861.24/1474½

The Consul General at Vladivostok (Ward) to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Standley)

[Extract]

Dear Mr. Ambassador: Some weeks ago there were comments in the Soviet press and on the foreign radio regarding statements made [Page 648]by you at Moscow indicating that in your opinion the Soviet people in general are not aware of the extent of Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union. I agree with you in this matter. Notwithstanding that Vladivostok is the port of entry and transshipment of the overwhelming volume of Lend-Lease supplies shipped transpacific to the Soviet Union I find that even the people here are almost totally ignorant of the significance and terms of Lend-Lease and have only the haziest conception of the volume of this aid. The belief is so common here as to be almost universal that all aid received by the Soviet Union from the United States is paid for in cash at the time of purchase or shipment. I hear voiced so frequently as to cause me to believe that it is inspired the statement that the Soviet purchases in the United States constitute such good business for our capitalists that the American people have no desire to see an early victory over Germany and Italy. I feel that the Soviet Government is negligent in not (1) explaining the terms and functioning of Lend-Lease to its people, (2) giving them a clearer conception of the volume of Lend-Lease.32

Since I am unaware of the background of your recent statements regarding Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union, and as periodicals and newspapers received from home indicate that Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union is a matter of considerable controversy in the United States, it did not seem proper for me at the time or even now to express any formal opinion on the Soviet attitude in this area toward Lend-Lease unless such opinion is solicited by the Department or the Embassy, in view of which I am addressing this letter to you as a personal communication.33

I hope that you will not fail to call on me formally or informally at any time for such information as I may be able to give on any subject that may be of interest to you. You will realize, I am certain, that our sources of information here are very limited (due to the close surveillance under which each of us lives) and there are many subjects on which we either have no information or can only obtain information after considerable maneuvering and delay.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

With best wishes, I am

Sincerely,

Ward
  1. Most of this paragraph was repeated to the Department by the Ambassador in the Soviet Union in his telegram No. 520, May 24, 4 p.m., not printed.
  2. See also telegram No. 638, June 9, 9 p.m., from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, p. 760.