Moscow Conference (1944)

The Fourth Moscow Conference,[1] also known as the Tolstoy Conference[2] for its code name Tolstoy[3], was a meeting in Moscow between Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin from 9 October to 19 October 1944.


Churchill made a secret proposal on a scrap of paper dividing post-war Europe into Western and Soviet spheres of influence.[4] Stalin examined the scrap of paper and pondered it for a moment, then wrote a large check in blue pencil and handed it back to Churchill. [4] Churchill commented: "Might it not be thought rather cynical if it seemed we had disposed of such issues, so fateful to millions of people, in such an offhand manner? Let us burn the paper." Stalin counselled, however, to save the historic scrap of paper. Churchill called the scrap of paper a "naughty document,"[5] which came to be known as the "Percentages agreement."

The original proposed 'spheres of influence' that Churchill nominated to Stalin in percentages were:

Rumania = 90% Russian and 10% The Others[4], Greece = 90% Great Britain (in accord with USA) and Russian 10%[4], Yugoslavia = 50-50%[4], Hungary = 50-50%[4], Bulgaria = 75% Russian and 25% The Others[4], and Poland is 'briefly discussed before moving on to the Balkans' - according to the 1974 journal article by Albert Resis on the 1953 vol 6 memoirs, Triumph and Tragedy, by Winston Churchill.[4] The known status of Poland after WWII can only assume that Churchill did not press Soviet expectations and capitulated on the matter swiftly.[citation needed]

The US ambassador to the USSR representing President F.D. Roosevelt, Averell Harriman, was not present for these discussions, but Churchill informed Roosevelt on 10 October of an agreement after more deliberations, although it is not certain to what extent the true details were made known at this time.[4] Roosevelt was conditionally supportive but was ultimately unhappy with the level of US influence in the Balkans, specifically Bulgaria - which was the sticking point for the discussion, resulting in the original percentages being haggled over for some days.[4]

A significant consequence of this agreement is that it created the Cold War, according to Resis,[4] due to its pre-war imperialist thought of Churchill and Stalin, removing the free choice of Eastern Europe and Mediterranean peoples from choosing their own path forward free from Nazi occupation.[citation needed]

The proposed percentage division was never mentioned at Yalta Conference or other meetings.[6] Leffler states that it "confirmed that Eastern Europe, initially at least, would lie within the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union." [7] However British historian Andrew Roberts states:

the Second Moscow Conference was not able to resolve major issues and Eastern Europe, and when Churchill did complete his percentages deal with Stalin, it was not ratified by the Americans.[8]

Stalin agreed that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan, and the British agreed to return to the Soviet Union all former Soviet citizens who had been liberated from the Germans.[9]

Representatives presentEdit

The chief representatives for the Soviet Union at the conference were Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, and Vyacheslav Molotov the Soviet foreign minister. The United Kingdom principal representatives were Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister and the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. The United Kingdom CIGS, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke was also present as were the United States ambassador to Moscow, Averell Harriman, and General John R. Deane, head of the United States Military Mission in Moscow as observers. Also at the conference were delegations from both the London-based Polish government in Exile and Provisional Polish communist government based in Lublin.[10][11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Some British sources call this the Second Moscow Conference as it was the second time Churchill and Stalin had met at a conference in Moscow. The previous time was for the 1942 Conference (see Fact File : Second Moscow Conference 9 to 19 October 1944 Archived 20 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine BBC)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Resis, Albert (1974). "The Churchill-Stalin Secret "Percentages" Agreement on the Balkans, Moscow, October 1944". American Historical Review – via University of Chicago Press.
  5. ^ "The Untold History of the United States," Stone, Oliver and Kuznick, Peter (Gallery Books, 2012), page 114, citing "The Second World War Triumph and Tragedy," Churchill, Winston, 1953, pages 227-228, and "Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties", Johnson, Paul (New York: Perennial, 2001), page 434
  6. ^ Siracusa, "The Night Stalin and Churchill Divided Europe: The View from Washington".
  7. ^ Melvyn Leffler, Cambridge History of the Cold War: Volume 1 (Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 175
  8. ^ Andrew Roberts (2009). Masters and Commanders: The Military Geniuses Who Led The West To Victory In World War II. p. 527.
  9. ^ Tolstoy, Nikolai. The Secret Betrayal. Charles Scribner' Sons (1977). p. 75. ISBN 0-684-15635-0.
  10. ^ Fact File : Second Moscow Conference 9 to 19 October 1944 Archived 20 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine BBC
  11. ^ Stanly Smith Part 1: The Polish Government: Could Churchill have done more to save Poland from Communism?

Further readingEdit

  • Ehrman, John (1956). Grand Strategy Volume VI, October 1944-August 1945. London: HMSO (British official history). pp. 213–219.
  • Resis, Albert. "The Churchill-Stalin Secret 'Percentages' Agreement on the Balkans, Moscow, October 1944." American Historical Review 83.2 (1978): 368-387. online
  • Siracusa, Joseph M. "The Meaning of TOLSTOY: Churchill, Stalin, And The Balkans Moscow, October 1944." Diplomatic History 3#4 (1979): 443-444. includes British minutes; online
  • Siracusa, Joseph M. "The Night Stalin and Churchill Divided Europe: The View from Washington." Review of Politics 43#3 (1981): 381-409. online