The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 21—3:51 p.m.]
161. Foreign Office has not communicated to us any message from Benninghoff (Dept’s January 19, 9  a.m., relaying telegram [from] Dairen.16).
While we agree in principle with Nanking position that courier and naval ship service to Dairen should remain on basis of notification (Dept’s relay telegram January 20, 11  a.m.17), it must be admitted that Dairen is as much under effective Soviet military control as Seoul or Tokyo are under our military control. If we require prior permission for entry of Soviet vessels, couriers and passengers into areas under our military control, Russians are likely, irrespective of treaty commitments to Chinese, to apply same measures to our entry into Dairen. Argument is not likely to change their position. Pointed tightening of restrictions on Soviet ships, couriers and passengers into Japan will be far more persuasive.[Page 487]
Whatever decision is made with respect to notification or request for permission, we strongly advise against having a procedure firmly established whereby either is transmitted through this Embassy to Moscow authorities. Such a procedure leads to interminable bogging down. We consistently resisted pressure for such a procedure regarding Balkans and are convinced that Soviet authorities should not be permitted to get away with it in Far East where our bargaining position is far more strong.
Dept repeat to Nanking.