Throughout Chamberlain's premiership, the Foreign Office provided the British political elite with detailed and insightful information about different aspects of the Soviet Union. The British government was told that political directives dominated everything in the Soviet Union. In his determination to ensure absolute control, Stalin had ordered the murder of an untold number of his own citizens in the purges. In addition to the immense suffering of the Soviet people, the apparently indiscriminate purges undermined any industrial or agricultural progress. Moreover, each of the armed forces had been significantly weakened. The higher ranks of the military continued to be purged. Their replacements were politically loyal yet inexperienced. Furthermore, the equipment needed for fighting in all three services was in poor condition. The Red Army was capable of fighting an effective defensive war, and all three attaches agreed that the Soviet Union would still appear to others to be a formidable opponent. Added to this, from the winter of 1938 onwards, the attaches acknowledged that the Soviet Union was preparing for war and would, sometime in the future, become an influential power. Hence, the wholly negative portrayals of the Soviet Union by certain individuals were not entirely substantiated by the facts. Nevertheless, it would be fair to say that politicians and officials in London had received enough information to support their aversion to the Soviet government.
It is interesting, therefore, that it was not this information that provoked opposition towards Anglo-Soviet collaboration among ministers. Those who opposed Anglo-Soviet collaboration never explained their opposition in terms of their horror at the suffering of the Soviet citizens. Ministers did, on several occasions, highlight Soviet military weakness when explaining their rejection of Soviet proposals. But it was not the poor condition of the Soviet armed forces that ultimately decided attitudes towards Anglo-Soviet collaboration. Two points support this assertion. First, ministers did consider, and later agree to, military collaboration with the Soviets,