811.42700(R)/7–2248: Telegram

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


1390. In my opinion Soviet or other political refugees from Iron Curtain countries should not be used on VOUSA broadcasts to USSR (Deptcirctel July 16, 3 p. m.).1

Trotzky was probably only prominent political refugee in Soviet history and since his death there have not been nor are there any Soviet refugees or turncoats who have any standing or reputation throughout Soviet Union. Circumstances in USSR are different from other Iron Curtain countries particularly in that for some 30 years no political party except Communist Party has existed nor have any organizations been permitted which were not dominated and led by Communist Party. Moreover no political personality in Soviet history has been allowed to develop a personal following save Lenin, Stalin and possibly Trotzky whose fate is eloquent testimony for those who might have the temerity to entertain such illusions. The 15 members of politburo are the only political personalities known on nation-wide basis and number of these who have any stature of influence may be counted on fingers of one hand—all over-shadowed and submerged by the deification of Stalin.

Under present circumstances use of any Soviet refugee on VOUSA would not only be ineffectual but would undoubtedly excite resentment and ridicule against our broadcasts. While there may be few refugees having some influence and reputation in local regions of USSR, particularly Ukraine and Baltic states, their use on VOUSA broadcasts could only have same end result. They should be reserved for possible future use.

  1. Supra. All the other missions in eastern European capitals agreed with the Departmental policy described in the reference telegram. The Embassy in Praha was willing to concur in the “discreet” use of political refugees for broadcasts to Czechoslovakia. The Legation in Bucharest, on the other hand, questioned the use of any Romanian political refugee for broadcasting purposes.