124.615/379: Telegram

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

454. Have you any information how Soviet authorities arrived at rate of 12 rubles to the dollar mentioned in your 538, March 19, 9 p.m.? If new rate is based upon calculated value of ruble in terms of German reichsmark at the official rate, that circumstance might be of assistance to Department in support of an effort to obtain revision of basic rate for exchange relief.70 It may be found possible to fix basic rate at point where exchange relief would amount to about 66% of net salaries and allowances but relief to a degree greater than would be necessary to offset the effect of the United States dollar revaluation of 193471 could not be justified as exchange relief.

If the new Soviet rate for the ruble was arrived at in some way other than by cross calculation of its value to dollars through reichsmark please submit brief report by telegraph for immediate consideration and mail detailed statement for completion of record.

Your 538, March 19, and 719, April 9, 2 p.m.,72 refer to the rate as “12 to the dollar” whereas your 707, April 8, 9 a.m., refers to “one American dollar to 8 rubles”. Please verify.

Department is especially interested to know whether Soviet authorities intend to confine the new rate to conversions from dollars to rubles or whether they are now prepared to sell dollars for rubles at the same rate for the remission of official fees or for transfers personal funds of official personnel.

  1. The basic rate for exchange relief applicable to the Soviet Union had been changed from 1 ruble equal to 51.74 cents to 5.75 cents, effective as of July 1, 1937, by Executive Order 7785 approved on January 8, 1938.
  2. Gold Reserve Act, approved January 30, 1934; 48 Stat. 337. For the proclamation of January 31, 1934, by President Roosevelt, see Department of State, Press Releases, February 3, 1934, pp. 65–69.
  3. Latter not printed.