811.003 Wallace, Henry A./4–2044

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs ( Bohlen ) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: I called today upon the Vice President at his request in regard to his forthcoming visit to Siberia and China. He said that some time ago he had spoken informally to Ambassador Gromyko19 of the possibility of his visiting Siberia en route to China but beyond that he had done nothing towards bringing his intended visit to the attention of the Soviet authorities.

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He said that he hoped to visit a number of places in Siberia, particularly the agricultural regions, as well as the Arctic development in Siberia. He suggested that I get in touch with Mr. Lauchlin Currie,20 who has been handling the details of the trip, in order to ascertain details of the itinerary, et cetera. I promised to do this and suggested, to which he agreed, that this information be telegraphed to Ambassador Harriman21 for submission to the Soviet Government.

The Vice President then said that Elmer Davis22 is very anxious that he take some American newspapermen with him on this trip and asked my opinion as to the effect this would have on the Soviet Government. I told him that while I doubted that the Soviet Government would refuse a direct request from the Vice President of the United States, I personally believed from my personal experience in the Soviet Union that the Soviets would much prefer not to have any newspapermen come in with him.23

The Vice President said that he would like to take Mr. John Hazard24 of Lend-Lease with him for the Siberian part of his visit, but he was not sure whether he could be spared at this time by General Wesson. As a possible substitute I suggested Mr. Ward,25 Consul General in Vladivostok, but the Vice President said no, he did not think that would be a good idea, nor did he seem desirous of having any member of the Embassy in Moscow attached to his party on the grounds that he would prefer to keep it entirely informal. I told him in this connection that I was afraid he would have to expect a certain amount of formality since undoubtedly the Soviet Government would insist upon according appropriate honors to the Vice President of the United States.

I then asked him whether he would wish Ambassador Harriman to meet him any place en route, and he said that he would be entirely agreeable if this would be convenient and appropriate. I assured him that we would of course do everything to facilitate his visit and that I would get in touch with Mr. Currie in regard to details and telegraph Ambassador Harriman.

Charles E. Bohlen
  1. Andrei A. Gromyko, Soviet Ambassador in the United States.
  2. Administrative Assistant to President Roosevelt.
  3. W. Averell Harriman, Ambassador in the Soviet Union.
  4. Director of the Office of War Information.
  5. For a final list of the Vice President’s party, see telegram No. 703, May 23, to the Ambassador in China, p. 228.
  6. Chief Liaison Officer, Division for Soviet Supply, Foreign Economic Administration.
  7. Angus I. Ward.