751.6111/77: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State


200. In discussing Laval’s visit with me this afternoon Litvinov said that he felt the visit had done much to start Franco-Soviet collaboration in a friendly atmosphere. He denied flatly that either he or Stalin had made any promise to Laval that the Czarist debts would be discussed. He stated; “exactly the contrary is true, Stalin refused flatly to discuss the matter”. Parenthetically he stated that Stalin had also refused to discuss British debts and claims with Eden.

In this connection he said that Troyanovsky had written to him to say that Senators Brookhart, and Wheeler, the latter alleging that he had been sent by the President, had proposed to Troyanovsky just before my departure from the United States that as it was impossible for the American Government to give a 20-year loan to the Soviet Government the American Government should give four successive 5-year loans binding itself in advance to give a new loan at the end of each 5-year period, the Soviet Government to make only one purchase of $100,000,000 worth of goods at the beginning of the 20-year period thus covered. He asked me if my Government was still interested in this proposal. I replied that I had never been informed that any such proposal had ever been made or contemplated by any responsible official of the American Government and added that I was certain that if the President had wished to make any new proposals he would have made them through the Secretary of State and not through any Senator or ex-Senator.

Litvinov then said that while he was not averse to reopening the question of debts and claims he could see no point in reopening it unless there was some possibility of agreement. He added that as the difference between our Governments was one of principle that the Soviet Government insisted on a loan and we refused to give a loan—he felt that at the moment the difficulties were insurmountable.

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