800.515/12–3145: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State


4335. ReEmbs 4232, December 20.7 Have just received letter from Molotov in reply to Ambassador’s letter of December 20 concerning Bretton Woods invitation. In this communication Molotov states that “Soviet Government does not find it possible at present time to sign the draft agreement drawn up at Bretton Woods concerning the creation of an international monetary fund and concerning an international bank for reconstruction and development. The Soviet Government finds it necessary to subject the questions touched upon in [Page 1388] these drafts to further study in the light of those new conditions of the economic development of the world which are forming themselves in the postwar period.”8

  1. Not printed; Molotov was Soviet People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  2. The Department’s reaction to the Soviet refusal is described in the following extract from the Department of State classified information bulletin Current Economic Developments (Issue 31, dated Jan. 21, p. 3):

    “The Department has replied to the Embassy at Moscow on the Embassy’s explanation of the Soviet’s failure to sign the Agreements. While we are concerned at Soviet failure to ratify, because of the possible implications as to Russia’s interest in international economic collaboration, we feel that no pressure should be exerted to get them to join and that the impression should not be given them that possible adherence would be making a concession to the United States.

    While the Embassy pointed out that Soviet participation in the Bretton Woods negotiations did not necessarily indicate intention to join and could be explained by Molotov’s statement to Ambassador Harriman on April 20, 1944, that participation in the work was for the sake of maintaining the appearance of tripartite collaboration, the Department feels that subsequent Soviet actions in Washington and at Bretton Woods, including dramatic last-minute acceptance of the increased Bank quota, are difficult to explain unless at that time the Soviets intended to join. The Department feels that there is still a possibility that the Soviets may adhere, depending particularly on the possibility of obtaining credits. We also believe that if the USSR remains a non-participant it may make difficult the extension of an Eximbank credit. Any initiative on loan questions will be left to the Soviets.”