800.01B11 Registration/1597

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

The Soviet Ambassador called to see me today at his request. The Ambassador handed me the memorandum attached herewith32 which is self-explanatory. The Ambassador spoke at some length about the apparent intention of many minor officials of the United States Government to prejudice relations between the Soviet Union and the United States notwithstanding the public and repeated statements by high officials of this Government of their desire to see closer and more understanding relations created.

I said that with regard to the point taken up in this memorandum, I was frankly uninformed; that if the facts were as stated in this memorandum, I felt that corrective measures should be instituted and that I would have an immediate survey undertaken.

The Ambassador also mentioned meetings recently held in Chicago,33 listed on the sheet attached herewith,34 attended by Mayor Kelly and by Lieutenant Governor Cross, in the course of which violent attacks had been made upon the Soviet Union. I said that of course I did not have to remind the Ambassador that these state and city officials were completely independent and in no sense under the control of the Federal Government and that when they spoke they spoke as state or city officials and not as officials of the Federal Government. I said that of course I regretted any attacks that may have been made upon the Soviet Union and that I wondered if the Ambassador remembered that not so many years ago, in the same city of Chicago, Mayor Thompson of that city had, in a public speech, stated that he intended to “kick the King of England in the snoot”. I said that I was sure that the Ambassador would deplore such a statement as much as I and that he could understand that the Federal Government had not been responsible for it.

I told the Ambassador that I hoped to see him again in the next few days inasmuch as the President intended to make a communication of great importance to the Soviet Government in order to get its assistance and suggestions with regard to the first United Nations meeting which the President desired to have held in the United States. The Ambassador expressed the liveliest interest and said he would be [Page 834] glad to come to see me in order to get full information about this matter whenever I let him know.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Supra.
  2. Mayor Edward J. Kelly of Chicago spoke at a meeting on February 14, and that evening attended a banquet where he signed a resolution which had been passed. Lieutenant Governor Hugh W. Cross of Illinois was a speaker soon afterwards at a banquet in the Blackstone Hotel, Chicago, attended by Antanas Smetona, former President of Lithuania, whose escape before the occupation of that country by the Soviet Union was reported by the Minister in Lithuania in telegram No. 111, June 16, 1940, Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. i, p. 369.
  3. Not printed.