16. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

1235. For R. Air Attaché has received no recent or detailed information referred to in third paragraph CA–3790 Nov 14,2 nor any indication of cover story. I assume that information which it is hoped warrant possible political repercussion, but hope very warrant possible political repercussion, but hope very much that Dept has anticipated use Soviets might make of this operation when, as would appear inevitable, it becomes known through balloons landing on Soviet territory and opportunity for damaging propaganda exploitation which this might afford. While Soviets might prefer to ignore operation in view of extreme sensitivity on balloon question/believe we should be prepared for every type Soviet political and propaganda reaction, possibly including raising matter UN. Anticipation of possible reaction is particularly important since in this instance there can be no question of disguising direct US Govt responsibility.

In view imminent inauguration project believe important that Air attaché here should be given soonest cover story.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 700.5411/11–3055. Top Secret.
  2. Supra.