor. She invariably has expended the greatest efforts in order to live at peace with the USSR. Nevertheless, basing itself on the alleged refusal of Finland to agree on the question of the so-called border incidents, and accusing Finland of allegedly refusing to agree to the strengthening of the security of Leningrad, the USSR first denounced the above-mentioned non-aggression pact, and then rejected the proposal of the Government of Finland to resort to mediation by some neutral power.

On instructions from my Government I have the honor of informing you of the above-mentioned facts, with the request to have the kindness to convene the Council and the Assembly immediately, as provided by Articles 11 and 15 of the Covenant, and to request them to take all necessary measures to stop aggression, I shall not fail to furnish you with a complete statement of the reasons and circumstances which compelled my Government to request the League of Nations to intervene in the conflict which has led to a clash between two of its members.


Rudolf Holsti
December 3, 1939

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