The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kirk) to the Secretary of State
[Received 3 p.m.]
84. Although no further remarks have come to my attention since my telegram 71, February 13,12 regarding the imminent appointment of an Ambassador to this post conjectures have recently become more current here as to the appointment of a Soviet Ambassador to Washington to replace Troyanovsky and in this regard Litvinov has been mentioned.
This reference to Litvinov is apparently associated with a renewal of rumors to the effect that he may leave the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs in the near future. It is argued in this connection that the conclusion of the Italian-Soviet and Polish-Soviet commercial accords as well as the reports of the negotiation of the German-Soviet trade agreements which without reaching any general currency in Moscow have been the subject for comment in a general way may imply an eventual alteration in those circumstances which manifested themselves in the display of animosity characterizing relations between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In developing further this argument it is contended that Litvinov, in view of his close association with an anti-Nazi attitude in the past, would not prove the most suitable agent to develop any inclination on the part of the Nazi Government which would tend in the first instance to allay Soviet preoccupation as to the security of its western front and that consequently a change in the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs is now indicated. It is also contended that Litvinov’s personal position has been impaired and that an indication thereof may be found in a tendency which has lately been detected, on the part of the Commissar of Foreign Trade13 who occupies a place of high political authority in the Soviet hierarchy, to take over the direction of certain aspects of foreign commercial relations hitherto recognized as pertaining to Litvinov’s office.
The foregoing rumors as to Litvinov have not yet become the subject for general comment and it is obvious that the speculations with which they are linked arise insofar as matters of Soviet policy are concerned, from considerations which at present can be based merely on implication. Furthermore, doubts as to the strength of Litvinov’s personal position have been indulged in before but have proved premature and the last occasion on which they were circulated was during the period immediately following the Munich accord (see my telegram No. 374, October 3114).