751.52/3–146: Telegram

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


609. Moscow leaders are undoubtedly watching with most intent interest repercussions on American and British policy of French move with respect to Spain. In this they will see more than question of future of Franco Govt. To them this represents test of efficacy of unofficial apparatus which they have created for influencing affairs in other countries and which was described in part 4 of my 511 February 22.29

Russians are well aware that majority of people in England and America are not interested in having Spanish question activated at this time in a manner which would lend [lead?] to needless violence and disorder in Spain or would jeopardize Spain’s ability to contribute to general rehabilitation and reconstruction in Europe. They are nevertheless using their various foreign pressure groups to induce our Govt [Page 1045] and British Govt to adopt a program of action toward Spain which takes no account of those reservations. Ways in which interests by which this program is dictated differ from interests of US and of Spain itself were set forth with force and clarity in Madrid’s 301, February 15, 9 a.m., to Dept. Question of whether western nations can be brought to espouse this program is therefore one of wide importance from standpoint of Soviet methods of international dealing in general.

It is not my intention here to suggest any course of action with respect to the Spanish problem or discourage any sort of action which our Govt may find warranted by American interests. In view, however, of the admitted difference in aims between Russia and our country with respect to Iberian Peninsula as a whole I would be much surprised if an attitude based squarely on the American interests involved were to turn out to be identical with that put forward are [and?] recommended by Soviet pressure groups everywhere beginning with the French Communists. And I would like to urge that if we deviate to any extent from our own conception of American interests in order to silence the bold and insistent demands of these pressure elements this will be carefully noted in Moscow and will be chalked up here to precisely that extent as a victory for those indirect methods of diplomacy to which Moscow has recently given such great attention.

Sent Dept 609, repeated Lisbon for Madrid 1 and to Paris 42.