861.01/353: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Harvey) to the Secretary of State


977. I have received an unofficial request to be presented to you asking that Vladimir Vladimirovitch Ber and Leonid Krassin92 be afforded the opportunity to visit Washington. Ber is a Russian citizen who is stated to have held the rank of Councilor of State when the war started. He also is said to have held a controlling interest and to have been a director in several companies among them the Northeastern Ural Railway which ran from St. Petersburg to Ekaterinburg and the old Northern Trading, Industrial and Construction Company of St. Petersburg. For the last eight years he has lived in England and is at the head of the Standard Finance and Mercantile Agency, Limited, which was registered in March, 1921. [Page 789] It is my personal belief that Ber’s opinions may be taken as fairly representative of those held by a great many Russians of his class, Russians who at present live in exile from their country and who prior to the war were clearly Tsarist in sympathy. The assertion is made that there has been very generally an improvement in the mental attitude of Russians toward the Soviet Government, this change coming with the modification of the policies of that government and being true of Russians both within and outside of the country. It is also asserted that the existing Government of Soviet Russia, of which Krassin would be the spokesman, is now ready to propose a constructive policy to meet the requirements of foreign countries, that Ber has the qualifications to represent the attitude of those in exile, and that Ber and Krassin have come to an agreement regarding a proposed basis for cooperation and coordination which they think would prove to be acceptable to both. The time is now ripe, they urge, to give an opportunity to the American Government to review conditions directly with two representatives who have before held opposite views but who have the ultimate wish to advance international peace. If the desired permission is given, they say they could start at once, that they do not expect to stay in the United States more than two weeks, and that their only purpose in going would be to lay before the officials to whom they may be referred the outlines of the present status of Russia, as they see it, and of a constructive policy which in their opinion would be both acceptable to all sides and practicable. I agreed to forward this request but without recommending it.

  1. Soviet Commissar for Trade and Industry.