124.61/144½

Memorandum by President Roosevelt for the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Your memorandum of December sixteenth in regard to Soviet restrictions against American citizens connected with the Diplomatic Corps is excellent, and I think we should match every Soviet annoyance by a similar annoyance here against them.

[Page 869]

When it comes to the larger questions of downright rudeness on the part of Stalin, Kalinin or Molotov we cannot afford to repay such rudeness with equivalent rudeness over here. But I am inclined to think that the day may come soon when it will be advisable to bring the situation to the direct attention of Oumansky. He can well be told that the failure of his Government to answer my telegram regarding bombardment of citizens68 and the failure of his Government to let our Ambassador communicate with the City of Flint 69 tend to show such a complete disregard for the ordinary politeness and amenities between civilized governments that the President honestly wonders whether the Soviet Government considers it worthwhile to continue diplomatic relations. We need go no further than this but it would put a certain burden on the Soviet Government itself.

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]
  1. See telegram No. 255, November 30, 1939, 6 p.m., to the Chargé in the Soviet Union, p. 798.
  2. For correspondence concerning the steamer City of Flint while in the Soviet port of Murmansk, see pp. 984 ff.