093.612/43: Telegram

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

562. Personal for the Acting Secretary. I am glad to have the information contained in your 315, February 16, 7 p.m. which will be very helpful in explaining to the Foreign Office and Mikoyan the understandable reasons for delay in reply.

With regard to the question of policy involved in the decision as to the propriety of acceptance of the decorations offered by the Soviet Government may I give you my reaction for whatever value it may have.

In the first place I can fully appreciate that it would be unwise for any military or civilian involved in lend-lease decisions to accept decorations from a country receiving lend-lease aid. I am sure that this position would be fully understood and respected by the Soviets.

On the other hand I feel that there is a difference in respect to General Connolly’s command. The PGSC71 has nothing to do with lend-lease policy. They have been given a specific task to perform which they have carried out well under most difficult conditions. Altho the comparison is not entirely parallel I do not understand that we would hesitate to approve acceptance of decorations by them or merchantship personnel whose special efforts had contributed to the delivery of cargoes to Russian ports. In addition the offer and acceptance of the decorations in this connection is public recognition of the engineering competence of the United States Army.

If the point of view I have expressed can be justified, I believe it would be helpful in our relations with the Soviet Government and the Russian people to allow acceptance of the awards to General Connolly and a few of his officers and enlisted men who have made an outstanding contribution. If you agree I would appreciate your [Page 831] bringing my views to the attention of the War Department. General Deane concurs.

  1. Persian Gulf Service Command.