611.61/5–2252: Telegram

No. 500
The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Department of State1


1862. Eyes only Secretary distribution S/S only. My 1861, May 222 which went forward today, was designed to bear normal distribution within govt with attendant risk of leaks. For info of yourself and top officials Dept I wish to add following:

In view situation described in message under reference I propose to seek private and confidential interview with Vyshinsky at which I would orally and informally describe situation as outlined in early part this message; remind him my govt attaches importance to my mission here and is awaiting with interest my first comments and views on Soviet American relations; and endeavor to impress upon him that this business cannot, if continued, be allowed read off as just another routine propaganda blast but will have to be signalled to Washington as a new and important departure in Soviet policy, a departure of serious and menacing importance, of which we should have to take most careful account in shaping of our own policy. This is not an exaggeration of my view, for the implications of a continuance of this campaign appear to me both drastic and ugly, and I am frank to say that such continuance wld force me to conclusions I have heretofore been reluctant to accept.

[Page 978]

Vyshinsky is not likely to give me any satisfactory answer, and the payoff will be visible only from the propaganda output in ensuing days. If there is no change, and campaign continues undiminished, I wld propose to approach Department again, not referring to this present message, and suggest text of formal communication to be addressed to Soviet Govt and made public. This would be a protest note, pointing out unprecedented violence of campaign and disturbing conclusions which must be drawn from it and fixing responsibility on Soviet Govt for deliberate poisoning of international atmosphere.

I feel, for several reasons, that I should ask for this appointment with Vyshinsky during present week. Unless I hear to contrary from Department, therefore, I shall put in request before close of business Friday. Would much welcome any views or suggestions Department may have.

  1. Copies were transmitted by Matthews to Lovett, Bradley, and Smith on May 22.
  2. Supra.