861.404/463: Telegram

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

2098. Embassy’s 1765, October 6, noon. With reference to the Moscow News Bulletin 39 article40 on the support being given to the Soviet war effort by the Russian Orthodox Church, excerpts from which are quoted in the Embassy’s 209941 which will follow this, the Embassy had seen no similar articles in the vernacular press and it is believed that the interview as published represents no more than that lip service to religious freedom to which Ambassador Harriman referred in the Embassy’s telegram No. 1758, October 4, noon. Evidence in illustration of this belief is afforded by the fact that it is known to [Page 1005]the Embassy that the Sofia Cathedral,42 the desecration of which by the Germans is represented as having so aroused the indignation of Archbishop Andrey’s43 followers, was being used as a secular museum some years ago. As the Department is aware the Moscow News is published almost exclusively for foreign consumption and from the reference to the American Relief Administration44 in the article in question, it may reasonably be inferred that it was designed in particular for American readers.

Dickerson
  1. Apparently a wartime successor to the Moscow News.
  2. The article was entitled: “Churchmen Back Country’s War Effort.”
  3. Not printed.
  4. A famous ancient church in old Novgorod.
  5. Archbishop Andrey of the Samara (Kuibyshev) bishopric of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the conservative wing, gave the interview.
  6. Archbishop Andrey had assisted staff members of the American Relief Administration in 1921. Concerning the humanitarian activities of this organization during the famine in the Soviet Union at that time, see footnote 32, p. 730.