811.7461/28: Telegram

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

335. On December 31 I wrote Molotov96 pointing out the seriousness of the present slow radio communications and calling attention to the fact that no reply had been received to the request which we presented at the Moscow Conference97 for Soviet collaboration in the improvement of signal communications between the United States [Page 941] and the Soviet Union. Molotov replied on January 31 that the People’s Commissariat for Communications were planning certain measures, part of which would be carried out shortly. Molotov summarizes these measures as follows: (a) the Scientific Research Institute of the People’s Commissariat for Communications has been instructed to work out a series of arrangements for improving communications; (b) an additional, powerful, 60 kilowatt transmitter will be available for communications with the United States by February 1; (c) the reception of American stations will take place during hours of stable passage and in four to five channels; and (d) special high effective antennae will be constructed within three to four months. Molotov states that communications can be improved only if corresponding measures are taken by American telegraph companies.

General Deane98 is cabling the War Department about this and I urge that the Department give it urgent attention. It is of the utmost importance in the interest of effective wartime collaboration with the Soviet Union to have the most expeditious signal communications possible between the United States and the Soviet Union. Please telegraph me the reaction to the Soviet measures, with indication of the time when some corresponding measures can be taken in the United States.

For your information, General Deane has worked out with General Connolly99 a plan to establish direct radio service between the military mission in Moscow and the Persian Gulf Command at Tehran which has rapid and direct radio communication with Washington. Such a service would avoid the bad atmospheric condition that often interferes with direct radio communication between Moscow and the United States.1 General Deane has proposed this plan to the Soviet authorities and we shall continue to press it.

  1. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  2. For correspondence on the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, October 18–November 1, 1943, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 513 ff.
  3. Maj. Gen. John R. Deane, Commanding General, United States Military Mission in the Soviet Union.
  4. Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly, commanding the Persian Gulf Service Command, October 1942 to December 1944.
  5. At a meeting of the Board of War Communications in Washington on February 10, the problem of poor radio communications was discussed. The delays caused by magnetic storms and interference in the transmission of radiograms was considered, with possible remedies mentioned. It was believed that most of the atmospheric difficulties could be avoided by sending messages to England by cable and thence by radio to Moscow. See telegrams 1351, September 14, 4 p.m., and 1409, September 21, 1 p.m., 1943, from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, pp. 690 and 697, respectively.