862.6362/1–346: Telegram

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


33. Letter addressed to Molotov54 on January 3 in accordance with instructions contained in Department’s 2641, December 2755 (repeated Berlin as 2), on appointment of coal advisers by Governments of US, Soviet Union, France and UK to their zone commanders in Germany.

[Page 767]

I did not feel justified in Ambassador Harriman’s absence to endeavor to deliver this note personally to Molotov. In first place, I doubt that I could have obtained any appointment with him in less than several days which would have delayed transmission to Soviet Government of suggestion. Secondly, since Soviets will presumably see little to be gained by this scheme for themselves or for areas where they feel themselves responsible, they will not be inclined to regard it as an important matter and I feel that for me to insist on seeing Molotov for this purpose would prejudice my future access to him in cases where I might have a stronger case to present and better chance of serving our Government’s interests by personal interview.

I hope that our military authorities in Germany will not delay in making it clear if necessity arises that their directive to cooperate with coal production experts of other occupying powers by permitting them free access to our area will be administered on a strictly reciprocal basis. I am afraid that otherwise Russians may attempt to exploit this directive for purposes not strictly connected with coal.56

  1. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  2. This telegram contained the text of a directive on coal, transmitted at the request of the President from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the United States Military Governor for Germany, and also the suggested form of a note to be presented to the Soviet Foreign Ministry. The same message, mutatis mutandis, was sent to Paris in telegram 6047, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, p. 1554.
  3. Telegram 245, January 26, from Moscow reported the reply of the Soviet Government to the effect that it saw no present need for the appointment of civilian coal advisers since the German coal question lay within the competence of the Allied Control Council (862.6362/1–2646).