The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 241:36 p.m.]
3360. Re Department telegram 2006, Sept. 13. I see no objection to taking up with Soviet Government question of opening Consulate at Leningrad. I feel, however, that it would be preferable to propose opening the office approximately at time of reopening of navigation in Leningrad next spring, i.e., in the latter part of April. Before that time there are not apt to be many American travellers in Leningrad nor as far as we here are aware any American vessels. If a request is made to open an office this fall, I fear this will confirm Russians in their ever-present suspicions that intelligence work is our consuming passion in Russia and that we are impatient to get consular officials into Leningrad for this purpose. Furthermore, I think we would be wise [Page 1168] to spare ourselves the problem of trying to find quarters in Leningrad in a hurry and to heat them during the winter months. By spring, conditions in Leningrad should be considerably better. And if Russian assent can be obtained this fall to our opening up there, Leningrad Soviet will have winter months in which to select and put into condition a building for our use. I would therefore prefer to make request at this time but to stipulate next spring as time of opening Consulate. In making request I think it might be well to add expression of hope that consular office would prove helpful in furthering contacts between numerous Leningrad cultural institutions and cultural circles in the United States. I have wired the above views to Ambassador Harriman99 who has asked me to express his concurrence.
Would appreciate Dept’s authorization to proceed on this basis.1
- Ambassador Harriman was attending the Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in London, September 11–October 2.↩
- Authorization was given by the Department in its telegram 2074, October 1, 1 p.m., not printed. In note 76, dated May 15, 1947, the Ambassador of the Soviet Union, Nikolay Vasilyevich Novikov, informed the Department that his Government had “found it possible to authorize the establishment of such a Consulate at Leningrad.” (125.0061/5–1547)↩