361.11/3527: Telegram

The Chargé in Norway (Curtis) to the Secretary of State

55. Your telegram number 32, September 24th, 6 p.m. A reply to your 30, September 13th, 3 p.m.75 has been delayed a few days [Page 684] owing to Doctor Nansen’s desire to obtain confirmation in writing of assurances given him in Russia; this has not yet been received. He believes the chances of success excellent in the present circumstances although he feels sure that results would be obtained more quickly by direct negotiations between an American official and a representative of the Soviets.

He sees no objection at present to the route through Finland which is that now used by returning French prisoners but suggests sending no funds until the departure of the Americans is certain.

On his last trip to Russia he went to Kovno only, where he met Eiduck who has charge of questions as to the departure of foreigners. The latter said that all the Americans would be permitted to leave Russia if all Russians were permitted to leave the United States but refused to confirm this in writing because he was corresponding with Lenin and Tchitcherin and wished them to approve his letter beforehand. Kalamatiano was not mentioned in this connection but Nansen feels practically certain that he will not be executed and when he mentioned his repatriation it was not definitely refused although Eiduck complained of the retention of Russians in the United States saying “some of our very good men are in prison there.” He added that there were about a thousand Russians whom it was desired to bring; Nansen suggested that Soviets charter a steamer to repatriate Russians now in the United States saying that he would charter the vessel if the funds were sent to him; if a ship is secured he recommends that our Government advertise throughout the United States that any Russian so desiring may leave by it. He believes that his work will be greatly assisted if he is able to state that every Russian now in prison for no crime more serious than the dissemination of propaganda will be permitted to depart in this way and requests such authorization if possible.

He feels confident that he can secure the departure of most if not all of the Americans before very long even without the aforesaid authorization. He hopes to remain here for 10 days and has now no definite plans thereafter.

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