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Reply of Soviet Government to telegram of League of Nations Secretary-General Avenol

On instruction of the Government of the Soviet Union, I have the honor of informing you that the proposed summoning of the Council of the League of Nations by you, on December 9, and of the Assembly of the League of Nations on December 11, on the initiative of Mr. Rudolf Holsti and on the basis of Article 11, Paragraph 1, of the Covenant of the League of Nations, is regarded by my Government as being groundless.

The Soviet Union is not in a state of war with Finland and does not threaten the people of Finland with war. Therefore, the reference to Article 11, Paragraph 1, of the Covenant of the League of Nations is incorrect. The Soviet Union maintains peaceful relations with the Democratic Republic of Finland, with whose Government on December 2 of this year a treaty on mutual assistance and friendship was concluded. Through this treaty, all questions on which negotiations were unsuccessfully conducted with the delegates of the former government of Finland, which has now resigned its authority, have been regulated.

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Finland in its declaration of December 1 of this year, addressed to the Government of the USSR a proposal to give the Democratic Republic of Finland the support of its military forces for the purpose of eliminating as rapidly as possible, by joint efforts, the extremely dangerous hotbed of war created in Finland by its former rulers. Under these circumstances, the appeal of Mr. Rudolf Holsti to the League of Nations cannot be regarded as a justification for convening the Council of the League and the Assembly, the more so, since the persons, on behalf of whom Mr. Rudolf Holsti appeals to the League, are not the genuine representatives of the Finnish people.

In the event that, notwithstanding the above-mentioned considerations, the Council of the League and the Assembly were nonetheless to be convened to consider the appeal of Mr. Rudolf Holsti, the Soviet Government would not find it possible to take part in these meetings. This decision is reinforced by the circumstance that the communication of the Secretary-General of the League of Nations on the convening of the Council and the Assembly, repeating the text of the insulting and slanderous letter of Mr. Holsti, is obviously incompatible with the respect due the Soviet Union.


V.Molotov
December 4, 1939

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