124.613/853: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Henderson) to the Secretary of State

343. 1. Following is for Surgeon General Parran, Public Health Service, from Rumreich:

“Will you authorize the shipment of my household goods as baggage to nearest port of departure of American vessels if the Chargé d’Affaires considers it advisable to resort to this method of their [Page 457]removal? I am being delayed here indeterminately by the dilatory and obstructionist tactics of irresponsible and obstinate Soviet bureaucrats who thus far have refused to permit me to take out most of my personal effects without the payment of export duty much higher than what I paid for them in the United States. Please reply only in code through the Secretary of State”. [Rumreich.]

2. Although customs authorities finally consented to inspecting Rumreich’s effects at his apartment, they have thus far refused to give permission for him to take most of them out of the country without the payment of extremely high export duties. Over a week ago I wrote a strong note on the subject to the Foreign Office and almost every day since the early part of the month members of the Embassy staff have taken some step or other in an endeavor to obtain the release of the goods in question. The Foreign Office apparently is trying in a timid manner to help us. The customs authorities, however, are openly treating the representatives of the Foreign Office with contempt and have thus far refused to accept Rumreich’s statements, in some cases backed by documentary evidence, regarding the origin of his effects.

3. I feel that Rumreich should refuse to pay any export duty whatsoever on goods introduced into the country by him or to pay any fees for the appraisal of such goods by the Soviet authorities. I feel furthermore that the Embassy should demand the return of appraisal fees of 3 per cent of the value which he has already been compelled to pay upon such goods. Unless the Embassy can prevail upon the pertinent authorities to accept Doctor Rumreich’s statements, I may find it necessary to call upon the Department to assist us by making strong representations to the Soviet Embassy in Washington since the Foreign Office here seems to have little influence.6

Henderson
  1. The Chargé reported in telegram No. 4, January 8, 1938, 1 p.m., that the Soviet customs authorities “finally issued the export permit” for Dr. Rumreich’s effects on January 5, 1938 (124.613/856).