The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 18—6:30 p.m.]
1655. Recent publication here of two press reports from the United States indicating alarm at the prospects for early internal economic difficulties and a return of unemployment in our country is a development which, in my opinion, deserves special note. If the impression is gained in Moscow that without some special effort to influence American public opinion, postwar credits for the Soviet Union might possibly not be forthcoming in the amount or under the conditions desired here, we may well soon be witness to a concerted Soviet attempt to influence American public opinion through establishing the thesis that the country is faced with the choice of keeping the wheels moving by producing goods for the Soviet Union and other eastern European countries on credit or of suffering partial economic collapse.
It is not always possible to spot Soviet propaganda efforts in advance and to observe their progress. Careful attention to the ways and channels through which the thesis referred to above is now put forward in the United States might throw a revealing light on the machinery used by the Soviet Union to influence American public opinion.