Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State
The Soviet Ambassador called on me this afternoon at his request. I referred to his request expressed not long ago85 that his Government be permitted to open branch offices in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, of the Soviet Consulate General in San Francisco, these branch offices to be “representations” and not separate consulates. I said to the Ambassador that after examining this matter I had found that it would be difficult to accede to the Soviet request as we felt that the status of the offices to be opened should be regularized according to usual procedure as otherwise public misunderstandings would arise. I said that we would be very glad to consider a Soviet request to open consulates or vice consulates in those two cities. The Ambassador then asked if he could inform his Government that we had refused the Soviet request to establish “branch offices”. I replied that this was a question of interpretation of nomenclature which I myself did not feel competent to determine, and after consulting Mr. Matthews, who had entered the conference, I suggested that the Soviet Ambassador send a member of his staff to talk with Mr. Thompson of the Division of Eastern European Affairs, who would be glad to discuss the technical aspects of the problem. The Ambassador said, “You have given me a negative answer to the question that I asked, and you have given me a positive answer to a question which I had not asked”. [Page 1163] I said to the Ambassador that before reporting to his Government, it would be well to conduct the conversation which I had suggested on an expert level.