550.E1 Russia/58: Telegram

The Chargé in the Netherlands (Sussdorff) to the Secretary of State


64. There is general agreement today among the non-Russian delegates that due to the completely impractical and stubborn attitude [Page 819] which the Russians have maintained there is no hope any longer of any accomplishment by the Conference. The delegates reached this decision after the Russians replied in a most unsatisfactory manner to a number of technical questions to which definite answers were required regarding debts and private property. In effect the Russians stated that property rights acquired in Russia after the decree of May 22 would be recognized. The Russians also said that while they were ready in principle to recognize foreign debts, it would not be possible for an indefinite period to liquidate such debts, and that they are not even willing to consider the conditions under which they would pay the debts until definite assurances are given that credits will be extended to the Moscow government.

The circumstantial indications are that when the Russians saw that the non-Russian delegates would all follow a common policy, they determined to break with the Conference and to try to obtain credits from private sources, so as to avoid the necessity of concessions concerning debts and private property.

While the non-Russian delegates are aware of the uselessness of negotiating further with the Russians, yet for about ten days they probably will continue discussions, so as not to create the impression that they are breaking abruptly with them. Consideration is being given by the non-Russian commission to the advisability of remaining in session after the Russians depart in an attempt to arrive at a solution of the Russian problem. Information has come to me that the non-Russians are contemplating asking the United States to join in their conferences, if there is reasonable likelihood that the invitation would be accepted.

There is a disquieting impression among the French delegates that negotiations for concessions are being carried on by big private interests, especially British, Dutch and Scandinavian. Major Ord40 has definite proof that the Vlessing company, a Dutch concern, has secured a manganese concession in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, which it is now operating. Direct negotiations for additional concessions are being carried on at The Hague by this company with a traveling Russian trade commissioner. Should there be a break-up of the Conference now, doubtless there will be a general rush for concessions. Belgian and French delegates after a study of the list of concessions which the Moscow government recently offered declare that the list contains no American property. I am transmitting a copy of this list41 by pouch today. The Russians have stated that all confiscated foreign property not included in the recent list will be retained by them.

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It is the hope of the French delegation that in any case a resolution will be adopted by the non-Russian delegations to the effect that none of them will give support to any of their nationals who obtain Soviet concessions containing property any of which was confiscated from a citizen or subject of any one of the signing states.

  1. Maj. James B. Ord, military attaché at The Hague.
  2. Not printed.