601.9161/2–1953: Telegram

No. 543
The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Beam) to the Department of State1


1196. Indian Ambassador Menon2 last night gave me account of his interview with Stalin February 17. He said he had not requested interview but was informed last Friday Stalin would like to see him in next few days. Menon thinks he was received as courtesy because Stalin desired talk with Kitchlew.3

Menon was impressed, as was Argentine Ambassador4 at his interview some ten days ago, with Stalin’s good health and air of confidence. Fifteen minutes Menon’s half hour talk with Stalin were taken up by latter’s dissertation on the equal treatment of nationalities in USSR together with discussion of language problems in Russia and India. Passing to political affairs Menon expressed disappointment rejection POW resolution in UN, outlining Indian efforts localize and settle dispute including Indian opposition to UN forces going thirty-eighth parallel in Korea. He said he explained fully reasonableness UN POW proposal. To all this Stalin repeatedly said “yes, yes,” but seemed to show little interest and to Menon’s disappointment did not seize the opening for basic discussion or the presentation of new proposals.

Stalin brought up the question of the US Seventh Fleet and Formosa as an example of the difficulty of dealing with the Americans. Menon said that the recent US decision had likewise caused concern in his country, as expressed by Nehru, but that he regarded the Americans as a people of good will. Stalin replied that there were many good Americans but that unfortunately the US was governed by profit motives. Referring to India’s relations with [Page 1079] Japan, Stalin predicted that Japan’s competition would soon undercut India’s industry.

At the end of the conversation Stalin mentioned he “liked to see some of the Ambassadors in Moscow”. Menon thanked him for the cooperation he had received from the Foreign Office, regarding which Stalin remarked, “even the shepherds are hospitable in Russia.”

Menon told me he had a brief talk with Kitchlew yesterday regarding the latter’s interview with Stalin which took place one hour after his own and lasted about 70 minutes. According to Kitchlew, Stalin expressed a personal liking for President Eisenhower but believed his hands were tied by the capitalists around him.

Menon leaving February 25 for two weeks visit Hungary where he accredited. He said he had arranged to have his letters of credence addressed to Hungarian Chief of State by title rather than by name since he “was not sure who would be there to receive him by the time he arrived.”

Commonwealth representatives here, to whom Menon made substantially same report, have remarked on Stalin’s apparent obsession that capitalism is blocking world peace. Both they and Menon consider that while interview does not indicate any new Soviet aggressive intention in near future, it showed no sign of yielding or conciliation.

  1. Repeated for information to Paris, London, and New Delhi. At Secretary Dulles’ request, Special Assistant John W. Hanes, Jr., sent a copy of this telegram to the White House on Feb. 24 as being of possible interest to President Eisenhower.
  2. K. P. S. Menon, Indian Ambassador in the Soviet Union from Oct. 19, 1952.
  3. Indian writer and winner of a Stalin Prize; leader of an Indian “peace delegation” which visited the USSR during the month of February 1953.
  4. Luis Bravo, Argentine Ambassador in the USSR, called upon Stalin at the Kremlin on Feb. 7. Ambassador Bravo indicated to the press afterward that the meeting had been devoted mainly to discussions of Soviet-Argentine trade negotiations. Bravo also stated that Stalin appeared to be in robust health.