Microfilm telegram files, “Moscow FY 53”: Telegram

No. 569
The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Beam) to the Department of State1


1330. Following further impressions emerge from close scrutiny actions and words new Soviet Government.

Present leaders have a style of their own. Freed from Stalin’s oppressive presence they speak in their own right and it is noticeable Malenkov’s latest speeches different from manner he adopted at 19th Congress.2 Emphasis so far placed on colleagual unity although is apparent Malenkov and Beria are sources real power. Police control probably dominant with support being sought from nominal association army and old time party guard. Ministerial reorganizations [Page 1132] probably used displace non-Malenkov–Beria men and demotions may have aroused some bitterness. Key to stability doubtless lies in ability Malenkov and Beria to work together and although question is academic as long as cooperation continues, interesting to speculate who is really more powerful.

During initial transition period regime has been clever in appeals to internal and external public. Populace may have been fearful that Stalin who at least kept country out of war with West might be replaced by adventurous successors. Although credit given to Stalin to that extent, purges, vigilance measures and anti-US campaign seem to have created real feeling nervousness just prior to Stalin’s death. On taking power Malenkov obviously endeavored quickly reassure populace by general statements peaceful intentions. From what we can guess, Russian people relatively immune to anti-US indoctrination and on contrary genuinely afraid of prospect war with US which they knew Russia could not “get at” and defeat. Paradoxically, one most popular measures regime could adopt would probably be cessation anti-US campaign. On the other hand regime may be faced by dilemma of being forced continue spector external threat to evoke solidarity and also by inability to make external concessions for fear being considered weak. Close watch must be kept over propaganda line which is temporarily more restrained.

Regimes three biggest problems are maintenance living standards and relations with US and China, assuming satellites can be held together by police measures. Malenkov has given general assurances on all three accounts. Difficult to say which will have precedence but seems likely Malenkov is endeavoring maintain line with China before dealing with US. When examined closely his professions of friendly intentions do not go beyond if indeed as far as recent Peace Congress protestations. Improvement living conditions which would be useful to regime during transitional period and would assist in maintenance of order depends in large part on relaxation tension with US. While regime may be impelled toward this objective, difficult however to foresee any over-all settlement with West which would not basically undermine Soviet foreign policy position. Question is whether government will even try piecemeal concessions to obtain advantage relaxation Western defense measures and semblance peaceful coexistence. Until now, we see no concrete evidence government has departed from Stalinist world plans, although with the event of new men and possibly different conditions in relationship with China more flexible methods may be attempted.

  1. Repeated for information to London, Paris, Rome, and Belgrade.
  2. The comparison appears to be among Malenkov’s address of Oct. 5, 1952, his oration at the funeral of Stalin on Mar. 9, 1953 (see footnote 3, Document 559), and his address of Mar. 15, 1953, to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. presenting the new composition of the Council of Ministers. During the last address, Malenkov spoke briefly on foreign policy matters and included the following statement:

    “At present there is no disputed or unsolved question which could not be settled by peaceful means on the basis of mutual agreement of the countries concerned. This concerns our relations with all states, including the United States of America.”

    For full text of Malenkov’s Mar. 15 address, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1953, p. 11.