Interlude of the Mission

to the USSR

While the Iranian Mission was tackling its first assignment in Iraq, a second War Department mission was at large in the Persian Corridor. Conceived in logic, born in ambiguity, the U.S. Military Mission to the USSR1 was doomed to the functionlessness of a fifth wheel on a cart. After six months, only three of them spent in the field, it expired in frustration. Its brief career is as much a part of the Russian-aid program as are the more successful efforts which followed it.

Why and Where?

Lend-lease to Great Britain involved not only the procurement and shipment of defense materials, but a permissive follow-through in certain instances on the part of the United States until the recipient was able to use the materials himself. In the case of complicated machines like tanks and aircraft, American technicians sometimes went along with shipments to British recipients and were as indispensable as the doctor's directions on a bottle of medicine. In Egypt American officers observed the performance of American materials, and American technicians organized the means for instructing the British in the operation and maintenance of unfamiliar American products.

After the First ( Moscow ) Protocol of 1 October 1941 pledged specific quantities of American materials for Russian aid and a mission under Colonel Faymonville-representing the civilian-controlled Lend-Lease Administration-was established in Moscow, steps were taken to provide the same sort of accommodation for the Soviets in anticipation of the impending declaration (to come on 7 November)


of USSR eligibility for lend-lease. The Air Force developed a plan to make available a detachment of officers, enlisted men, and civilians "to render technical advice and to supervise the maintenance of American aircraft" to be furnished the Soviets under lend-lease. The Ordnance Department proposed organizing "a group of civilian experts" under contract to Amtorg, Soviet-American trading company, to instruct the Russians in the care and maintenance of ordnance, especially tanks. Technicians were engaged and held in readiness late in October to depart, when word reached Washington that the Moscow government would issue no visas for them. Although Ambassador Laurence Steinhardt was assured by Andrei Y. Vyshinsky, Vice-Chairman, Council of Peoples' Commissars, that visas would be immediately telegraphed to Washington, they were not promptly forthcoming. The plan languished as the United States made clear that it did not insist on sending this sort of aid, its wish being to make technical assistance available only if desired.2

This reluctance to receive civilian technicians within Soviet borders, prophetic of the rock in the stream of co-operation upon which the USSR Mission was later to founder, was making itself manifest just as that mission was being established by the designation on 28 October of Maj. Gen. John N. Greely as its chief.3 The Maxwell and Wheeler missions, established under the provisions of the Middle East Directive, had been in existence for one month. The time lag in the organization of the Greely mission is explained on two grounds. First, the status of the Soviet Union relative to lend-lease was not yet fixed as was the status of Great Britain; and secondly, there was the Faymonville mission at Moscow. At the time that Colonel Faymonville was designated to remain in Moscow in charge of lend-lease matters, there was some War Department opinion in favor of replacing him by "the assignment of a Brigadier General to head that mission with a status similar to that of Generals Magruder, Maxwell, and Wheeler."4 After a month's time, and with no alteration in the status of the Faymonville mission, the U.S. Military Mission to the USSR was established. It was logical to set up a War Department lend-lease mission for the USSR on the analogy of those created for Great Britain. It was ambiguous to do so


without settling the relationship between the new military mission and the existent civilian one. The new USSR Mission was ordered to proceed by an undesignated route to Kuybyshev, the auxiliary Russian capital some five hundred miles east of Moscow. On 19 November The New York Times reported that an American military mission was about to leave for Archangel. On that same day, having heard the news via a London broadcast, Colonel Faymonville addressed an inquiry to Washington: "With regard to mission of John Greely to North Russia, announced in London broadcast, information is requested as to duration, object and composition of said mission." To job seekers who wanted to go along, General Greely wrote that the publicity was "unauthorized and inexact." To Faymonville went a vague but reassuring reply and the promise that he would be kept informed.5

General Greely's Letter of Instructions defined his "principal function" as assurance of "the timely establishment and operation of supply, maintenance, and training facilities as required by present and contemplated Russian or other friendly operations within or based upon your area." The area was to be that controlled by the USSR with boundaries, for administrative purposes, to be settled in agreement with the chiefs of the China and Iranian Missions with notice to the Secretary of War. In all other respects the authority and duties granted and enjoined were identical with those contained in General Wheeler's Letter of Instructions.

