501.BB/9–3047: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State


2953. Following is our evaluation present Soviet tactics as exemplified by Vyshinski’s GA speech,1 smear campaign against American officials and all-out propaganda efforts discredit our motives and falsify our intentions.

Overwhelming voting strength of US and like-minded countries in GA re veto, Greece, etc. places before Kremlin fundamental decision whether remain member UN. We are sure Kremlin would prefer to remain member for prestige and propaganda reasons, and because of advantages continuing obstructionism. Furthermore, Soviet withdrawal would convince even most confirmed wishful thinkers Kremlin desires only one thing, two worlds now in hope obtaining one Soviet world later. Also believe Kremlin does not feel it has battened down enough countries yet to break with UN. On other hand, if it is to remain in UN, it feels necessity of getting out of essentially negative and defensive position into which it has been forced. Faced with this dilemma present tactics seem to have following objectives:

Give impression that if matters do not work out more favorably for Kremlin there is imminent possibility of war, in hope that smaller countries will become so fearful of being caught in a war between democratic and communistic forces that they will abstain from vote for American UN proposals. In this way Kremlin hopes that decisively [Page 591] favorable votes on important resolutions opposed by Soviet Union can be brought to minimum, and clear-cut action frustrated.
Sabotage economic recovery by making smaller govts hesitant to accept American “imperialistic aid” and by keeping European businessmen and people generally so apprehensive of future they will refrain from making investments or long-range construction and recovery plans.
Make Congress wary of voting credits which would be regarded as hopeless in view of fear of war and general unrest in Europe. Note in this connection reported statements Congressman Taber in Athens.
Increase the apprehensions of its own people and thus bolster its internal control and discipline.

This campaign will go on in crescendo until it either obtains its objectives or fails. In latter case Soviet Union and satellites may withdraw from UN or allow detente to develop pending development new tactics.

We add our convictions USSR is not prepared for and does not want active war in presently foreseeable future. However, Kremlin knows we do not want war and will in no case be aggressor; consequently it feels it can with impunity deliberately create “war scare” to serve its political ends.

  1. This speech was delivered by Vyshinsky on September 18 before the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. It caused concern over the imminent possibility of war, and further alienated American public opinion by the naming of several prominent Americans whom he accused of being warmongers.