Franklin D. Roosevelt

Exchange of Letters with Mikhail Kalinin. (October 10 and 17, 1933)

October 10, 1933

The President, on October 20, 1933, made public the following correspondence:

Washington, October 10, 1933

My dear Mr. President:

Since the beginning of my Administration, I have contemplated the desirability of an effort to end the present abnormal relations between the hundred and twenty-five million people of the United States and the hundred and sixty million people of Russia.

It is most regrettable that these great peoples, between whom a happy tradition of friendship existed for more than a century to their mutual advantage, should now be without a practical method of communicating directly with each other.

The difficulties that have created this anomalous situation are serious but not, in my opinion, insoluble; and difficulties between great Nations can be removed only by frank, friendly conversations. If you are of similar mind, I should be glad to receive 'any representatives you may designate to explore with me personally all questions outstanding between our countries.

Participation in such a discussion would, of course, not commit either Nation to any future course of action, but would indicate a sincere desire to reach a satisfactory solution of the problems' involved. It is my hope that such conversations might result in good to the people of both our countries.

I am, my dear Mr. President,

Very sincerely yours,


Mr. Mikhail Kalinin,

President of the All Union Central Executive Committee, Moscow.

Moscow, October 17, 1933

My dear Mr. President:

I have received your message of October tenth.

I have always considered most abnormal and regrettable a situation wherein, during the past sixteen years, two great Republics—The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—have lacked the usual methods of communication and have been deprived of the benefits which such communication could give. I am glad to note that you also reached the same conclusion.

There is no doubt that difficulties, present or arising, between two countries, can be solved only when direct relations exist between them; and that, on the other hand, they have no chance for solution in the absence of such relations. I shall take the liberty further to express the opinion that the abnormal situation, to which you correctly refer in your message, has an unfavorable effect not only on the interests of the two States concerned, but also on the general international situation, increasing the element of disquiet, complicating the process of consolidating world peace and encouraging forces tending to disturb that peace.

In accordance with the above, I gladly accept your proposal to send to the United States a representative of the Soviet Government to discuss with you the questions of interest to our countries. The Soviet Government will be represented by Mr. M. M. Litvinov, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, who will come to Washington at a time to be mutually agreed upon.

I am, my dear Mr. President,

Very sincerely yours,


Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt,

President of the United States of America, Washington.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Exchange of Letters with Mikhail Kalinin. (October 10 and 17, 1933) Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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