124.60F/5–1645: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State

1609. ReDepts 1069, May 14, 6 p.m.2 With reference to entry of our mission into Czechoslovakia I phoned the Foreign Affairs Commissariat again on May 4 and was again told that the Soviet authorities were preparing to act in the very near future on our request. In view however of London’s telegram to Dept Czecho 50 of May 4, [Page 454] 7 p.m.3 and of the changes which were then beginning to occur in the Czechoslovak situation I thought it best not to pursue any further our existing request of the Soviet Govt which was that the Soviet authorities be instructed to permit the travel of a skeleton staff to Košice or any other place in which the Czechoslovak Govt may be established.

We have had no reliable information here from any quarter as to what is actually taking place in Bohemia and Moravia, who is exercising authority there, or where the Czech Govt is at present situated. I had supposed that it would now be possible to arrange the entry of our mission direct to Prague from our zone of occupation by local agreement with whatever authorities are in control of the situation in Prague.4

If this is not the case, it is my personal feeling that we should insist that the Czechoslovak Govt approach the Soviet authorities in the first instance for such arrangements as may be necessary to permit our representatives to proceed to the seat of the Govt. I feel that any further step we may take should be only in support of such a move on the part of the Czech Govt.

I would appreciate any information the Dept could furnish concerning the present situation in Czechoslovakia in so far as it involves the relations between Czechoslovak and Soviet authorities.5

Sent Dept as 1609; repeated to London for Schoenfeld as 205.

  1. Not printed; it asked for information as to the status of representations to the Soviet Foreign Commissariat with respect to entry of the United States mission into Czechoslovakia and stated that the Department felt that there was no longer any reason why the mission should not proceed immediately to Prague (860F.01/4–2945).
  2. Not printed; it reported that a note of May 3 from the Czechoslovak Foreign Office in London had asked that members of the Diplomatic Corps postpone “for a little while” their departure for Czechoslovakia pending the expected transfer of the Czechoslovak Government from Košice to Brno or Prague itself (860F.01/5–445).
  3. In telegram 1130, May 23, 6 p.m. to the Chargé in the Soviet Union, the Department agreed that the presence of United States troops permitted dropping previous plans and sending the American diplomatic mission directly through the American military theater (124.60F/5–1645).
  4. In telegram 1130, May 23, 6 p.m. to the Chargé in the Soviet Union, the Department stated that it had no detailed information on relations between the Czechoslovak Government and Soviet authorities, but that it appeared that effective control was exercised by the Soviet military commander, although President Beneš and his government were in Prague (124.60F/5–1645).