The Chargé in the Soviet Union
(Kennan) to the Acting Secretary of State
2732. High-level Russian assent in principle to opening of regular air passenger facilities between Moscow and west via Berlin has I understand been obtained at Potsdam and military mission here is now making preparations to undertake with Russians technical discussions looking to inauguration of regular Russian services connecting with ours at Berlin.
To Dept 2732; rptd to Paris as 263; Stockholm as 51; Tehran as 111; Cairo as 78.
Meanwhile Russians are already moving occasional individual American passengers to and from Berlin on special request when they are so inclined; all Brit courier mails are already moving over that route under cover of an informal arrangement whereby Russians [Page 1170]undertook to move mails and personnel for British Reparations Delegation during period of reparations talks here.
Thomas has just returned from trial trip to Stockholm by rail and steamer. Trip took four to five days in each direction. It presents no great technical difficulties.
In view of above I wish to recommend following:
- That despatch of mails via Tehran be terminated at this time subject to resumption in case other routes should fail to work out.
- That air courier mails for this mission be sent henceforth to Paris for transmission.
- That list of couriers for Paris–Moscow route be communicated at once to this mission for transmission to Soviet Govt and that application be made forthwith for visa for first courier to make trip from Paris and return. (It may take some time to obtain this visa. By that time mail will presumably have accumulated in Paris).
- That efforts be made to route second class pouches by sea to SwEden for movement to Moscow by courier. If there is not sufficient frequency of maritime service to SwEden (I think once in six weeks would be minimum) then these pouches would also have to be handled from Paris by air as is now being done via Tehran. If Stockholm route is used, professional courier should in my opinion be available there.
I am planning to send Thomas out to Paris as courier if possible next week. He will therefore be available for consultation in Paris with respect to above matters. Thereafter, I see no necessity his return to Moscow at this time.