611.61/5–2452: Telegram

No. 502
The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Department of State


1872. Kentel. No distribution, eyes only S/S. ReDeptel 815, May 22.1 I had not realized when I sent my 18622 that signature of contractuals was so close upon us. In general I had hoped to call on Vyshinsky at least two or three times a month, whether or not I had instructions, in order that I could be in a position to say that I was in regular contact with him and that no single visit would be interpreted as “news”. I would have liked to have made first of these visits at this time and to have spoken to him along lines outlined in my telegram under reference. But in view of delicate situation in connection with German position, I shall hold off for the moment and not ask for appointment until it is clearer when signing of contractuals will take place and when Soviet reaction may be expected. I have worked out a line to take with Vyshinsky on first suitable occasion which I think fully meets points raised in ref tel and will use it when and if such occasion presents itself.3

  1. Supra.
  2. Document 500.
  3. In telegram 1905, May 30, Kennan further defined his attitude on a possible meeting with Vyshinsky. The telegram reads:

    “I have not wanted to ask for appointment with Vyshinsky these past days, partly because of German developments, partly because Brit Amb was asking for one and I did not want to confuse my purposes with his.

    “I fear time has now passed for visit and statement to Vyshinsky along lines outlined my 1862. Whatever observations I might have made in role of shocked newcomer would now begin to have hollow ring, and in view present violence of anti-Amer campaign am inclined to feel it would not be dignified to speak to Sov authorities unless initiative came from them or I had something specific to communicate.” (611.61/5–3052)