De Bello

War is a mere continuation of policy by other means
Moscow, 17 September 1939
Second World War
Note of the Soviet Government
to the ambassadors and envoys of the states maintaining diplomatic relations with the USSR.


Moscow, 17 September 1939

Mr. Ambassador,

The Polish-German war has revealed the internal bankruptcy of the Polish state. After ten days of military operations, Poland has lost all its industrial areas and cultural centres. Warsaw, as the capital of Poland, no longer exists. The Polish government has collapsed and shows no sign of life. This indicates that the Polish state and government have, in effect, ceased to exist. In view of this state of affairs, the treaties concluded between Poland and the Soviet Union have no validity. Abandoned to its fate and deserted by its leaders, Poland has become a fertile field for all sorts of acts and surprises which could become a danger to the USSR. This is why, having preserved its neutrality until the present, the Soviet government can no longer remain neutral in the face of these facts.

Neither can the Soviet government remain indifferent when its Ukrainian and Byelorussian blood-brothers, inhabiting Polish territory, abandoned to their fate, are left without defence.

Taking this situation into consideration, the Soviet government has given instructions to the Supreme Command of the Red Army to order its troops to cross the frontier and take under their protection the lives and property of the population of the Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia.

At the same time, the Soviet government intends to do everything it can to deliver the Polish people from the disastrous war into which it has been plunged by its senseless rulers and to give them the possibility of living a peaceful life.

Respectfully yours.

People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR V. Molotov.