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Memorandum For Colonel Bundy
December 2, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to our ineffective efforts to Secure at least some insight on the air fields in eastern Siberia, Mr. Bullitt suggested to me today that our Consul General, Mr. Ward, would probably be able to get something for us on this.1 It would at least be worth the effort to get an inquiry to him direct, but it will be necessary that he does not confuse the issue.
Ambassador Steinhardt felt that some of our people, by implying to the Russians that we wanted this data for possible use in operations against Japan, had defeated our previous efforts, which were about to be successful.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. President Roosevelt had announced on November 25 that former ambassador William C. Bullitt would soon leave on a mission to the Near East as the president’s special representative; he was to study the political, military, and lend-lease aid situations. Angus I. Ward was the United States consul general in Vladivostok.
2. The question of United States air bases in eastern Siberia was a major issue when the new Soviet ambassador, Maxim M. Litvinov, arrived in Washington on December 7. Litvinov told Secretary of State Hull that such a concession would prompt a Japanese attack with disastrous results for the anti-Axis cause. (New York Times, December 9, 1941; Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State, December 11, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, 4: 742-44.)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 690.