The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Roosevelt 25

304. For President from Harriman signed Deane. You will perhaps recall that one of the military proposals contained in the memoranda [Page 950] you submitted to Stalin in Teheran was the improvement of radio communications between Moscow and Washington.26 In the discussions General Deane has had with Soviet authorities, the Soviets had agreed to the operation by us of a radio station in Moscow provided we would give them a similar privilege in the United States. Gen. Deane has been informed by the War Department that under our laws no foreign government can be given the privilege of operating a radio station in the United States and has communicated this to the Red Army Staff with whom he was negotiating. He made an alternative proposal for a hook-up through Algiers to be available to both the Soviet Military Authorities and the War Department. I have just received a letter from Molotov stating again that they had agreed to give us the privilege of establishing a radio station in Moscow if the Soviets were permitted the same privilege in the United States, but stating that as this is not possible under our laws, the Soviet Government is unwilling to consider any other alternative.

General Deane and I consider that the settlement of this radio communication problem is of the utmost importance not only now in speeding up our important communications but is essential in connection with the shuttle bombing27 and for operations we have in mind in the future. Negotiations regarding shuttle bombing are progressing satisfactorily, and I believe that the Soviets will make an exception for necessary limited radio communications for this particular operation. We believe, however, that before any large United States forces can operate successfully within the Soviet Union, this question will have to be settled on a broad basis, and that from the Soviet Government’s standpoint their position is understandable, in that they will expect to receive reciprocal privileges to those granted to us. The British are operating a radio station from Moscow to England and the Soviets in the reverse direction from England. I am not familiar with your War Time powers, and therefore ask whether these can not be used to give the Soviet Military Authorities the privilege of operating a radio station for the duration of the war, of course, providing they give us parallel privileges of operating from Moscow to Washington and other US Military Headquarters. May I ask that this matter receive urgent consideration because of its immediate helpful effect in working out arrangements in connection with shuttle bombing and as an essential step in connection with more important operations in the future.

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y.
  2. See memorandum of November 29, 1943, from President Roosevelt to Premier Stalin, Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. 617.
  3. The first shuttle raiding bombers of the 15th Army Air Force reached the Soviet Union on June 2, 1944.