Two points require stress. First, at the time of the formation of the USSR Mission its training and observation functions bulked large in the minds of the planners. Although published months after the situation had altered drastically, the President's report to the Congress on the first year of lend-lease described the early conception of the Greely mission. It read:

Russian Mission: The major assignments of this mission will be to instruct Russia's soldiers in the characteristics of American-made weapons, and to decide by observation on the spot, supplemented by knowledge of our domestic problems, what types of aid we can best supply. Aside from what they can contribute to Russia's effort, the experience these officers will gain from their participation in the Russian campaign will be of priceless value to the general staff of our own Army.6

Second, General Greely has recorded that it was first intended that his mission would enter Russia through Archangel, to which port, along with Murmansk, supplies for the Soviet Union were still flowing in 1941. By the end of November, however, plans had crystallized suffi-


ciently for him to write that he expected to depart for Iran, going thence into the Soviet Union.7 These two points, the purpose of the mission as an operating entity and its admission into Russia, were to loom large during the ensuing five months. Purpose and destination were separate but interacting problems. Both were affected, during the period when effort was made to solve them, by the fact of the mission's creation by analogy with other War Department lend-lease missions in spite of the existence of the civilian mission in Russia. The interaction of all forces made for ambiguity. The cloudy vagueness grew yet more cloudy after the decision to go to the USSR via Iran. Would there be room in the Corridor for two military missions with overlapping powers and duties? Under the circumstances, what were Greely's duties?

Fifth Wheel

In requesting the Secretary of War for twelve officers and twelve enlisted men for foreign service and five officers to staff the home office in Washington, Greely described the primary duty of the mission as supervisory. His staff as approved for overseas duty included, besides Col. John N. Hauser, chief of staff, an executive officer, an adjutant, an interpreter; and quartermaster, finance, air, medical, ordnance, and signals officers. At the first staff meeting, held in Washington on 3 December, it was brought out that General Greely planned to fly to Basra in January. Discussion of the change in destination of cargoes, formerly intended for Archangel and now awaiting ships for Basra, indicated that the USSR Mission's home office, which gathered information on Soviet needs and how to meet them, was occupied with the procurement and shipping aspects of the Letter of Instructions. The supervisory duties, regarded at the beginning by Greely as primary, would fall within the shipping and delivery aspects of the lend-lease process. But inasmuch as late November planning by the USSR Mission definitely envisaged a stay of uncertain duration in Iran en route to the USSR, supervision of the delivery of tanks, planes, and other materials of war within the Persian Corridor immediately raised the question of division of labor between the Greely and Wheeler missions. To be sure, General Wheeler's primary function at the start was construction; but by his Letter of Instructions he was as deeply involved in all other stages of the delivery process as was Greely. The engineer report drawn


up in Washington in late November attempted to distinguish between Wheeler's sole control of all War Department operations in the theater based on the Persian Gulf including supervision of direct deliveries of war materials in Iraq and Iran, and Greely's responsibility for delivery to Russia. But it was a distinction without a difference. The two functions were virtually identical.8

More serious even was the inadequate realization in Washington at this time of what the word delivery meant in actual practice in the field. If it meant assembly of aircraft and motor vehicles and their dispatch from the assembly plants to near-by or remote Soviet receiving points by a variety of means of transport, then General Wheeler's mission was clearly responsible for this aspect of the lend-lease delivery process. If, on the other hand, planners in Washington thought of delivery as the movement and transportation of cargoes within the Persian Corridor, then the British Army was clearly responsible, and all any American could do was to advise and assist, which was just what General Wheeler was already doing.

General Greely was aware of the potential overlap of two missions in one area. It is not clear what Washington thought delivery meant. At all events, Greely saw no reason to unfold American uncertainties to the Russians. He therefore suggested that the War Department inform Maxim M. Litvinov, Soviet Ambassador at Washington, as follows:

In order to comply with delivery of supplies to the USSR under the Protocol, a U.S. Military Mission is operating in Iran to develop lines of supply from the head of the Persian Gulf.

In addition a small military Mission of about 25 including 10 officers and headed by Major General John N. Greely is leaving shortly for Iran with the principal responsibility of furthering delivery of military materiel to the USSR along this route. General Greely's Mission will naturally operate through the Iranian Mission and British authorities in that area. The United States Government would like to be informed by the Government of the USSR as to which of its representatives in Iran it would be most advantageous for General Greely to contact, in order to best meet this responsibility.

