121.5464/3–3048: Telegram

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


572. Deptel 312 March 19, 289 to Budapest, 256 to Vienna.1 Discussed Kopcsak-Thielen case2 yesterday at length with Vyshinski,3 using as basis our conversation in London when he agreed it was imperative that US and USSR do as much as possible to reduce friction along our broad front of global contact. I pointed out this was example of irritation producing incident particularly desirable to eliminate. US and Soviet participants had told entirely different stories which impossible to reconcile on high level, with result that démarche by US peremptorily rejected by USSR, leaving one more unresolved impasse.

I suggested if honest intention existed to eliminate such irritations, very simple to arrive at formula for determining truth of incident, placing culpability and applying corrective measures. While this approach initiated talk lasting one and half hours and produced multitude of counter-charges, recriminations and rehash of all previous [Page 317] complaints from alleged Soviet citizens in US zone Germany to flights of American planes over Soviet ships in Asiatic waters, it was quite obvious Vyshinski had no intention of proceeding to any constructive result and that Soviet Union had no intention of changing its position in this and similar matters.

Vyshinski was outwardly friendly as usual, and apparently willing and anxious to talk on any general subject, but impossible to pin him down to anything definite on Hungarian incident. It is obvious that present Soviet line of protests and complaints for propaganda purposes will continue whenever occasion offers.

Sent Department 572. Department pass Budapest 17 Vienna.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Regarding the Kopcsak-Thielen case, the arrest of two Budapest Legation military attachés by Soviet authorities in Hungary, see the editorial note, p. 287.
  3. Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister.