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

No. 1130

Sir: I have the honor to report that Major General Philip Fleming, Federal Works Administrator, left by air on Monday, October 9, 1944, 8:30 a.m. from Stalino in the Soviet Ukraine for Baku and Tehran. During his stay from September 20 to the time of his departure from Stalino, General Fleming received the cooperation of Soviet organizations in his purpose of becoming acquainted with Soviet planning and construction in fields of effort corresponding to those of the Federal Works Agency in the United States. The All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries89 assisted in arrangements for interviews with various public officials in Moscow and Leningrad; and the Commissariat of Foreign Trade invited the General as its guest to visit the Dnepr Dam and Electric Station located in Zaporozhe as well as the city of Stalino in the Donets Basin.

Following are listed the chief events of General Fleming’s visit. On September 25 he interviewed Mr. Mordvinov, Chairman of the Committee on Architectural Affairs, and assistants. Mr. Mordvinov [Page 1021] is in general charge of city planning in the U.S.S.R. and is chiefly engaged at present in study of problems of city planning and reconstruction in devastated cities of the U.S.S.R. On the same day General Fleming interviewed Mr. Alabyan, the architect in charge of the reconstruction of Stalingrad. Mr. Alabyan was able to explain some of the principles and practical problems involved in his work. On September 26 an interview was held with Mr. Bourgman, Deputy Commissar of Construction in the U.S.S.R. Mr. Bourgman’s commissariat is largely concerned with industrial construction and reconstruction. On the same day, General Fleming left for Leningrad where he interviewed Mr. Baranov, Chief Architect of Leningrad, and members of his staff, who explained the future plans for their city and the particular problems arising from German destruction there. On September 29, in Moscow, an interview was held with Dr. Sokolov, head of the Institute for Sanatoria and Sanatorium Treatment. Mr. Yasnov, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Soviet, was seen on the same day as well as Mr. Kolle, Deputy Chief Architect of Moscow. On September 30 an appointment was had with Mr. Perepelkin, Chief of the Highways Administration of the R.S.F.S.R., and another with Mr. Makarov, Commissar for Communal Economy in the R.S.F.S.R. All the arrangements up to this point were in the hands of VOKS (The All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries). All the appointments which General Fleming requested through VOKS were arranged with one exception—that with the State Planning Commission of the U.S.S.R.

General Fleming had planned to stop at Stalingrad on the way to Teheran and arrangements had been made. His plane was held up for several days, however, and he decided to go straight through without stopping there. When this decision was communicated to Soviet authorities, they expressed regret and stated that the Commissariat of Foreign Trade had hoped that the General would be their guest on a trip to the Dnepr Dam and Electric Power Station at Zaporozhe and mentioned also the possibility that he might be able to visit the Donbass. In view of the fact that the proposed trip promised to be fruitful from the point of view of his own interests and that of the Embassy, the General accepted the invitation. On October 4, he left for Zaporozhe in a special plane accompanied by Mr. Whitney, Attaché of the Embassy, Miss Morozova of Intourist90 and Captain Rubanov of the Commissariat of Foreign Trade. He was met at the Zaporozhe airport by Mr. Kandalov, the Director of Dneprstroi, the construction trust in charge of the reconstruction of the dam and power station, and by local officials. On October 5 he was taken on a trip [Page 1022] through the Dnepr Dam and Electric Power Station and the city of New Zaporozhe. On October 6 he visited the Zaporozhstal Metallurgical Works in Zaporozhe. On October 7 he travelled by air from Zaporozhe to Stalino and was met at the airdrome by Mr. Struev, Chairman of the Stalino Oblast Executive Committee, and by other local officials. On the same day he visited the Stalin Metallurgical Works at Stalino. On October 8 he was taken on a trip which included visits to the large electric power station near Zuevo, a collective farm, a coal mine, and the Kirov Metallurgical Works at Makeevka. This concluded General Fleming’s visit and he left by plane, as stated above, the next morning.

General Fleming was accompanied throughout by Mr. Whitney of the Embassy staff who assisted him in making his arrangements and acted as a translator on occasion. Detailed reports on his visits and conversations as recorded by Whitney as well as on incidental information picked up in the course of his visit are being submitted as they are prepared.91 Some of these have already been transmitted and the remainder will be completed as soon as possible.

The General himself seemed to feel that his visit was successful and from the Embassy’s point of view it can be stated that much interesting material was made available as a result of his trip. In particular it should be noted that General Fleming is the first American to visit the Dnepr Dam and the Donbass since the liberation of this area by the Russians.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
George F. Kennan

Chargé d’Affaires ad interim
  1. Briefly referred to as VOKS.
  2. All-Union Society for Foreign Tourism in the Soviet Union, the official travel agency.
  3. None printed.