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

No. 19

Sir: I have the honor to report that I have taken advantage of my various calls on Soviet Government officials to discuss with them the delay in the granting of visas to American citizens of all categories, including the holders of American diplomatic passports. Without burdening the Department with the details of these various conversations, I have received an assurance that the subject is being fully considered and that instructions have already been issued to speed up the issuance of visas to Americans and to exercise a greater degree of judgment. That these talks have been effective, at least for the time being, is best evidenced by action taken during the past few days in certain specific cases as, for example, the granting of a visa to Dr. Cox, the new United States Health officer of the Embassy, after a delay of three weeks; the granting of a visa in Warsaw on Sunday [Page 845]evening, a few hours after a request was made, to Mr. McArthur, Second Secretary of our Embassy in Paris, on a special mission from the Embassy in Paris; and two or three other cases with which Mr. Ward has been having difficulty. While I am not too optimistic about a permanent continuation of this improvement, I have hopes that the improvement will not bog down too soon.

I have also had occasion to mention to Mr. Potemkin the cases of failure to grant visas to the Russian wives of American citizens49 and while I have not pressed this subject at the moment, believing the visa situation to be the more urgent and embarrassing to both the Department and the Embassy from day to day, I intend in the near future to take up this subject again with the Foreign Office, with the view to ascertaining whether at least some of the pending cases cannot be disposed of with reasonable celerity.

Respectfully yours,

Laurence A. Steinhardt
  1. See footnote 34, p. 534.