No. 498
Editorial Note

Ambassador-designate George F. Kennan arrived by aircraft in Moscow on May 6. He called on Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky on May 9 to present copies of his letters of credence and to request an audience with Nikolay Mikhailovich Shvernik, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. Chargé Hugh Cummings’ two-sentence report on the meeting concluded as follows: “Brief non-official conversation of few minutes concluded meeting which held in congenial atmosphere.” (Telegram 1803 from Moscow, May 10; 123 Kennan, George F.)

Ambassador Kennan presented his credentials to Chairman Shvernik in a formal ceremony on May 14. The text of Ambassador Kennan’s formal remarks to Shvernik was a revision by Kennan of a text which had been drafted earlier in the Department of State and transmitted to the Embassy in Moscow in airgram 165, April 23. (123 Kennan, George F.) As reported by Kennan in telegram 1812, May 13, the remarks read as follows:

“I have the honor to present to you the letters of recall of my predecessor and the letters accrediting me as Ambassador of the United States of America to the Government of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

“The principal purpose of the Government of the United States in its relations with the Soviet Government is the peaceful adjustment of all those specific questions the solution of which requires agreement between the two governments. Furthermore, my government wishes to see the removal of the conditions which up to this time have impeded normal associations between the citizens of our countries.

“In entering upon my duties as Ambassador of the United States of America in Moscow, I am in a position to assure you, and [Page 971] through you other responsible leaders of the Soviet State, that my activity as Ambassador will be devoted to the promotion of these aims. I hope that this activity will meet with the understanding and collaboration of the Soviet Government.”

Kennan telegraphed the following brief description of his meeting with Shvernik:

“Presented letters of recall and credence to Shvernik today at brief and correct ceremony in pleasant atmosphere. Altho I have not yet received written text his reply, it seemed to me to be patterned closely on my remarks; except that in response my expression hope for Sov Govt’s ‘understanding and collaboration’ Shvernik assured me of Presidium’s and Sov Govt’s ‘collaboration’ without reference to ‘understanding’.” (Telegram 1822 from Moscow, May 14; 123 Kennan George F.)

For Kennan’s own account of the formal presentation ceremony, the circumstances and considerations attending the preparation of his letter of presentation, and his account of his private conversation with Shvernik following the formal ceremony, see Kennan, Memoirs, 1950–1963, pages 119–121.