Thank you, President George W. Bush, for correcting history and making a long overdue apology for one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's tragic mistakes. Speaking in Latvia on May 7, Bush repudiated "the agreement at Yalta" by which powerful governments negotiated away the freedom of small nations.
Bush accurately blamed Yalta for "the captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe" and said it "will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history." This admission has been 50 years coming, and Bush's words assure that "the legacy of Yalta was finally buried, once and for all."
It was at Yalta, a filthy Russian port on the Black Sea, where our dying President in February 1945 made a secret agreement with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin to surrender millions of people to Communist oppression behind what Churchill a year later labeled the Iron Curtain. No treaty was submitted to the U.S. Senate; indeed, the record of what went on at Yalta was not released until ten years later.
The Soviets demanded, and F.D.R. acquiesced, that the conference be held on Soviet soil (where they could plant listening devices). Churchill said, "If we had spent ten years on research we could not have found a worse place in the world than Yalta. ... It is good for typhus and deadly lice which thrive in those parts."
F.D.R. came home from Yalta and made a false report to Congress. Calling it "a personal report to you and to the people of the country" he asserted, "This conference concerned itself only with the European war and with the political problems of Europe, and not with the Pacific war."
Here is a list of the European AND Asian concessions he made to Stalin, which were confirmed by the Yalta documents released on March 16, 1955.
Poland was turned over to the Soviet Union. The United States and Britain agreed to recognize Communist stooges as the new Polish government and to withdraw recognition from the legitimate anti-Communist government of Mikolajczyk.
Germany was to be dismembered, its "national wealth" removed within two years, and several million Germans were to be sent to the Soviet Union to work as slave laborers. The record quotes Roosevelt as saying, "I hope Marshal Stalin would again propose a toast to the execution of 50,000 officers of the German army."
All Russian citizens who had fled to Germany from Communism were to be forcibly returned to the Soviet Union (i.e., the gulag).
The Soviet Union was allowed to keep control of Outer Mongolia, which the Soviets had seized from China. The southern part of Sakhalin and all the adjacent islands were given outright to the Soviets.
The Kurile Islands were given outright to the Soviets, and Port Arthur was given to the Soviets for use as a naval base. The Soviets were given effective control of the commercial port of Dairen, the Chinese-Eastern Railroad and the South-Manchurian Railroad, using the subterfuge of assuring that the Soviet Union's "preeminent" interests would be "safeguarded."
The Soviet Union was given three votes in the United Nations, while all other nations got only one.
Roosevelt's defenders have tried to claim that his concessions were necessary to bribe Stalin to enter the war against Japan. The Yalta papers prove that was false: three and a half months before the Yalta meeting, Ambassador Averell Harriman had relayed to Roosevelt a "full agreement from Stalin not only to participate in the Pacific war, but to enter the war with full effort."
Russia wasn't needed in the Pacific war, and letting Russia in simply opened the way for a Communist empire in China and North Korea. This set the stage for the Korean War in the 1950s and for the son of the original North Korean Communist dictator to threaten us with nuclear weapons today.
News photos of the Yalta meeting reveal the hovering presence of the Communist spy Alger Hiss. As the chief adviser to Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Hiss attended nearly all the Yalta meetings and could be reached on telephone number 3, right after F.D.R. with number 1 and Stettinius with number 2.
Hiss was given all top-secret files and documents about the U.S. position 19 days before the conference. Senator William Knowland (R-CA) said this made F.D.R. "like a man playing poker with a mirror at his back."
While Republicans and honest writers such as David Lawrence and John T. Flynn denounced the Yalta betrayal, the pro-Roosevelt media praised it. Time called Yalta "a great achievement," Life called it "a success," and the New York Times called it "a milestone on the road to victory and peace."
But truth finally overtakes lies and coverups. President Bush set the record straight when he repudiated Yalta as part of the "unjust tradition" of Munich and the Hitler-Stalin pact that carved up Europe and left millions in oppression.