033.6111/4–1345: Telegram

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

1161. This evening I called on Marshal Stalin. Stalin was obviously deeply distressed at the death of President Roosevelt. He asked many questions about the situation in the US resulting from his death. He assured me that it was his desire to work with President Truman as he had with President Roosevelt in the past. I will report in more detail in a later telegram on this aspect of the conversation.66 I proposed to Stalin that the most effective way to assure the American public and the world of the desire of the Soviet Government to continue collaboration with us and the other United Nations would be for Mr. Molotov to go to the US at this time. I suggested that he might stop at Washington to see the President and then proceed to San Francisco, even though he might be able to remain there only a few days. If it would assist I felt sure that arrangements could be made to place one of our latest planes at his disposal such as the one used by President Roosevelt.

Stalin inquired whether I was expressing my personal views. I made it clear that I was, but added that I felt completely confident that I was expressing the views of the President and yourself and that you would be ready to confirm this.

After a brief discussion between Molotov and Stalin the latter stated categorically that Molotov’s trip to the US, although difficult at this time, would be arranged. He made it clear, however, that this decision was based on my assurance that you would authorize me with the approval of the President to renew the hope that it would [Page 290] be possible for Mr. Molotov to come to Washington and San Francisco as you considered his presence there at this time of real importance.

I hope that you will send me immediately instructions so that I may confirm without delay what I said to Stalin this evening.

I hope also you will bear in mind that I have promised a suitably equipped C–54 to take him to the US via the North Atlantic Scandinavian route if he so desires.68

Harriman
  1. See memorandum of conversation, by the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, April 13, 8 p.m., vol. v, p. 826.
  2. In telegram 863, April 13, 10 p.m., to Moscow Secretary Stettinius confirmed Ambassador Harriman’s expression of views concerning Mr. Molotov’s attendance at the Conference and promise of a C–54 for his trip (033.6111/4–1345).