123 Sturgeon, Leo D.: Telegram

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

934. Would be pleased to learn why Sturgeon and staff are returning to Shanghai (re Sturgeon’s 20, March 18 to Dept). Was it planned that they were to proceed to Dairen and return to Shanghai or was return to Shanghai result of difficulties encountered in establishing office in Dairen?

I am delighted to learn that Sturgeon has had good initial impression and considers that Dairen offers opportunities to develop [Page 1158] favorable attitude on part of Soviet authorities toward American business as well as to contribute to Soviet-American relations. I think I should remind Dept, however, that in pressing for treaty concessions finally granted them with respect to Dairen, Molotov10 made it clear to us that what Russians were particularly interested in there was actual police control (he even used the word “police”, which is rarely used in Soviet vocabulary when referring to Soviet Government organs). This means that power in Dairen, regardless of exact wording of Sino-Soviet Agreement, will doubtless be exercised in effect by organs of Soviet Ministries of Internal Affairs and State Security. Local branches of these organs are usually led by bigoted and fanatical men, hostile to and suspicious of foreigners and inclined to keep particularly close watch on [British and Americans]. In past, their activities with respect to foreign consuls have been anything but helpful from standpoint of Russian international relations. Regardless of initial cordiality (which in Russian terms means next to nothing), we must expect on basis of previous experience that tendency of Soviet authorities will be,

To cut off contact between members of our consular staff and local inhabitants, by means of intimidation and punishment of local citizens who associate with our people or visit our consular office;
To restrict as far as possible travel and other facilities for observation on part of staff of our establishment;
To restrict and curtail in every way opportunities for exercise of consular functions, in the hopes that our Government will itself eventually conclude that it is unprofitable to maintain an office there and will voluntarily withdraw it.

I hope whoever is stationed in Dairen will keep this Mission closely informed of his experiences with Soviet authorities. If these experiences should vary in any respect from pattern outlined above, this development would be of considerable interest from standpoint of general Soviet attitude and policies in that area.

  1. V. M. Molotov, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.