033.1161 Johnston, Eric/6–1544

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

No. 576

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on a press conference68 granted by Mr. Eric A. Johnston to correspondents of the American and British press at Spaso House,69 Moscow, at 3:30 p.m., June 14, 1944, as recorded by a member of the Embassy’s staff who was present.70

Outstanding significant topics discussed and statements made by Mr. Johnston are as follows: (1) He quotes Mikoyan, Commissar of Foreign Trade, as stating that the Soviet Union desires to purchase after the war from the United States “many many billions of dollars worth of goods on credit terms mutually advantageous to the two countries”; (2) He quotes Mr. Mikoyan further as stating that the Soviet authorities wish to carry on these transactions direct with American business men; (3) He affirmed, in answer to questions, that American business would not be likely to object to the effecting of financing arrangements through the Export Import Bank of Washington; (4) He quoted Mikoyan and Molotov as stating that not only capital goods but American technical assistance is desired by the Soviet Union; (5) He intimated that the credits might run from ten to twenty-five years, the longer terms the more business possible; (6) He indicated that reciprocal trade items which the United States could take from Soviet Russia in return would consist of furs, bristles, [Page 968] flax, tungsten and other non-ferrous metals—including possibly gold—wood pulp, and some handicraft goods; (6) Mr. Johnston recognized that the question of the extent of German reparations to the Soviet Union might be a factor in determining the amount and character of capital goods which would be desired from the United States.

Mr. Johnston informed an officer of the Embassy that he had told Mr. Mikoyan that he would like to quote Mr. Mikoyan in the sense of the statements attributed to Mr. Mikoyan and that Mr. Mikoyan had given his consent.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Maxwell M. Hamilton

Minister Counselor
  1. Not printed.
  2. Residence of the Ambassador in Moscow.
  3. At a luncheon in Moscow on June 3, tendered by Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan, the People’s Commissar for Foreign Trade, Mr. Johnston described the significance of Communists in the United States in these words: “Our American Communists … lack originality and realism. They still follow and imitate what they think is your current policy. If you take pepper they sneeze. If you have indigestion, they belch. They annoy our trade unions much more than they annoy our employers.” (033.1161 Johnston, Eric/7)