It would certainly be advantageous for some or all of General Greely's Mission to be furnished with visas for the USSR prior to departure from this country, in order to facilitate communication with the Embassy of the United States in the USSR. In case any objection exists to this procedure, it is desired that the


representative of the USSR in Iran be directed to furnish visas to the personnel of General Greely's Mission if and when it appears desirable.9

Here, along with a clear statement of the paramount responsibilities of the British and their auxiliary, the Iranian Mission, was a declaration of the USSR Mission's "principal responsibility of furthering delivery" through the Persian Corridor. Here also was an intimation, delicately cushioned, that the USSR Mission, which had, after all, been established by the War Department for the express purpose of operating from Soviet soil, would like visas for "some or all" of its members "if and when it appears desirable," preferably before the mission left the United States, if not, upon arrival in Tehran.

There is no discoverable record that the War Department sent General Greely's information and request to the Soviet Ambassador at Washington; but Greely himself did shortly afterward call upon Mr. Litvinov and came away, as he wrote General Moore, with that official's "agreement . . . to make contact with the Ambassador of the USSR at Tehran."10 Four months later Greely recalled that Litvinov "agreed to notify the Ambassador of the USSR in Iran" that the Americans, recognizing the reluctance of the Russians to admit technicians capable of assembling and operating lend-lease goods at the northern Russian ports, had decided-to send a mission to Iran to carry on further negotiations from there.11 The upshot of the conversation between the general and the ambassador was an assurance to the Department of State by the War Department that the Greely mission would proceed to Russia, and a message sent at Greely's request to the United States military attache' at Tehran stating that Greely would establish headquarters "probably" at Tehran "to facilitate delivery of materiel to USSR authorities at that point."12 Here was optimism tempered by realism. The optimism would have been less had it been realized at the time, as it was later, that Ambassador Litvinov did not regard General Greely's call upon him as formal notification by the government of the United States to the government of the USSR of


American intention to dispatch a military mission to the Soviet Union. Until such notice was formally served upon it, the Soviet Government would take no steps to provide entrance visas. Indeed it is doubtful if the Department of State would have regarded the call as anything but a personal courtesy.13

With the question of admittance of the mission into Soviet territory still open, General Greely now completed his preparations for departure. One officer and eleven enlisted men had already sailed on the Siboney for Basra, and Greely with six officers departed by air from Miami for Cairo on 19 January. Just before his departure, Greely presented the Deputy Chief of Staff with his immediate plan of operation. Because General Wheeler's mission was located at Baghdad, Greely would establish his headquarters at Tehran, would spread his personnel out over the line of delivery from the Gulf ports northward, and would proceed to get deliveries to the USSR under control first in the south, then in the north, and finally inside the USSR.14

After stopping in Cairo for conferences with Generals Maxwell and Adler and British officials from 27 to 31 January, Greely proceeded on the 31st to Basra. En route, at Habbaniya, he found the commander of the Royal Air Force in Iraq, Air Vice-Marshal Sir John H, d'Albiac, desirous that delivery of American planes assembled in the Basra area be effected by the United States, inasmuch as it was undesirable, from the British point of view, to billet a sufficient number of Soviet pilots in Basra to make their own deliveries, and there were not enough British pilots available.15 His conferences at Cairo and Habbaniya had convinced Greely that "since the Iranian Mission had in hand supply to the USSR in that area, General Greely's mission would not interfere with this local activity, but would enter the USSR as promptly as possible and concern itself with supply and kindred activities to that nation as a whole."16

Promptly after his arrival in Tehran on 4 February, Greely called upon Andrei A. Smirnov, the Soviet Ambassador. On the 6th he dispatched a letter to him, stating that Greely's first duty had been "to assist in sending military materiel from the United States to the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics. I came to Iran to observe passage of


such materiel through Iran, but responsibility for passage through this area remains with General Wheeler. I was advised by your Ambassador in the United States, Mr. Litvinov, to contact you to determine future action."17 The letter explained that in the view of the United States it would be advantageous to both countries if Greely's mission could observe, and assist in, the use of lend-lease materials, and requested Smirnov to issue visas "for my Mission of eleven officers and thirteen non-commissioned officers." A copy of this letter was transmitted to General Moore with the request that he ask Litvinov to approve the letter in order "to make sure of quick action."18

