611.61/6–2052: Telegram

No. 512
The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Department of State


2050. Reflecting further on yesterday’s talk with Vyshinsky, I think explanation of his attitude may well lie in fact that we have to deal here with the different elements within Soviet power structure, namely Foreign Office on one hand, and certain powerful party and police elements behind scenes, on other hand. (See Embtel 2044, June 191). I have distinct impression that not only did FonOff have nothing to do with initiating this campaign, which wld be only natural in the light of its relatively subordinate and executory role in Soviet power structure, but that most higher officials, probably including Vyshinsky himself, have general realization how unwise and dangerous a procedure it has been, have inwardly not approved it, but may have been told from higher up only that campaign was answer to irritating and offensive public attacks against Sov power in US and have until recently been unable to find any means to bring about its modification. Think it likely that Secretary’s statements to Panyushkin may have provided Foreign Office with evidence to demonstrate that campaign might have undesirable [Page 1014] and unintended political implications and that this may have had real effect. Atrocity propaganda has fallen off noticeably in recent days, and Malik’s recent refusal at UN to permit discussion Korea in connection with bacteriological warfare convention, plus his own failure at this stage to bring up specific charges against us in this connection, may well be indicative of this change.

For purposes of clarity, would add that I do not conclude from Panyushkin’s and Vyshinsky’s statements that irritation over US attacks and digs is the only reason for campaign in minds of its real authors; but it may be only reason given to FonOff, and its relative importance is probably somewhat greater than my earlier reports would indicate.