125.977/12–745: Telegram

The Consul General at Vladivostok (Clubb) to the Secretary of State

122. Having been informed by Embassy that Vladivostok’s October 5, 11 a.m., was repeated to Department10 so that matter might be discussed with Kennan (Embtel October 13, 12 midnight, to Vladivostok) I now forward as of possible interest certain recommendations in brief regarding future of Vladivostok Consular Office. Despatch follows.11

I believe that it is of value to USA to maintain office at Vladivostok in peacetime even if it will have but minor functions as respects shipping or other American interests for following reasons: 1. Possession of listening post in Soviet territory bordering an area where Soviet imperialism might be made manifest in years immediately ahead would enable US Govt occasionally get indications current Soviet trends unobtainable in Moscow or elsewhere in western USSR; 2. Post offers personnel training point in environment radically different from that of Moscow giving valuable knowledge of USSR; 3. Presence here of American outpost gives channel for bringing directly [Page 1173] or indirectly some American culture to another small segment of Soviet population.

Office should be fully staffed with Americans and equipped so as to be largely self-sufficient because of (1) unreliability of Soviet employees, (2) ineffectual services and limited supply rendered by concerned Soviet organs and (3) isolation of American personnel from local population. Both office and living quarters should be completely furnished. Full exploitation of possibilities of post can be achieved only thru liberal policy of staffing office with experienced personnel. Exploitation should be along positive lines.

Any basic increase in value of Vladivostok, however, will be in direct proportion to leverage exercised by US Government vis-à-vis USSR Government to obtain for American personnel greater freedom of movement and greater access to local population. Political levers available to USA are of course numerous, therefore in this connection merely record my belief that American policy toward USSR should be exercised on strict bargaining basis as single coordinated unit with reference for instance of elements in Southeastern Europe to factors in Eastern Asia even where they are superficially unrelated and diverse.

Current Soviet concentration on development Dairen and probably future emphasis on rail transport westward via Chinese Changchun RR (railroad) instead of via Vladivostok and Primorskoe facilitates implementation of previous plan of developing Vladivostok as naval base without incidental necessity of making Nakhodka into port. It is therefore conceivable that Soviets themselves will in due course make Vladivostok closed port and initiate move to cause withdrawal of consular offices as in case of Sevastopol about 20 years ago. In such event office at Khabarovsk would prove best available substitute but inability USA demonstrate any American commercial interest there might force acceptance some port location of less value.

Repeated Moscow as 240.

  1. Telegram 3537, October 13, 10 p.m., from Moscow, p. 1168.
  2. No. 175, December 18, not printed.