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Stalin- Transcripts from Soviet Archives
Record of the conversation of Stalin with Lord W. Beaverbrook and A. Garriman ‐ 1941
Record of the conversation of the chairman of the council of peopleʹs commissars of the USSR Stalin with the heads of the delegations of the Great Britain Lord W. Beaverbrook and the USA, A. Garriman at the
Moscow conference of the representatives of three ʺ September 29, 1941 highly secret
Beaverbrook: I will allow myself to submit for your consideration the invitation to speak at the conference on Thursday to report on progress and to celebrate the role of the united states of America. Such a performance would create an atmosphere of triumph, strengthen the common front and make a strong impression on England, the USA and even France. I am trying to get the best out of the meeting for the benefit of all three countries.
Stalin: I do not see the need for this. Plus, I’m very busy. I donʹt even have time to sleep. I think that comrade Molotovʹs speech will be quite sufficient.
On Beaverbrook’s proposal to bring the conference delegates to the kremlin, comrade Stalin again points to his busyness. Beaverbrook states that he will return to this issue.
Beaverbrook: with Americaʹs help, we can deliver 500 tanks, of which no more than 50% are light tanks and the rest are heavy.
Stalin: what is the weight of the light tanks and the caliber of the guns? Beaverbrook: 7‐8 and 13 tons, and caliber ‐ from 37 to 40 mm.
Stalin: we agree if small tanks are no less than 7 tons and guns are no less than 37 mm. But is it possible to increase the number?
Beaverbrook: now we are talking about procurement over the next 8 months. Then we can give more. In our proposal we have reached the limit of possibilities. Of course, it will be necessary to keep the Arkhangelsk port open.
Harriman: where would you like the American tanks to be sent ‐ to Arkhangelsk, Vladivostok or via Iran? This issue, of course, can be resolved in the commission, if we cannot make a decision now.
Stalin: to Arkhangelsk, closer to the front.
Beaverbrook: there are very few cranes there, to my knowledge.
Stalin: the number of cranes can be increased.
Beaverbrook: letʹs move on to aviation now. We will be sending out 200 fighters per month from the UK for 8 months and more thereafter. If we do not agree to make any changes to the types of fighters, we intend to send hurri‐cannons, spitfires or other types. Weʹll have to send them by sea to Arkhangelsk (it is impossible to send them by air), of course, disassembled.
Stalin: canʹt Lord Beaverbrook say what the weight of the hurricanes and spitfires is.
Beaverbrook: I canʹt say now.
Stalin: what motors?
Beaverbrook: 800 horsepower Merlin, Rolls Royce motors. These fighters saved the UK.
Stalin: as far as I know from the literature, the power should be 1000 horsepower.
Beaverbrook: quite possibly. Tomorrow I can tell you more precisely.
Stalin: will the oil (other necessary items) be supplied with weapons?
Beaverbrook: yes, guns and ammunition.
Stalin: it is advisable to have ammunition for each aircraft for 20 sorties. ʺtomahawksʺ had ammunition only for 4‐5 sorties, which our pilots consider very insufficient.
Beaverbrook: we sent ammunition for the tomahawks from England for 1,100,000 rounds, 3,150,000 were sent from America. On October 10, 500,000 will arrive, of which 200,000 are armor‐piercing and 100,000 are tracer. I think that this will be enough for now, and if not, we will send it. We are not interested in keeping planes inactive.
Stalin: our planes take with them 600 rounds for small‐caliber machine guns, 300 for large‐caliber machine guns and 150 for 20‐mm cannons. These numbers must be multiplied by 20. The plane lives with us for a month and five days, which is equivalent to 20 sorties. If you do not have the specified amount of ammunition, the aircraft may remain inactive for some time.
Beaverbrook: this calculation is correct if on each departure the plane will use up all the taken supplies each time. In any case, we are interested in the maximum benefit from the aircraft, and we will take care of the sufficient supply of ammunition to the fighters.
Harriman: I am surprised by the numbers given.
Stalin: our machine gun fires 2400 rounds per minute, the large‐caliber one ‐ 1100‐1200, the 20‐mm cannon ‐ 800, and the 23‐mm ‐ 580. Each plane takes 500‐600. This is 15 sec.
Beaverbrook: thatʹs right. I will share with you the results of the British experience in this regard.
Stalin: we donʹt take tracer bullets. Experience has shown them to be useless. We need incendiary bullets.
Beaverbrook: incendiary can also be sent. Do you need armorpiercing?
Stalin: yes, we do. Is it not possible to receive planes of the same type: either the hurricanes or the spitfires, so that it would be easier for our pilots to master?
