The Acting Secretary of State to the Commissioner at Vienna ( Halstead )
402. Your 233, June 15, 6 p.m.
1. You may say to Chancellor Renner that this Government completely fails to understand the reply communicated by him to you as a reflection of Bolshevik opinion regarding Americans in Russia. The Soviet regime deliberately refuse information as to the fate of Americans in Russia, prevent the departure of some and arbitrarily arrest others with the sole aim of using them as hostages to force this Government into direct negotiations from which general political advantages are expected. The case of Lambie67 and his wife and others are plain examples of such action, that of Mrs. Doty being particularly flagrant. No similar instances can be cited on the part of this Government. On the contrary, its procedure with regard to undesirable aliens in the United States is in conspicuous contrast with the treatment accorded Americans in Russia, in that it deports such persons as may be held to be undesirable, which procedure can in no way be compared to the forcible detention of foreigners who wish to depart.
Furthermore, the usual rules governing the departure of aliens from the United States, namely, that they present a passport issued by a recognized government, have been notably modified especially for the benefit of Russians of Communist sympathies, desiring to leave the United States and proceed to Soviet Russia, who are permitted to leave on the presentation of an affidavit of nationality and identity. Under this plan 500 to 600 Russians now leave this country every month.
It is also to be remarked that no nationals of a third country have been detained or arrested by the United States Government simply because of their having been employed in an institution maintained in this country by the Moscow regime, as has been the case with Mrs. Kennedy and the Misses Sante and Loviaguine, formerly employed by the American Embassy and Consulate, who are respectively of British, Finnish and Polish nationality. Allegation is made that certain Americans are “exceedingly guilty of aiding and abetting Russian reactionaries.” This Government is at present aware of only one American, namely, Xenophon Kalamatiano, so accused, and in its opinion, the charges against him are false. Furthermore, the conditions of his detention for the past year and a [Page 676] half have been so clearly those of intentional starvation and deliberately inflicted mental anguish that the punishment has been out of all proportion to the flimsy nature of the charges against him.
It is believed that if the attitude of this Government with respect to the departure of Russian subjects from the United States is made clear to the Soviet administration, they will, doubtless, reciprocate by permitting the departure of these American citizens.
2. You will note that the foregoing contains nothing as to Department’s action in case Bolsheviki maintain their attitude expressed in your telegram. Telegraph your recommendations.
- W. J. Lambie, dentist, detained in Russia.↩