711.94114 Supplies/11: Telegram

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

1024. Embassy’s 1004, August 3, noon.

The Embassy has now received a note dated August 4 from the Commissar for Foreign Affairs referring to Embassy’s note July 19 with regard to question of Soviet Government entering in conversations with the Japanese Government regarding matter of delivery of provisions for American prisoners and nationals in Japanese custody. Molotov’s reply states in opinion of Soviet Government the question under consideration should be regarded at the present stage as closed by Molotov’s conversation with the Ambassador on August 2 as reported in my telegram under reference. The reply refers again to fact that American Government is entrusting Swiss Government, [Page 810] as representing interests of United States in Japan to carry on conversations with Japanese Government. The reply concludes with the assurance that as soon as American Government has received reply in the premises from Japanese Government the Soviet Government will give immediate consideration to the possible ways and means of delivering supplies in question through Soviet territory.
The reasons for Soviet Government’s reluctance to take action along lines desired by Department are not entirely clear to Embassy. On one occasion an official of Foreign Office referred to fact that the Embassy’s communication based on Department’s telegram No. 531, July 7, 6 p.m., stated that Japanese Government had agreed to receive and distribute relief supplies whereas the Embassy’s communication based on Department’s telegram No. 578, July 17, stated that Japanese Government had stated its willingness to give consideration to this Government proposal. A Foreign Office official, also in reference the American Government’s statement that it was prepared to use air transport, commented on size of shipments contemplated as indicated in Department’s telegram No. 620, July 29, 7 p.m. In any event it seems clear that Soviet Government is averse to entering in discussions with Japanese Government at present stage and that the Soviet Government prefers American Government first obtain definite assent of Japanese Government to some plan with at least the principal provisions thereof expressly stated.