311.6121 Gorin, M. N./20

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Moffat)

In the course of a conversation this afternoon the Soviet Chargé d’Affaires referred to the current trial of Gorin of the Intourist Bureau, concerning which he had spoken to me last Wednesday51 (see memorandum of March 1st [2nd]).

He said that far from getting better he felt the situation was growing worse and that the District Attorney was trying his case by insinuations against the Soviet Ambassador, the Chargé d’Affaires and Vice Consuls.

In particular he stressed: (a) sneering allusion to Ambassador Troyanovsky; (b) renewed efforts to make the communication by Gorin with his Embassy at the time he fell afoul the law seem an abnormal procedure with sinister implications and (c) the testimony of Lieutenant Maxwell against which he had previously complained. Mr. Oumansky covered much the same ground as before, reiterating his request for redress.

He emphasized the damage that was being done to public opinion with relation to the Soviet Union by these incorrect allusions, which he felt should be corrected by the Executive as they were made by an officer of the Executive.52

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I told Mr. Oumansky that the memorandum of his previous conversation had been sent to the Attorney General.53 It was a matter for the Department of Justice to handle and he could be certain that his complaints would be transmitted to that Department without delay.54 On the other hand, what we regarded as a legal matter, he seemed to regard as a political matter. In my opinion his complaints were predominantly legal and would be handled through the Legal Adviser and the Department of Justice as before.

Mr. Oumansky told me that his Vice Consul was going to issue a statement contradicting the testimony of Lieutenant Maxwell, even if it should involve a charge of perjury against the latter.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. March 1.
  2. The Soviet Chargé repeated his complaints also to the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs, Loy W. Henderson, who reminded him: “I was sure that he had been in the United States long enough to know that the statements made by the federal district attorney who was prosecuting the case could not be considered as the official views of the American Government; that he must be aware that a considerable amount of latitude is allowed to a federal district attorney; and that remarks made by a federal district attorney during the course of a trial were not previously approved or disapproved by the central authorities in Washington” (311.6121 Gorin, M. N./21).
  3. Letter of March 2, 1939; not printed.
  4. A copy of this memorandum was handed on March 7, 1939, to the Assistant Chief of the Criminal Division, Department of Justice.