American diplomats on a rendezvous with soviet policy and russian culture (1941–1945)

Vasily Khristoforov


The article studies the activity of American diplomats in the USSR during World War II, the protagonist being Llewellyn Thompson (1904–1972), who worked for the US Embassy between February 1941 and October 1944. The period was marked by the activity of three American ambassadors, with several diplomats acting as Chargé d’Affaires. Referring to a number of previously unknown documents in the Central Archive of the Security Service of the Russian Federation, it has become possible to consider some of the peculiarities of American diplomats’ service in the Soviet Union during World War II. The historical sources create an image of this diplomat that reflects his sincere love for Russian culture, a deep sympathy for the suffering of the Russian people, and intensive activity to establish connections between the two countries. The first part of the article discusses Thompson’s career prior to the Great Patriotic War (his arrival in the USSR and work for the embassy). After the evacuation of the US Embassy to Kuybyshev in October 1941, Thompson stayed in Moscow for property reasons and to protect British and Belgian interests. Since he often had no notification of his status from the US, he acted intuitively, but managed to cope with his duties. Working for the US Embassy when the majority of the staff had been evacuated to Kuybyshev gave Thompson an opportunity to obtain great experience of diplomacy. The second part of the article is devoted to Thompson’s work after the embassy staff returned from Kuybyshev.


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