Beaverbrook: I understood you yesterday in the sense that you want to have spitfires as well, and I telegraphed an order today, which I can of course cancel?
Stalin: I said yesterday that we would prefer to have only spitfires. If it is not possible, then we are ready to take only ʺhurricanesʺ.
They say that there are three‐ton machine‐gun tankettes. Could you supply us with them?
Beaverbrook: weʹll get to that point a little more.
I persuaded Harriman to send 1,800 aircraft from the united states within 9 months, of which about 100 will be sent in October, 150 in November, 200 in December, 200 in January, and the remainder over the next 5 months. Agreement between Great Britain and the united states. Half of each monthly dispatch will be bombers. Fighters will be of the tomahawk type in small numbers, and the rest of the Katigavk type. This is an improved tomahawk type, and pilots familiar with this type will not have to re‐master the Katigavk. According to your wishes, the radius will be from 600 to 700 kilometers, and the bombs will be one ton on average, some will be larger, others smaller.
Beaverbrook: all twin‐engine. Some of this number will be sent from England.
Stalin: yesterday we expressed a desire to receive more bombers than fighters, namely, in a proportion of 75‐25%.
Beaverbrook (throwing up his hands): itʹs absolutely impossible.
Stalin: we have a special type of Sturmovik bomber. It has armor of 57 mm, and in some places even 13 mm. He hits tank columns and manpower. Armed with cannons and bombs. The motor is not highaltitude, it flies at an altitude of 50‐150 meters. Foggy weather doesnʹt matter to him if the fogs are not very low. It has a great effect in combat. It has 23 mm guns, but soon we will put 37 mm guns. The speed at the ground is 380‐400 kilometers. Russian motor, m‐38. Single engine. The team consists of one person. Power 1250 horsepower. The Germans really donʹt like him. Your military saw him.
Beaverbrook: it would be interesting to see it.
We can give other things as well: field guns, heavy Bren‐class aircraft. I would like to discuss each subject one by one and come to definite solutions here. We intend to come again in 8‐9 months with a supply proposal on a larger scale. After we come to certain decisions here, the rest of the items can be transferred to the supply committees in London and Washington. If this plan is approved, then I will start listing further types of supplies.
Do you need 25‐pound cannons?
Stalin: we can do without them. Canʹt you get anti‐aircraft guns?
Beaverbrook: we donʹt have them.
Harriman: unfortunately, we are very lagging behind in the production of anti‐aircraft guns, we have 90mm zeits, which we are just starting to produce. We value them very much, but I am authorized to offer 152 guns from them within 9 months, and u1‐mm ‐ 756 within 6 months. These are the only two types that we produce, about 150 per month.
Beaverbrook: anti‐aircraft guns donʹt shoot down planes. That is why we prefer fighters.
Stalin: during massive air raids, anti‐aircraft guns frighten, do not allow hitting the target and make them throw bombs in disorder.
Beaverbrook: from the anti‐tank guns, we could get some 2‐pounders with armor‐piercing rounds. We now only make armor‐piercing guns. Within the next 9 months we will be able to deliver 2750. They penetrate 50 mm armor. They are all on trailers.
We can provide machine guns with a caliber of over 6.72 mm used in tomahawks. The magazine contains 97 and 37 rounds.
We can offer three‐inch mortars used in the infantry. They shoot 1,500 yards.
Stalin: no, they will not be needed. We are replacing them with mortars.
Beaverbrook: it has anti‐tank mines that we can give you 60 thousand a month.
Stalin: yes, we do.
Beaverbrook: hand grenades?
Stalin: we have.
Beaverbrook: we can give you some anti‐tank rifles, and later we can give more. I can tell you the caliber tomorrow.
Stalin: yes, good.
Beaverbrook: do you need wedges for a team of 2‐3 people?
Stalin: yes, we do.
Beaverbrook: there are Thomson‐type stenautomatic rifles, 8‐9 rounds in the magazine.
Stalin: no, they are not needed. We have a 10‐round magazine.
Beaverbrook: you ordered them, and weʹve already sent 20 thousand.
Stalin: no, we donʹt need it.
Harriman: we have small four‐wheeled vehicles built specifically for the army, especially for communications, like the jeep. We have 5 thousand of them.
Stalin: okay, letʹs take it.
Beaverbrook: I’ll ask if we can give them a lot.
Stalin: what about barbed wire?
Harriman: you can.
Stalin: how much? Harriman: I’ll have to ask.
The conversation ended there, and the continuation is scheduled for
6:00. The evening of the next day.
Publ .: Soviet‐English relations ... ‐ t. 1. ‐ s. 132‐136.