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

No. 1639

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that while the Embassy is under the impression that its Soviet employees are expected to report to the Soviet authorities information garnered by them in the performance of their duties, the Embassy is only rarely able to obtain confirmation direct or indirect of this impression.

The Embassy is now informed by a native American citizen, who has resided in the Soviet Union for more than six years, that he recently met in Moscow a former employee of this mission who stated inter alia that during the period of his service in the Embassy he was requested by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs to report to it on matters coming to his attention in the course of his duty. The former employee alleges that he informed the Soviet authorities that he could not be of worthwhile assistance to them for the reason that he occupied a very minor position in the mission. The authorities then suggested, he alleges, that he obtain the names of visitors to the Embassy, the name of the member of the Embassy staff with whom they conferred, and the object of their visit to the Embassy. The former employee alleges further, however, that he never returned to the above-mentioned Commissariat to report as requested. The former employee added, so the Embassy’s informant states, that he has reason to believe that there are “informers” in the Embassy’s present Soviet staff.

I have the honor to add that in view of the pressure which the local authorities are capable of applying to Soviet citizens in order to induce them to carry out any orders which they may give, it is reasonable to believe that no Soviet employee of the Embassy can be immune from suspicion as an informant. At the present time, however, there are no grounds for suspecting any particular Embassy employee of engaging voluntarily in this practice and every precaution is taken to restrict the activities of Soviet employees in order to reduce to the minimum the danger to the mission inherent in the regime of fear under which Soviet citizens live.

Respectfully yours,

A. C. Kirk