Ten days later, in a dispatch to Washington, Greely raised the question as to whether his mission should go to Russia after all. His message follows:

On receiving your decision, urgently requested, as to whether threatening situation in Middle East alters desirability my Mission's proceeding to Russia, I can and will to my best judgment issue all orders required, advising you if emergency demands. Ambassador of USSR in Tehran should be instructed make all arrangements for entry, including visas, if Mission is to proceed to Russia. Otherwise, since it would be foolish to intrude on Wheeler who has in hand transfer of supplies to Russia in this region, my Mission should be used somewhere else-in my opinion, at nearest point where American troops are to be sent: if in Middle East, which I believe needs rear installations far less than divisions, my headquarters should be Cairo to make plans for employing troops there and for coordinating Maxwell and Wheeler missions; if no American troops are to be employed in Middle East, I recommend we move to Far East, to Australia first, presumably, to join troops there. Threat to entire position in Middle East within 60 days seem likely to me.19

Command and Conflict

There were now three problems to be untangled: the question of entrance into the USSR; the definition of the purposes of the USSR Mission; and, the inevitable corollary of the second, the question of command relationships among the Americans. All three were thrown squarely into Washington's lap. Yet, until the Russians resolved the first, Washington could do nothing about the second; while the third, involving General Wheeler's late February appointment to General Stilwell's staff in India, depended upon changes in the status of the Iranian Mission, recounted in the previous chapter, which culminated


in Colonel Shingler's succession to the command of that mission on 4 April.

Sensing that the continuing Soviet inaction in the matter of the visas indicated an indefinite stay for the USSR Mission in Iran, General Greely on 9 March suggested to Washington that he absorb Wheeler's functions for Iran, leaving Iraq to Wheeler, and that Greely take over shipments to Russia from the south while Faymonville handled them from the north.20 Numerous similar suggestions followed throughout March, accompanied by a steady stream of reports to Washington on the functioning of the Wheeler mission.

The Iranian Mission, in addition to its responsibilities for engineering construction works, furnished the British technical advice and assistance in the assembly of motor vehicles and aircraft at plants in the Basra area and at Bushire. There were also the unloading of ships and the movement of their cargoes by inland transport. General Wheeler found himself forced to serve the needs of both the British and the Russians. Into this complicated three-cornered situation General Greely threw himself with enthusiasm. His officers explored the supply routes, south, north, and east, all the way to the port of Pahlevi on the Caspian Sea.21 When the Soviet Ambassador at Tehran complained to Greely that "more than 1,000 trucks, enough to move two divisions," were lying in crates scattered in the fields around Andimeshk, Greely dispatched a party which reported on 29 March that it was true.22 Delays in British construction at Andimeshk had held up the commencement of assembly operations there by General Motors until 26 March. General Greely also reported to Washington on port operations, the matter about which Ambassador Bullitt had questioned General Wheeler in January. He felt that the small deliveries via the Gulf ports, of which the Russians were complaining, were attributable to British commercial agents. The "necessity of dealing with the British in general" was cited in a later message as impeding aid to Russia. Greely reported that he agreed with the Soviets that "logically" they should take delivery direct at the ports without Anglo-American intervention. He concluded, "International politics seem to forbid this."23 The dissatisfaction of the Soviet Commissar of Foreign Trade over the "unsatisfactory condition of trucks which arrive through Bushire under


British supervision and [are] delivered to the Russians at Tehran" was relayed to Greely from Faymonville via the USSR Mission's home office in Washington.24 A report to Washington from the USSR Mission noted friction between Russians and Americans at Basra over trucks, of which the Soviets had rejected forty out of two hundred delivered.25

