Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Thompson)

Participants: Stanley Woodward, PR86
Llewellyn E. Thompson, Jr., EE
Alexander N. Kapustin, Counselor of Soviet Embassy.

It had been arranged by Mr. Grew for Mr. Kapustin to call to discuss the Soviet desire to open branches of their San Francisco Consulate in Seattle and Portland without, however, calling them consulates or vice consulates.

Mr. Kapustin explained that the offices would be very small and would probably consist of one officer, a clerk, and a typist. They would deal chiefly with shipping matters and, because of the small size of the office, they did not wish to call them consulates but rather “consular representations” and that they should be branches of the San Francisco Consulate.

Mr. Thompson pointed out that there is a considerable amount of friendly rivalry between various American cities and states, and that the people in Seattle and Portland might be inclined to resent having the offices there considered as branches of an office in another state. (Mr. Kapustin did not seem to be concerned about the opinions of the people of Seattle and Portland.) This need not prevent the Soviet Government from making these offices subordinate to the San Francisco office, but the name proposed for the offices was not one normally used and its meaning would not be clear.

Mr. Woodward inquired whether the officials in charge of these offices would be regular consular officers. Mr. Kapustin replied that the intention was that they would be either consuls or vice consuls, probably the latter.

Mr. Thompson also pointed out that these Soviet officials would have relations with American officials such as the police and the police port authorities and various city officials. It would, therefore, be desirable that they have the regular consular status and be granted an exequatur. After some discussion, Mr. Kapustin proposed that the ‘offices could be called “Soviet Consulate, San Francisco—Seattle (Portland) office.” Mr. Woodward said this would be satisfactory [Page 1164] provided the officers in charge had commissions as consular officers. He said the procedure should be for the Soviet Embassy to address a note to the State Department stating that it desired to open these offices in Seattle and Portland. The Department would reply agreeing to this proposal whereupon the Embassy would notify the Department of the persons appointed and would request provisional recognition. When the commissions of the officers were presented to the Department, their exequaturs would be issued. Mr. Kapustin expressed himself as satisfied with this arrangement.

Mr. Kapustin later telephoned Mr. Thompson to inquire whether a note was really necessary. Upon being told that it was, he inquired whether he could inform his Government that the matter was approved without waiting for the exchange of notes. Mr. Thompson replied that he felt that he would be justified in informing his Government that the State Department approved the proposal in principle.

  1. Chief of the Division of Protocol.