711.5622/10–1752: Telegram

No. 531
The Chargé in the Soviet Union (O’Shaughnessy) to the Department of State1


688. Re urtel 426 Oct 16.2 I read our note to Pushkin. He replied that our note contains assertions with which the Sov Govt cannot agree. For example the assertions that Yuri Island is not Sov territory. He said that he had no intention of discussing this question now but that Yuri Island as a part of the Kurile Islands was transferred to Sov territory under Yalta agreement. With regard to the note’s assertion that the B–29 was unarmed he declared this to be in flagrant contradiction of the facts since it was determined by the Sov fighters that the B–29 opened fire on them after they had demanded that it follow them to the nearest airport.

I remarked that I could not understand how Yuri could be considered to be within the Sov frontiers and Pushkin at once replied “Yuri is Sov territory”. I said that the US Govt could not accept this proposition and that we could not regard Yuri as anything but Jap territory under Jap sovereignty and that I know of no existing agreement to the contrary. Pushkin said that he had nothing to add to this question, that it was not open to discussion. Pushkin stated that the note would be studied and that reply would be given after examination. He said that our note was based on two main points (1) that the airplane did not violate Sov territory and (2) that the plane was not armed. He said that it had been established that the Sov frontiers were violated by the plane and that the plane opened fire and “any further comments in the note [Page 1059] which flow from these two untrue statements are deprived of foundation”. I said that my govt certainly cannot accept the proposition that Sov frontiers had been violated since the airplane was not anywhere near Sov territory and that since the plane was unarmed it could hardly have opened fire.

Pushkin concluded this fruitless exchange by stating that they rejected the US Govt’s protest because it is groundless. He added that he did not doubt that the Sov Govt will insist on its protest.

  1. Repeated for information to Tokyo and to the U.S. Mission at the United Nations.
  2. Telegram 426 transmitted instructions for the delivery of the note described in this telegram. (711.5622/10–1652) For text of the note as delivered by Chargé O’Shaughnessy, see Department of State Bulletin, Oct. 27, 1952, p. 650. The note protested the action by Soviet aircraft on Oct. 7 in downing a U.S. Air Force B–29 bomber aircraft which carried no bombs and whose guns were inoperative, in the Yuri Island area of Kurile Islands. For text of the Soviet note of Oct. 12, see ibid., p. 649.