861.24/1310: Telegram

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

139. Yesterday in a press conference I made remarks along the following lines to the Moscow correspondents and stated that I could be quoted:96

Ever since I have been in the Soviet Union I have been carefully looking for recognition in the Russian press of the fact that the Russians are getting material aid from the United States not only through Lend-Lease but also the Red Cross and American Russian Relief. I have thus far failed to find any real acknowledgment in the press of this fact.
There is no question that the American public knows that relief and other supplies are coming to the Soviet Union. However, the Russian people apparently do not realize this. It is not fair to mislead the American people who are giving millions of dollars and think that they are aiding the Russian people when at the same time the Russian people do not realize that this aid is coming from the American people. The American people are doing this out of friendship for the Russian people but the Russian people are not aware of this fact.
Question: Why have the Soviet authorities not informed the people of this aid? The Soviet authorities seem to be endeavoring to create the impression at home as well as abroad that they are fighting [Page 632] the war alone and with their own resources rather than to acknowledge aid from anyone else.
(A) [4]
Question: What is the present status of Lend-Lease legislation? I have heard that the new Lend-Lease bill has passed the Foreign Affairs Committee but as those who [are?] familiar with American legislative procedure know there is a long way from the Foreign Affairs Committee to the actual enactment.97 Congress is rather sensitive; it is generous and big hearted so long as it feels that it is helping someone. But give it the idea that it is not—there might be an entirely different story.
Question: Is there any change in the situation with respect to the exchange of military information? There is no obvious change in the Russian attitude regarding the exchange of information on the conduct the war.

I have been subsequently informed that the correspondents despatches on the conference were passed late last night after considerable consultation and delay, that the Soviet censors appeared quite apprehensive and crestfallen and that it is likely that the authority of some high ranking official in the Soviet Government, possibly Molotov, was obtained before the despatches were released.

As I have informed the Department (see my 126, February 8, 6 p.m.98) I have been endeavoring for more time and without success to obtain information on Lend-Lease benefits in the Soviet Union. I have discussed this question with Molotov, Vyshinski,99 and Lozovski1 and have emphasized the importance of releasing this information in the United States in view of pending Lend-Lease legislation.

I realize that my remarks may well cause displeasure to the Soviet Government and that there may be reverberations. The Department may wish to state that I was speaking in a personal capacity and that it was not consulted. However, I do not feel that we should sit back and continue to accept the ingratitude of the leaders of this country, especially insofar as relief supplies from the American people are concerned and I hope that my remarks may help clear the air by emphasizing to the Russian Government that we are not satisfied with their policy in this respect.

  1. The Ambassador’s account of this statement and the circumstances in which it was made are published in William H. Standley and Arthur A. Ageton, Admiral Ambassador to Russia (Chicago, 1955), pp. 240–249.
  2. The Lend-Lease Extension Act was approved on March 11, 1943; 57 Stat. 20.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky, First Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  5. Solomon Abramovich Lozovsky, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.