Soviet-British Agreements

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Soviet-British Agreements


The trade agreement of Mar. 16, 1921, between Great Britain and the USSR, represented de facto recognition of the Soviet government. Diplomatic relations were formally established on Feb. 2–8,1924. A general treaty and a trade treaty were signed Aug. 8, 1924. Diplomatic relations were broken off in 1927 as a result of A. Chamberlain’s notes, but they were restored in October 1929. In 1930 and 1934 temporary trade agreements were reached. The 1934 agreement became the basis for trade relations over an extended period. The maritime agreement of July 17, 1937, set limits on certain categories of naval vessels and provided for the exchange of information on naval shipbuilding. On Sept. 3,1939, Great Britain suspended enforcement of that agreement and of an additional protocol of July 6, 1938. In the summer of 1939 the British government, in collaboration with the French government, broke off negotiations begun upon the USSR’s initiative concerning an alliance of these three powers in the struggle against fascist aggression.

On June 22,1941, after the attack on the USSR by fascist Germany, the British government declared its readiness to provide assistance to the USSR. The Soviet-British agreement of July 12, 1941, concerning joint operations in the war against Germany laid the basis for an anti-Hitler coalition. The Anglo-Soviet-Iranian treaty of alliance of Jan. 29,1942, secured Iran’s collaboration with the anti-Hitler coalition during World War II. On Jan. 1, 1942, the USSR, Great Britain, and 24 other states signed the Declaration by United Nations (seeDECLARATION BY UNITED NATIONS). On May 26, 1942, a treaty was signed concerning alliance in the war against Hitler’s Germany and its accomplices in Europe and concerning cooperation and mutual aid after the war. The treaty consisted of two parts: the first was identical with the 1941 agreement, and the second set guidelines for postwar cooperation over a 20-year period. Both the USSR and Great Britain undertook to implement all necessary measures to prevent a repetition of aggression by Germany, to cooperate for the sake of security and economic prosperity in Europe, and to provide mutual economic aid. They also agreed not to interfere in the internal affairs of other states, and not to make any alliances or participate in any coalitions aimed against the other side.

The Tehran Conference of 1943 and the Yalta Conference of 1945, attended by the heads of the Soviet, British, and US governments, considered problems relating to the conclusion of the war and the building of a peaceful postwar world. On May 1, 1945, the Allies reached an agreement on the control of occupation zones in former German territory. Important decisions were made at the Potsdam Conference of 1945, also attended by the heads of government of the USSR, Great Britain, and the USA. The speech by Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister, at Fulton, Mo., on Mar. 5,1946, represented a program for what became known as the cold war. After the Paris Agreements in 1954 went into effect (May 5, 1955) and the Federal Republic of Germany joined NATO, the USSR annulled its 1942 treaty with Great Britain.

The USSR’s active policy, aimed at the relaxation of international tensions, facilitated the positive development of Soviet-British relations. Among the agreements that have been signed are an agreement on fishing rights (May 25, 1956), a consular convention (Dec. 2, 1965), and an agreement to establish a “hot line” between the Kremlin and the prime minister’s residence in London (Aug. 25,1967). Also signed was an agreement on scientific and technical cooperation (Jan. 19, 1968), a commercial shipping treaty (Apr. 3, 1968), a long-term trade agreement (June 3, 1969), an agreement to establish a permanent intergovernmental commission on scientific, technical, trade, and economic cooperation (by an exchange of notes of Jan. 4, 1971), an agreement on economic, scientific, technical, and industrial cooperation (May 6,1974), and an agreement on cooperation in environmental protection (May 21,1974).

The USSR, Great Britain, and the USA were among the signatories of the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968, the Seabed Treaty of 1971, and the Convention on Bacteriological Weapons of 1972. Negotiations between the USSR, Great Britain, the USA, and France, held on the Soviet government’s initiative, resulted in the Sept. 3, 1971, four-power agreement on West Berlin.

In a joint declaration of Feb. 17, 1975, Great Britain and the USSR stressed their desire for increased mutual confidence, understanding, and cooperation. A number of documents were signed at the same time, including a protocol on joint consultations, a joint declaration opposing the spread of nuclear weapons, a long-term program for developing economic and industrial cooperation, a program of cooperation in science and technology for a ten-year period, and an agreement to cooperate in medicine and public health.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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