611.6131/319: Telegram

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

219. Your 111, May 27, 6 p.m. This afternoon I discussed with Litvinov the question of the extension of most-favored-nation treatment to the Soviet Union in exchange for a promise to purchase at least $30,000,000 worth of American products this year. I explained to him the reasons for our desire to follow the wording of our original note and said that we desired not an expression of an intention to purchase but a statement that the Soviet Government would purchase at least $30,000,000 worth of products this year. Litvinov replied that every government in the world had attempted to obtain a similar [Page 202] promise from the Soviet Union and that he did not wish to create an undesirable precedent.

He suggested that we should exchange notes specifying that the Soviet Government intended to increase its purchases in the United States this year and that a few days later I should write him a note asking how much the Soviet Government intended to purchase in the United States during the coming year and that he should write a reply expressing the intention of the Soviet Government to purchase in the United States at least $30,000,000 worth of American products. I replied that an expression of intention meant little as an intention could be changed immediately. He agreed and said that he did not wish to make any binding promise. I said that we desired a definite statement that the Soviet Government would purchase a specific amount and suggested that if he desired to separate the transaction into two notes I should first write him asking how much the Soviet Government would purchase in the United States this year, that he should reply immediately that $30,000,000 worth of American goods would be purchased and that a week later or as long thereafter as he might desire we should exchange notes with regard to most-favored-nation treatment. After that he would try to work out a formula and would discuss the matter with me within a few days.

Bullitt