361.11/3701: Telegram

The Minister in Norway (Schmedeman) to the Secretary of State

12. Referring to the Department’s cable number 13, April 5, 5 p.m. Nansen telegraphed Chicherin99 April 7th as follows:

“Present American Government has requested me to try to obtain an agreement with you about release of American citizens in Russia. I hope you will now be able to allow all Americans leave Russia, in which case, I feel certain it will be possible to bring all Russians you desire back from United States. I am able inform you that prison sentences against Russian Communists have recently been greatly commuted. I can now send you new lists of Americans known to be in Russia whose release is desired. Would be much obliged for answer at your earliest convenience in order inform American Government.”

Yesterday the following reply was received:

“April 9th. Thanks for friendliness. Our Government always glad to enjoy your cooperation but as for American Government we will wait until it enters itself into negotiations with our Government upon matter referred to in your radio. American consul has communicated with Litvinov in another matter. We cannot see why he should not enter into negotiations reciprocal repatriation.”

[Page 794]

Nansen says France was treated in about the same manner. He had been promised the release of all French in Russia but they were not released and negotiations were conducted through a French official owing to Russian insistence and the French Government at once stated that its fleet would bombard the towns on the Black Sea if the persons retained were not forthcoming immediately. As a result all were promptly released.

  1. George V. Chicherin, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.