611.6131/657: Telegram

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

1129. Reference Department’s mail instruction No. 80, February 28.47 I heartily endorse report on [of] the Interdepartmental Committee “Post-War Trade Between the United States and the USSR” received with above mentioned despatch,48 as a basis of approach to the subject. On the one hand we should allay the exaggerated optimism as to the possible volume of post war trade with the USSR49 which this memorandum indicates exists in certain quarters without, on the other hand, minimizing its importance and by stimulating adoption of the policies necessary to expand it to the fullest extent practicable. I am most anxious to get the Department’s thinking on this second aspect.

I have mentioned to Mikoyan50 the subject of increased imports into the United States from Russia and the necessity of combined study. He indicated great interest but, as is typical, so far has offered no concrete suggestions.

In spite of the fact that the Soviet Union will undoubtedly obtain substantial imports from Germany in reparations, and from Great Britain and other countries, her requirements for equipment from United States will be so great for reconstruction and development of her economy that I am optimistic about the potentialities of our trade, provided we will adopt import policies that will make it possible to take advantage of the situation.

Harriman
  1. Not printed.
  2. No copy of this report is filed with the Department’s copy of the instruction. An amplification of this report was sent to the Embassy in instruction 150, May 6, 1944, of which the abstract is printed infra.
  3. An article by Clifton Daniel in the New York Times for May 5, 1944, reported that the Soviet Trade Commission in Great Britain was conducting negotiations, with British business interests for large postwar orders similar to orders totalling $2,500,000,000 already placed in the United States. Other such articles caused the Department of State to inform the Embassy at London in telegram 3650, May 6, 1944, that “There has been no special Soviet purchasing mission in the United States, and as far as the Department is aware, the only negotiations which have been carried on have been between Soviet Purchasing Commission here and certain large American firms. As far as is known, the contemplated contracts do not envisage sales for more than a few million dollars.” (611.6131/657a)
  4. Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan, People’s Commissar for Foreign Trade of the Soviet Union.