IO Files: US/A/377

Memorandum by Mr. H. Bartlett Wells of the United States Delegation Staff of Advisers


Comments on Vishinski Speech

Referring to Vishinski’s speech Gilberto Amado of Brazil said to me that yesterday was a great day for the democratic outlook on life: when a foreign representative could rise in an international meeting in Moscow and speak freely regarding Stalin and the other leaders of the Soviet Government in terms similar to those used by Vishinski yesterday, the principle of freedom of speech would have received world-wide acceptance. The United States has shown that it understands and accepts the principle; now it is up to the Soviet Union to do likewise.

Frye, a Renter’s correspondent, informed me that there were, among the press at least, two schools of thought regarding Vishinski’s speech—one which held that it was intended to take offensive, and another which held that it was spoken from a defensive position. He was in agreement with the latter school.

He said that he felt its principal purpose was concentrated in the charge of war-mongering activities on the part of persons and organs [Page 78] within the United States. Vishinski evidently hoped to appeal to the European countries which, while generally opposed to the Soviet Union, have, nevertheless, a consuming fear of war. Frye referred particularly to the Swedes in this connection, saying that they have expressed great alarm over what they describe as widespread talk of war in the United States. Frye (British) believes that on the one hand the American public has not so intimate an acquaintance with what modern war on one’s own soil means, and that on the other hand the European public does not realize the purely individual and personal character of the occasional exaggerated statements made by Americans of some prominence.

Bartlett Wells