361.1115 Robinson, Donald L./1: Telegram

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

317. 1. American journalists informed the Embassy yesterday evening that they had heard a report that an American citizen by the name of Robinson who had been living at the National Hotel had been arrested several days ago.

2. Ward immediately called at the hotel to investigate and found there an American woman who gave her name as Mrs. Donald Louis (Ruth Norma) Robinson, 10 East 48th Street, New York. She said that she and her husband had been in Moscow since November 6th; that he had taken ill in the latter [part?] of November; that on December 2nd he had been taken to a hospital; that she did not know the name of the hospital; and that she had been informed by the hotel officials that she could not go to see him since he was too ill, and had been given to understand that he was in an “iron lung”. The hotel [Page 498] authorities were evasive when Ward endeavored to obtain more information regarding the case and told him that only the director, who was busy at the time, could discuss the matter.

3. Later in the evening Ward and I went together to see the director, but were received by the vice director who not only would not furnish the name of the hospital in question, but would not even give assurances that Robinson was in a hospital. He insisted that the only person who knew anything about Robinson’s whereabouts was an employee not in the hotel at the time.

4. Early this morning we again called at the hotel and learned that Mrs. Robinson also had disappeared. No one in the hotel could tell us where she was or why she had left. They said that they knew nothing except that she had departed with her effects in an unidentified automobile.

5. At my request Ward went immediately to the Foreign Office, told the story to Vinogradov and stated that the Embassy desired to learn today the whereabouts of the two persons. We were promised a reply during the course of the day.

6. At 2 o’clock, in answer to telephone inquiry, Vinogradov said that he had been unable to ascertain from the hotel the whereabouts of the Robinsons and that he was applying to Intourist.58

7. I understand that American journalists, who have not been successful in getting into contact with the missing persons, are reporting that they have mysteriously disappeared.

8. We have thus far not been able to learn anything about the persons in question other than what is stated above. The hotel authorities, who were in possession of their passports, have continuously refused to let us have any passport data.

9. The Embassy will continue to pursue the matter vigorously and to keep the Department advised regarding developments.

  1. All-Union Corporation for Foreign Tourism in the Soviet Union, official travel agency.