740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–1549

Memorandum of Conversation, by the United States Ambassador at Large ( Jessup )

top secret

Participants: Ambassador Yakov A. Malik, USSR Representative to the UN
Ambassador Philip C. Jessup

I called on Malik by appointment today at 680 Park Avenue, the New York office of the Russian Delegation. The background of the appointment was as follows. As reported to the Department in Tel. No. [Page 696] USUN 184 on February 15,1 I had spoken casually to Malik at Lake Success saying that I had noted that Stalin, in his reply to Kingsbury Smith’s questions in discussing the Berlin matter, had made no reference to the currency issue as involved in the settlement.2 I wondered whether there was any significance in this omission. At the time, Malik said he had no information. I said that if he got any information I would be glad to have it. Yesterday, someone from Malik’s office telephoned USUN and said that Malik would like to see me when I was in New York. I sent back word that I would be there today and the appointment was made.

I was admitted by a young man who said that he was the English interpreter for Malik. He took me up to Malik’s office on the second floor. Malik greeted me cordially.3

We then sat down on opposite sides of a low table with the interpreter between us. Malik had in his hand several pieces of paper with notes on them. He spoke in Russian and his remarks were translated as mine were to him, although of course his English is quite proficient. He began his formal statement, most of which apparently was written on the piece of paper. He said that he had communicated to Moscow my question and had not replied to me sooner because he had been very busy and because he had been sick for about ten days. He then read the message which he had gotten from Moscow, which was about as follows: “Moscow has received my report of Mr. Jessup’s question about Premier Stalin’s reply to the newspaper questions and particularly on the omission of any reference to the currency problem in the settlement of the Berlin question. Moscow says that the omission of this reference to the currency question was ‘not accidental’. The currency question can be discussed at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers when the whole Berlin question and the German question in general are discussed.” The interpreter had the translation of this formal message already typed out in English and read it off.

I inquired whether this meant that Moscow attributed more or less importance to the currency question. Malik replied that the statement from Moscow was not to be considered as having any bearing on either the importance or the unimportance of the question.

I inquired whether it was the view of his government that the measures known as the blockade were to continue while a meeting of the Foreign Ministers was held. Malik replied that since I had expressed an interest only in the one question, that was the only question he had [Page 697] asked Moscow and he had no directive on any other points. If I had other questions to ask, this discussion could continue. I asked whether he meant that it could continue now, to which he replied that he meant later on other occasions.

I said that I would be glad to discuss with him again any other information which he might get from his government. I said that I did not wish there to be any misunderstanding; that I was not suggesting a formal negotiation between our two governments but that I was very glad to talk with him about any information which he might receive. Malik inquired what other questions I was interested in. I said that I had noticed lately that Mr. Vishinsky now had a new position in connection with the foreign affairs of the Soviet Union and I recalled that it was Mr. Vishinsky who was particularly concerned with the Berlin question through his dealing with the matter in Paris. I therefore wondered whether Mr. Vishinsky had any new ideas on the subject. If he had, I would be glad to discuss them. Malik inquired whether I meant discuss them with Vishinsky and I said I referred merely to discussing them with Malik if he had any more information. Malik said that he had no information on this.4

Malik then asked what I thought about the other points which Premier Stalin had made in his reply to the newspaper questions. I asked whether he had specific reference to the so-called establishment of a Western German Government. He said, “Yes, that among other things.” I replied that in regard to the so-called Western German Government, it was not necessary to urge the postponement of the establishment of this government as a condition precedent to a CFM since as a matter of fact that government did not now exist. Therefore, if a meeting of the CFM were held today, for example, it would be held before the establishment of a Western German Government. Malik said that he would report my view to Moscow.

Malik then asked if I had any other points in mind. He remarked that settlement must proceed on the basis of reciprocity. I said that I thought it was unnecessary for him and for me to talk in formal diplomatic language, that this was an informal conversation and that he and I were both familiar with the general background. I said that I would merely like to state to him personally that the statements which my government had made publicly to the effect that we were quite willing to bring about a settlement of the Berlin question were true statements. I said on the question of reciprocity there were blockade measures on both sides and that the simultaneous lifting of both the Western measures [Page 698] and the Soviet measures would be a reciprocal act. He said the Soviet measures were adopted in response to the Western measures. I said I could make exactly the same speech pointing out that actually the Western measures were adopted in response to the Soviet measures. He laughed and left that point.5

I said that I came to New York from time to time and that, if he would let me know any time when he had any information which he wished to discuss with me, I would be glad to have him let me know. He said that he would do so.6

Philip C. Jessup
  1. Not printed.
  2. Regarding Stalin’s reply to Kingsbury Smith’s four questions, January 30, see editorial note, p. 666. A memorandum of Jessup’s conversation with Malik is printed supra.
  3. In another copy of this memorandum there followed several lines on the state of Malik’s health. (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140: JessupMalik Conversations)
  4. In the other copy two short paragraphs were included at this point dealing with the participants’ experience at the Security Council and the probability of Vyshinsky’s coming to the United Nations (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140: JessupMalik Conversations)
  5. In the other copy of this memorandum there followed at this point a paragraph in which Jessup asked if there were any questions on general relations between the United States and Russia which Malik wanted to discuss. Malik replied that he had not inquired of Moscow about any other subjects. (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140: JessupMalik Conversations)
  6. In the copy referred to in footnote 5 there followed a final paragraph in which the participants discussed Malik’s lumbago. (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140: JessupMalik Conversations)