The severity of Soviet inspections of American materials caused a good deal of friction which in one instance was referred to higher levels. On 16 February there arrived at Basra a Russian mission-headed by Ivan S. Karmilitsin, Chief of Engineering, Division of Peoples' Commissariat of Foreign Trade-with the purpose of testing for acceptance seventy-seven twin-motored light Boston bombers and arranging for their delivery to the USSR. On 28 February General Faymonville informed Mr. Stettinius, at lend-lease headquarters, Washington, that "one Mr. Gillis, allegedly an American who is understood here to be an assistant to General Wheeler," had considered as insufficient the credentials of Mr. Karmilitsin.26 As the "Mr. Gillis" was Lt. Col. John A. Gillies, commanding Wheeler's field headquarters at Basra, The Adjutant General ordered General Greely to investigate and report. On 10 March Greely nrdered his chief of staff, Colonel Hauser, to proceed to Basra, adding, "Advise General Wheeler en route if you contact him."27

The planes, designed for the British, to be rearmed by them, and diverted by high-level agreement to the Russians, were to be delivered by the Americans. The affair, complicated by misinformation and misunderstanding, produced in Hauser's report recommendations which met as far as possible every demand of the Russians and which contributed to better co-ordination of the activities of the USSR and Iranian Missions. By an unhappy irony, on the very date of General Faymonville's cable, Colonel Gillies and Mr. Karmilitsin perished together in a Soviet plane accident.28

The report and attached papers show the Russians to have been captious and overexacting about living quarters and the supply of quinine assigned to them. On the other hand, they also show that the military and civilian members of the Soviet mission proved to be highly qualified and hard working, technically well informed, and


fair in their demands concerning the condition and equipment of delivered aircraft. Assembly at Shu'aiba they had found not too efficient, nor the condition of the aircraft uniformly satisfactory. The Americans had combined a large degree of obligingness with some show of condescension, and there had been a clash of personalities. Colonel Hauler recommended no formal finding, owing to the death of the principals. His suggestions were happily accepted on the Soviet side and promptly applied on the Anglo-American.

The Hauler report was perhaps the most constructive act of the USSR Mission; but as a report by one American mission on the work of another American mission in the same area with similar responsibilities, it was evidence of confusion in the command relationship. Accordingly, Greely pursued the question of command. On the date, 16 March, of the submission to him of the Hauler report, Greely cabled Washington

Now convinced I must keep officers at assembly plants erected or controlled by Wheeler. This should include Abadan plant [for aircraft assembly. To have it controlled from Cairo would mean impossible complications. Senior officer in each area [North Africa, Iran] must co-ordinate all activities therein. Have asked Wheeler to come here [Tehran on return from India with recommendations for future action. No criticism of him personally intended. In case he not return I recommend that Hauler be promoted and placed in command of all activities in Iran on basis that supply to USSR is most immediately important.29

On 21 March Greely asked the War Department whether Wheeler, who had gone to India on the 7th, was to return to Basra. If so, Greely would arrange with Wheeler for improving the situation; if not, Greely announced that he would assume command of the Iranian Mission, subject to War Department confirmation, leaving Colonel Hauler "in charge" of unspecified duties, presumably those of the USSR Mission. On 27 March Greely cabled Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at Operations Division, Washington, that he was expecting General Wheeler's views .to be submitted immediately. On 2 April General Greely again proposed himself to command the Iranian Mission.30

This proposal was supported in the War Department by Brig. Gen. Henry S. Aurand, Director, International Division, SOS, with the concurrence of General Somervell and Brig. Gen. Robert W. Crawford, General Eisenhower's deputy in OPD.31 On 2 April General Wheeler


sent General Somervell at Washington his view that Colonel Shingler should carry on for the Iranian Mission and that the program outlined to General Moore was being followed, with various concessions to the Russians, "even though extra expense or delay were involved. Relations between British and Russians did not favor expeditious handling of supplies and frequently required American co-ordination."32

Wheeler continued:

Colonel Shingler has high executive ability, energy, tact and professional qualifications. We have planned all details together since organization of the Mission and I have confidence in his judgment and actions during my absence and assume full responsibility therefor. I shall visit the area from time to time as soon as certain projects are under way in India. All Mission projects can be handled more expeditiously from India than from Russia because of port, ordnance, vehicle assembly and command co-ordination.

