361.1115 Robinson, Donald L./86: Telegram

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

28. Your 20, January 24, 7 p.m.

I sent the formal note yesterday to Potemkin who is in charge of the Foreign Office while Litvinov is in Geneva.
Statements made by members of other diplomatic missions tend to show that for some time at least the Soviet authorities have been refusing to permit representatives of foreign governments to visit their nationals in Soviet prisons until after investigations of such nationals have been completed. Although thousands of foreigners have been arrested during the last year, in apparently only a few instances have visits of diplomatic or consular officers been allowed. It seems that even these visits have been permitted only after sentence has been passed or decision to deport has been reached. Permission to interview Hrinkevich was granted apparently only after the Soviet authorities had decided not to put him on trial but to have him deported. See second paragraph of page 4 of Embassy’s despatch No. 774, of November 29, 1937.40
Does the Department desire me to request Soviet authorities to deliver to the Embassy the Robinson passports on the ground that they were fraudulently obtained? Such passports might prove useful in tracing the movements of the former fearers.
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