Moscow Embassy Files, Lot F–96—800 China

Memorandum by the Second Secretary of Embassy in the Soviet Union (Davies) to the Counselor of Embassy in the Soviet Union (Kennan)

Adam Watson of the British Embassy told me yesterday evening that Pavlov, Molotov’s7 secretary, had called on him on August 16 and [Page 448] during the course of the conversation had expressed his “perplexity” as to why the United States appeared to be so interested in China. Pavlov stated, according to Watson, that the American Embassy had that day addressed three notes to the Soviet Government regarding China,8 but that the British had not sent the Narkomindel9 any communications on that subject. Pavlov remarked that the American Ambassador10 appeared to be intensely interested in the Chinese situation. “His eyes glittered when the subject of China was mentioned.” Pavlov said that the Americans appeared to be particularly interested in the Chinese Communists. He thereupon quoted Stalin’s11 definition of the Chinese Communists as “margarine” communists. Expatiating on this theme, Pavlov went on to say that the Chinese Communists were really mild fellows, having begun as a group interested in the welfare of the dockers and having progressed from that to being a group solicitous of the welfare of peasants. Watson said that Pavlov’s description of the communists was in a tolerantly cynical vein.

When asked what Soviet interests in China were Pavlov disavowed any Soviet concern over internal Chinese affairs.

  1. V. M. Molotov, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  2. See telegrams of August 8 and 13 from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, pp. 958, 965, and 970.
  3. Soviet Foreign Office.
  4. W. Averell Harriman.
  5. Marshal Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of Commissars (Premier) of the Soviet Union.