800.01B11 Registration/1708

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Soviet Chargé45 called to see me this morning at his request. Mr. Gromyko referred to the Department’s communication to the Soviet Embassy of May 10 last granting exemption from the need for registration of certain Soviet agencies including the Tass News Service. Mr. Gromyko said that notwithstanding the fact that registration had not been required, the Department of Justice was demanding a continued large volume of information from the agency which was similar to the information which would have been given if the agency had been obliged to register. Mr. Gromyko pointed out that the British news service, Reuters, was not obliged to give information of this character and that in a conversation which Attorney General Biddle had had with Mr. Kenneth Durant, the New York head of the agency, Mr. Biddle was alleged to have stated that he had legal powers to relieve the Tass Service from giving this information but that he did not feel disposed to do so.

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Mr. Gromyko insisted that the information required took up the entire time of two or three employees and that his Government could not understand the discrimination shown by this Government between the Tass and the Reuters agencies in a sense so highly unfavorable to the first named.

I told Mr. Gromyko that I was not familiar with these later developments and that I had thought when this communication of May 10 had been sent to him the matter had been adjusted in a manner satisfactory to the Soviet interests involved. I said I would be glad to look into the matter and see what the situation might be.

  1. Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko.