361.1115 Robinson, Donald L./5: Telegram

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

320. 1. Vinogradov informed Ward at 5:00 o’clock this evening that the Foreign Office had thus far not obtained any information regarding the whereabouts of the Robinsons but were still making investigations. In reply to a query he said that the Foreign Office was not as yet in possession of the data relating to the Robinsons’ passport. Arrangements have been made with the Foreign Office to keep in contact with it tomorrow even though tomorrow is a free day.

2. The hotel director this evening categorically refused to furnish the Embassy any passport data and stated that the Robinsons have departed, and that he could not furnish any other information regarding them.

3. This morning I sent a personal letter to Weinberg expressing the Embassy’s appreciation of the efforts which the Soviet authorities are making in order to ascertain the facts in the case. This letter contained the following:

“It hardly seems necessary for me to repeat here the statement which I made to you orally yesterday that I refuse to accept the theory advanced in certain non-Soviet quarters that Mr. Robinson and perhaps Mrs. Robinson have been arrested. I am sure that the Soviet Government would not permit Soviet officials to fail to observe the undertakings made by Mr. Litvinov in his note to the President of the United States on November 16, 1933 to the effect that in case American citizens should be arrested in capital cities of the Soviet Union representatives [Page 501] of the American Government would be notified within three times 24 hours.”

4. Thus far the Embassy has accepted at face value the statements of various Soviet officials to the effect that they are searching for the Robinsons but have not been able to find them. These officials must of course be aware that we know that the Soviet Government is fully cognizant of the whereabouts of the missing persons and I feel that unless some information concerning them is forthcoming within the next 3 days we should take steps to bring the matter to an issue.

5. I would appreciate it if the Department would inform the Embassy whether it is in possession of evidence indicating that the passports held by the Robinsons had been obtained fraudulently or that they are not American citizens. The Embassy telegraphed the Embassy at Warsaw yesterday requesting it to obtain for us through the Polish Government information as to whether the Robinsons crossed the Polish-Soviet border en route for the Soviet Union in the early part of November and ascertain if there were any records of their returning to Poland from the Soviet Union. In case the Soviet Government endeavors to deny that they have been in the Soviet Union I assume that the Department will approve my sending telegrams to our missions in other bordering countries regarding assistance in checking the movements of the missing persons.

6. I propose on December 14, unless the desired information is forthcoming by that date, to request an interview with Litvinov or in case he is unavailable (Litvinov has not been receiving foreign diplomats for the last week) to Potemkin and to state orally as follows:

My Government has instructed me to state that it is not satisfied with the cooperation which the Embassy is receiving from the Soviet authorities in its endeavor to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing persons.
My Government is satisfied that with the apparatus which the Soviet Government has at its possession it should with no difficulty be able to follow the movements of the persons in question.
As an illustration of the failure of the Soviet authorities to cooperate with the Embassy in solving the mysterious disappearance of the two persons my Government has requested me to point out that apparently the hotel authorities have received instructions from some source to withhold from the Embassy the passport data of the missing couple.
My Government has directed me to request the Soviet Government without further delay to furnish the Embassy all the information at its disposal regarding the travel documents, movements, and whereabouts of the missing persons.

7. I would appreciate receiving the Department’s approval of my proposal.