By Martin Kitchen
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Extra info for British Policy Towards the Soviet Union during the Second World War
Cripps, who was also a very able negotiator, stood up very well against this onslaught and scored a number of telling points against his opposite number. He took some comfort in the thought that this was a beginning, even if an unpromising one, and that the door had not been completely closed and bolted. He was not to see Mikoyan again until 16 October. The Foreign Office was uncertain what to make of all this. Maclean felt that it was further indication that the Soviets were not at all interested in coming to an agreement.
120 He felt that the British had nothing to fear from the Soviet Union as she was far more useful to the Germans as a neutral power. Maclean wanted to ditch the entire barter agreement, saying that if it went ahead our action would also be bound to produce a disastrous effect both on Allied and neutral opinion by displaying weakness and giving the impression that in return for a little timber we were prepared to overlook Soviet aggression against Poland, the Baltic States and Finland not just to mention Soviet cooperation with Germany.
112 Meanwhile plans for the raid went ahead. The RAF undertook aerial reconnaisance of the oilfields and prepared detailed target maps. The Planning Staff of the Air Ministry drew up plans for the raid and felt that there would be no serious difficulties. A draft message was prepared for the Dominion Governments preparing them for the possibility of war with the Soviet Union. The New Zealand Government had already voiced their objections to the scheme, but these views were rejected by Maclean and by Victor Cavendish-Bentinck as those of a government frightened by its own left-wing.
British Policy Towards the Soviet Union during the Second World War by Martin Kitchen