In February 1946 the State Department, at the request of the Treasury Department, asked the US Embassy in Moscow to explain the 'incomprehensible Soviet unwillingness' to adhere to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Ambassador Averell Harriman already had left and the Deputy Chief of Mission, George Kennan, replied with the longest telegram in history, some 19 pages. A single brief message would, he felt, be a dangerous degree of over-simplification. Kennan had already tendered his resignation in frustration over much incomprehension in Washington, but had to wait till the new ambassador would arrive. The telegram gave him as No. 2 the unusual opportunity to summarise his experience of two postings in Moscow. He used it to explain the background and main features of the Soviet post-war outlook and their projection not only on official policy but also on policy implemented through 'front' organisations and stooges of all sorts. Willem van Eeklen revisits it as an object lesson for the 21st century.