Meanwhile the USSR Mission's home office had been reporting that Greely was considered the number one man in the area and that highly secret information in Washington was going about to the effect that General Greely might "assume command of the entire area which would include the Iranian Mission . . . . Everyone here believes that you are doing the best job that has been done to date in the Far East [sick in co-ordinating activities in the Persian Gulf up to Tehran and from there further north and feels that our Mission is indispensable."33

The interest of the North African Mission in some of the responsibilities of the Iranian Mission added a stimulus for Greely's proposal of 2 April. On 1 April he received from his home office a report that Colonel Miles, North African Mission ordnance officer, who was also acting ordnance officer for the Iranian Mission, had arrived at Washington with a "strong plea to authorities for Maxwell to control both Iran and Iraq areas. As British control area, nothing can be done without their authority. Miles stated his belief that Maxwell can better control situation at Cairo."34


The Chief of Staff's solution of the command problem-the appointment of Colonel Shingler to succeed General Wheeler as chief of the Iranian Mission-was communicated to General Greely on 7 April.35 But there were still two American military missions in the Persian Corridor, and the USSR Mission had not yet received its visas for the Soviet Union. If the problem of command was temporarily set at rest, there yet remained the questions of what the USSR Mission was to do and where it was to do it.

Russia Unvisited

General Greely's Letter of Instructions ordered his mission to proceed to Kuybyshev. His call upon Ambassador Smirnov in February, his letter to that dignitary, and his appeals to Washington for help, had failed to advance the USSR Mission on the road to Russia. On 11 March Greely tried another tack. He ordered his signals officer, Capt. Carl J. Dougovito, to proceed to Kuybyshev, having obtained for him a diplomatic visa as a courier for the Department of State. Captain Dougovito was instructed to urge the American diplomatic representatives in the USSR to apply to the Soviet Government to issue the visas necessary if the mission was to carry out its War Department instructions. Captain Dougovito was supplied with a copy of General Greely's Letter of Instructions and was told to be guided by it in discussing the purposes of the mission and to proceed on the assumption that the USSR would admit the mission.36 Dougovito remained in Russia from 13 March to 2 June. His report was submitted more than a month after the USSR Mission had been terminated. It indicated that it had not been possible to enlist the aid of the American diplomatic representatives. The U.S. Minister at Kuybyshev, Walter Thurston, felt, Dougovito reported, "that the objectives listed in the memorandum from General Greely could not be accomplished, and that our efforts would be ineffectual if we did enter the Soviet Union." In Dougovito's opinion General Faymonville was "apparently accomplishing his objective."37

In Dougovito's absence, General Greely continued his efforts from Tehran. He told Washington that Soviet Ambassador Smirnov had


been authorized to issue visas for Greely and two others and that Greely hoped to fly to Russia in two weeks.38 It should be observed that in this entire affair Moscow never refused to grant temporary visas for individuals or groups of individuals, members of the mission, to make short visits. It was permanent entry for the mission as a whole that was found objectionable.39 On 21 March Greely again wrote Ambassador Smirnov to tell him that the Chief of Staff, Gen. George C. Marshall, believed that the Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs intended to issue visas to Greely "and party." The visas now issued for Greely and two others were sufficient, the letter continued, for the present; but "my government" is under the impression that twenty-one more will be authorized. "It will possibly be desirable for me," General Greely wrote, "to have some of this personnel join me in Moscow later"; and, "It would seem best to clear up what seems to be a misunderstanding in order to prevent delay in the future."40

While awaiting a reply to this announcement of intention to proceed to Russia in expectation of later arrival of the rest of his mission, General Greely tried to hop a ride to Moscow which was refused, and refused a lift which was offered. In the first instance the plane was one carrying the new American Ambassador to the USSR, Admiral Standley; but the admiral, while disclaiming any authority over the USSR Mission, declined to permit Greely to board his plane, insisting that to do so might, in the absence of a clearly expressed desire for the mission on the part of the Soviet Government, make the admiral appear to sponsor the mission. At this point, the Soviets offered General Greely flight in one of their planes. Greely declined, and decided not to budge until the War Department, which had ordered him to proceed to Russia, could resolve the matter with the Department of State.41

Greely's mild and unhurried letter to Smirnov was counterbalanced by an urgent appeal to the War Department to enlist the good offices of the Department of State in requesting Ambassador Smirnov to issue twenty-one additional visas. The Secretary of War promptly complied with a letter to the Secretary of State summarizing Greely's Letter of Instructions and suggesting that the Soviet Government be formally requested to admit within its borders eleven officers and fourteen enlisted men of the USSR Mission.42


General Faymonville now informed the Lend-Lease Administration in Washington that General Greely had requested that Captain Dougovito, who was admitted into the Soviet Union as a State Department courier, be transmogrified into a military attache' and added to Faymonville's staff. As it was necessary to request Soviet approval of this alteration in Dougovito's status, the American Embassy was requested by Faymonville to make suitable representations.43 If in some quarters the change in Dougovito's status was looked upon as a minor infiltration and in others as illustrating that there are more ways than one to skin a cat, it provided off-stage noises while Ambassador Standley, at the request of Summer Welles, considered the question of visas for the USSR Mission.

