795.00/7—2952: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Department of State

top secret

201. Have given careful thought Deptel 92, July 251 re Korean armistice. My views on specific questions raised by Dept follow:

Do not think it likely approach to Sovs at this time would exert any favorable effect on armistice negots unless we could demonstrate to Sov Govt by actions as well as words that alternative to prompt action by Sov Govt to bring about armistice wld be one having serious disadvantages for Kremlin.
Do not think any overt approach to Sov authorities would be apt produce much info on Sov attitudes toward continuation hostilities in Korea, unless it were one which, as per above, were backed up by some real means of pressure.
Not only do I feel such approach wld not be useful for purposes Dept has mentioned, but think it might actually have unfortunate and dangerous effect on general pattern of Sov-West relations unless, again, it were backed up by some real means of pressure.
Should it nevertheless be decided to make an approach, I think it should not be addressed to Vyshinsky. It would appear as a repetition of Kirk’s approach last November and fact that Kirk’s warnings of that time had proved as yet unsubstantial would not incline Vyshinsky and those who stand behind him to respect any warnings I might utter.
While deploring approach to Stalin now for general reasons, thinking it even uncertain whether I wld be received, I would consider this preferable to approaching Vyshinsky. In case of approach to Stalin [Page 427] would recommend that instead of confining discussion to Korea and making empty-handed plea for Sov help there an effort be made to discuss entire spectrum of US–Sov relations with him in such manner as to give grounds to hope that Korean question might eventually fall into place as part of general pattern. However, I reiterate I mention this only as something preferable to trying to talk about Korea alone, and do not consider that it wld be wise, on balance, for us to approach Stalin at all now.
Doubt very much, in any case, that any progress could be made in this matter by any overt approaches at official level. They would be bound, it seems to me, to become known abroad if not here and to put both Rus and Chi on spot. In fact, consider that such approaches might actually nullify whatever possibility might otherwise exist for inducing Soviet by quieter means to use authority in interests of achieving armistice.