611.6131/558: Telegram

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

414. At a meeting yesterday afternoon at the Commissariat for Foreign Trade, attended by Mishustin, Assistant Chief of Foreign Trade [Page 828] and other members of that Commissariat, I explained the views set forth in the Department’s telegrams 84 and 105 of July 8 and July 27, and left a memorandum embodying those views at greater length, as well as draft notes identical with those signed last year except for the necessary minor modifications with regard to date, et cetera, in order to accelerate the early renewal of the agreement. Mr. Chipman was present during the interview and assisted in the conversations.

The officials of the Commissariat appeared pleased at the Department’s willingness to explore the possibility of finding a basis for a trade agreement and inquired in what manner an indication of such willingness could be embodied in the commercial agreement when renewed. The insertion of the phrase authorized in the last paragraph of the Department’s telegram last above-mentioned was suggested. I gained the impression however that they considered the term “a more comprehensive commercial agreement” too vague and I anticipate that at our next meeting a request will be made to change the language somewhat as follows: “unless superseded by a more comprehensive commercial agreement under the Trade Agreements Act of June 12, 1934”. Accordingly I should appreciate the Department’s views with regard to such a substitution for the one authorized.

Although Mishustin in connection with the question of the reduction of the duties requested in the Commissariat’s memorandum of June 22, 1939, referred to the disparity between Soviet and American purchases, he allowed the matter to drop after it was pointed out that the disparity arose in part because of the apparent inability of the Soviet Union to make certain merchandise available for export in larger quantities.

Mishustin stated that the proposal and reply to the Soviet requests would require careful consideration but that an answer would be given very shortly.

During an interval in the course of the conversation, after conferring separately with Mikoyan, the Commissar for Foreign Trade, he made an appointment for me to be received by the latter on July 31 at 5 p.m. and stated in answer to an inquiry, that the Soviet reply would be given at that time.

In response to a question as to what official would sign the agreement in the event of its conclusion, Mishustin stated that Mikoyan would probably sign on behalf of the Soviet Government since it has recently been the practice, notably in the recently concluded commercial agreements with Poland and China, for the Commissar for Foreign Trade to sign such agreements.

  1. Telegram in three sections.