Admiral Standley sent in his opinion on 18 April and it was adverse.44 He advised the Department of State that there was a British military mission in Russia, but that the Americans executed similar functions through their military attache' and their lend-lease mission under General Faymonville. He noted that "the Soviet has not, with minor exceptions, taken any advantage of the repeated offers made by General Faymonville of the services of technicians and of any other help which might be needed," thus calling attention to Soviet reluctance to agree to that part of General Greely's Letter of Instructions which authorized American assistance to the Soviet Union in training Soviet personnel in maintenance and use of American-made materiel, equipment, and munitions. Other provisions of that letter seemed to Ambassador Standley to raise obstacles to smooth operations because of potentially overlapping responsibilities. The authority given to the chief of the USSR Mission to control all military personnel in his area would, the ambassador noted, enable Greely to "embody in his office the Military Attache' or the functions of the Military Attache'," functions associated with the office of the ambassador. Furthermore, the Letter of Instructions issued by the War Department stipulated that the chief of the USSR Mission would inform American diplomatic representatives in his area of such matters as seemed to him appropriate; and this provision, the ambassador wrote, would render Greely wholly independent as to informing the ambassador of mission activities within the Soviet Union. Admiral Standley did not therefore discuss the matter of visas for the Greely mission with the Soviet Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.


General Greely's home office relayed him an account of Standley's views, noted that General Aurand was urging the Department of State to clarify the situation, and concluded that it was generally felt that Greely should establish himself in Tehran and operate from there.45

But events failed .to confirm the home office's information, just as they had similarly contradicted its intimations as to command a few weeks earlier. Although the War Department was willing to give up the effort to put the mission into Russia and to leave it in the Corridor along with the Iranian Mission, the Department of State saw the mission as a closed book. On 1 May Cordell Hull telephoned Henry L. Stimson and asked him to get the Greely mission out of Tehran forthwith. Mr. Stimson said he would. There was nothing further to do except to send a letter from the Secretary of War to General Greely revoking the Letter of Instructions of six months previous. The letter of revocation, dated 2 May, stated that dissolution of the USSR Mission cast no reflection upon General Greely, but was caused by failure to obtain the necessary diplomatic clearance from the Soviet Government.46

Promptly following upon dissolution of the mission came assignment to the Iranian Mission of what was called additional responsibility for handling and forwarding through Iran all military materiel destined for the USSR. The assignment indicates that even at that late date there were those in Washington who did not realize that such duties were already implicit in the tasks of the Iranian Mission, subject only to its auxiliary status vis-a-vis the British. But, thanks to the decision of Secretary Hull, all three problems which had dogged the USSR Mission's short life were solved at one stroke of the pen. Nine of Greely's officers and fourteen of his men were immediately transferred to the Iranian Mission. One officer was returned to the United States. Greely and Hauser stood by for further orders.47

It is an oversimplification to attribute the end of the mission solely to the reluctance of the USSR to admit its membership as a whole. Determination of causes requires an examination of opinion within the American Embassy in Russia impossible within the limits of this


history.48 For whatever reasons, Greely's personal calls and letters were the only American requests for visas made directly to the Soviets. Incomplete co-ordination of policy by the State and War Departments weighed in the final outcome. The record further shows that the fate, unforeseen, but nevertheless perhaps not unforeseeable, of being a fifth wheel on the Russian-aid cart contributed to the mission's demise; and the record is clear that up to the last, the War Department maintained its support for two parallel missions in the Persian Corridor.

On the credit side of the ledger, the USSR Mission performed useful field surveys and satisfactorily smoothed out the difficulties which arose over the Shu'aiba assembly operations. Something of the frustration which shrouded its short existence may be mitigated if the lessons its story teaches are studied and learned.



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