800.01B11 Registration/11–249: Telegram

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


2748. While Embassy appreciates the inexorability of US justice, indications that prosecution of Amtorg officials will be continued even if corporation registers under Foreign Agents Act (Deptel 796 October 271 and Radio Bulletin October 31) are disturbing as such action is firmly believed likely to have consequences politically detrimental to US interests.

Presumably probable Soviet reaction is largely obvious. Embassy would emphasize, however, impossibility that further prosecution could be made to appear to the USSR and Eastern European governments other than deliberately designed to circumscribe commercial activity Amtorg on grounds its Soviet nature and that utilization judicial process this end constitutes perversive method accomplishing political purpose which US Government declines seek openly. Further, although Embassy favors any and all measures impress Soviets firmness [Page 771] US determination counter Soviet subversive activity, Soviets have accomplished registration and thus belatedly complied with objective of law, failure drop indictment seems contrary to our understanding two-fold nature US Policy toward USSR, in which firm resistance Soviet aggressive activity is envisaged as accompanied by avoidance non-essential provocations tending present US as irrevocably closing door to Soviets and needlessly hardening conflict between two countries. It is submitted that benefits continuance prosecution not worth risking even possibility derogating from this important second facet US-Soviet policy.2

In circumstances, Embassy feels matter should, if necessary, be referred President for decision with strong Department recommendation against further prosecution on policy grounds.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The Department of State sent an answer to the Embassy in the Soviet Union in telegram 820 on November 4, 1949, 2 p. m. (the file copy of the telegram is misnumbered 520). A circumstantial summary of the communication received from Chargé Bazykin as note No. 132 on November 1 was included. It then informed the Embassy that Under Secretary Webb had again discussed the Amtorg case with the Attorney General before Bazykin had called. “It is now our understanding Justice agreeable attempt settle matter without prolonged proceedings or confinement of individuals if Amtorg carries out expressed intention of not fighting case but Amtorg will probably be obliged meet financial penalties. Amtorg has obtained services of reputable non-communist law firm for handling of case.” (800.01B11 Registration/11–249)