11 March 1975* (547-A) Matzo

KGB memorandum from Andropov, copy for Chernenko. Confiscation of matzo in parcels sent from abroad. [Russian: 11 March 1975, 547-A]


For Comrade K.U. Chernenko only [1]


The agreement of the CPSU Central Committee has been obtained,
reports Comrade Galkin, V.E., 1 Sector of CPSU Central Committee General Department [dated & signed] 12 March 1975   LAPTEV

Copy No 2

To CPSU Central Committee

On the confiscation of parcels containing matzo, sent to the USSR
by Zionist organisations abroad

11 March 1975
N 547-A

Zionist circles in Western countries and in Israel, are taking advantage of the forthcoming religious festival of Jewish Passover [paskha] (27 March this year) to organise a mass despatch to USSR of parcels with matzo (ritual Passover food) with the purpose of inflaming nationalistic feeling among Soviet citizens of Jewish origin. [2]

Several thousand parcels have already piled up in Odessa, Riga, Lvov and certain other towns and cities across the USSR, addressed as a rule to individuals known for their nationalistic and pro-Israeli feelings.

From previous years’ experience we know that the delivery of the parcels to these individuals evokes negative processes among the Jewish population of the USSR, strengthening nationalist feeling and a desire to emigrate.

Taking this into account, and also that Jewish religious communities are currently fully supplied with matzo baked locally, the Committee for State Security considers it necessary to confiscate the parcels with matzo arriving from abroad. [Added by hand: with the exception of parcels sent by private individuals to private individuals living in the USSR.]

In this connection it would seem expedient to instruct the USSR Ministry for Foreign Trade and the Ministry for Communications to issue the corresponding instructions to foreign trade bodies and postal services.

The agreement of the Ministry for Foreign Trade (Comrade Kuzmin, M.P.) and the Ministry for Communications (Comrade Shamin V.A.) has been secured.

A draft Decision of the CPSU Central Committee is attached.

We ask for your consideration of this request.

Chairman of the Committee for State Security




1. Konstantin Chernenko was a full member of the Central Committee; in 1978 he was made a full (voting) member of the Politburo, ranking second after Brezhnev. In 1984-1985 he would briefly serve as Soviet leader (head of the CPSU) between Andropov and Gorbachev.

2. When this decision was discussed and taken the USSR had been involved in negotiations with 34 European and North American States for almost two years over the international agreement ratified in August 1975 as the Helsinki Accords.


  • 1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  • 2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
  • 3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been inserted in a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, John Crowfoot