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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States. Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945

III. The Yalta Conference,   pp. [547]-996 PDF (155.3 MB)

Page 574

Bohlen Collection
                         Bohien Minutes
Subject: The Military Situation.
  MARSHAL STALIN said he hoped the President would again consent
to opening the meeting.
  THE PRESIDENT replied that his opening of this meeting, as had
been the case in Tehran, was not based on any law or historic tradi-
tion but merely by chance. He said that he was honored to open
this great Conference and he wished first of all to express on behalf
of the American guests here their deep appreciation for the hospi-
tality and splendid arrangements made by Marshal Stalin and his
assistants for their comfort and convenience. He said that he knew
that all the people he represented wished peace above all and the war
to be over as soon as possible. He said that he felt that we under-
stood each other much better now than we had in the past and that
month by month our understanding was growing. For this reason,
he felt safe in proposing that the talks be conducted in an informal
manner in which each would speak his mind frankly and freely,
since he had discovered through experience that the best way to
conduct business expeditiously was through frank and free speaking.
He said he knew that while they were here in Yalta they would cover
the map of the world, but today he thought that military questions,
particularly those on the most important front of all, the Eastern
Front, should be the subject of discussion. He said he wished to
add that when the Red Armies advanced into Germany 25 kilometers,
it was doubtful whether the Soviet people were more thrilled than
those of the United States and those of Great Britain. Here, he
thought, it would be most appropriate if the Marshal would ask one
of his staff officers to give a detailed report on the Eastern Front.
  GENERAL ANTONOV then read a prepared paper, giving in great
detail the background development of the Soviet offensive of early
January, the estimate of enemy probabilities and the results of the
offensive. He concluded with the statement of Soviet desires with
regard to the actions of their Allies. (A copy in translation of Gen-
eral Antonov's report is attached hereto.')
  In regard to the part of the Soviet report where General Antonov
referred to the number of divisions which were being moved to the
East, the PRIME MINISTER asked if he could go into more detail as to
where they were coming from.
  GENERAL ANTONOV stated that they anticipated that there would
be five German divisions from Norway, twelve from the Western
1 For the text of General Antonov's statement, see the Combined Chiefs of
Staff minutes of this meeting, post, pp. 581-583.

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