800.51W89 U.S.S.R./177: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union ( Wiley ) to the Secretary of State

56. Your 24, January 31. Litvinov, in reply to queries from various diplomatic representatives, has belittled significance of rupture of negotiations. In social contact with us he is demonstratively friendly in attempting of course to convey impression in Diplomatic Corps that cordiality is unimpaired. Others, however, such as Karl Radek and Umansky, chief censor, are being definitely provocative. They are attempting to discredit rupture as childish and empty gesture by the American Government reflecting only petty irritation, and to excite American correspondents with allusions to an alleged exchange of confidential letters between the President and Litvinov and an important memorandum (in respect of latter, see my telegram No. 368, October 20,11 third paragraph), the publication of which was held up only because of Litvinov’s promise and their desire to shield the President from “embarrassment”!

Am informed very confidentially by a Soviet official close to the Kremlin that Litvinov is merely endeavoring to put good face on bad situation. The successful conclusion of proposed Eastern pact was still uncertain, likewise the development of Franco-Soviet relations. Moreover, credit terms in third countries had hardened and the attitude of Japan had already become more aggressive following rupture. In consequence, he thought next 3 months would be most critical for Litvinov personally.

Informant also stated that bulk of Soviet orders would now be placed in Great Britain.

  1. Ante, p. 159.