761.00/8–2152: Telegram

No. 520
The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Department of State

top secret

329. Kentel. Eyes only Secretary. Distribution S/S only. In addition to hypotheses put forward mytel 324, August 201 there is one more might be mentioned: Namely, that change will be in name only, membership of new Presidium being same as that of present Politburo and with Stalin himself taking chairmanship or with no chairman at all. This wld leave open, however, question why traditional body, anchored in history and consciousness of revolutionary movement and intimately associated with Stalin himself, should be abruptly abolished at inevitable cost considerable nervousness and speculation within Communist world, for so little result. It must be borne in mind this move will cause much consternation and questioning among satellite Communists, who we may be sure had no advance notice of it. They had for most part modelled their party institutions on those of Soviet Union, and Stalin’s personal leadership has most important implications for them. They cannot fail be shaken by any mysterious and abrupt changes this nature. For these and other reasons am reluctant to believe move is solely matter of name and has no deeper reason. Seems to me delicate implications this change are borne out by failure party leaders up to this time to give any explanation or comment that could aid others [Page 1042] in interpretation of move. If move were merely change of name, cannot see why this mystification should be necessary.