361.1121 Nordeen, Hjalmar S./4

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

No. 1565

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the alleged arrest in the Soviet Union of Hjalmar Sixten Nordeen, which was the subject of the Embassy’s telegram No. 301 of November 24, 1937.49

The Embassy has not received any official Soviet confirmation of the arrest of Mr. Nordeen, but a letter dated July 15, 1938, a copy in translation of which is enclosed,49 has been received from Mr. Hans Altmann, Platanenallee 2, Charlottenburg, 9, Germany, in which he states that in March 1938 he met Mr. Nordeen in one of the cells of a Moscow prison and that Mr. Nordeen informed him that he (Nordeen) is charged with espionage against the Soviet Union in the interests of Finland; that the charges are groundless and are unsupported by any evidence. Mr. Nordeen requested Mr. Altmann to advise his wife, Mrs. Helvi Lahti Nordeen, Box 238, Troy, New Hampshire, that he is in good health.

The Embassy does not feel that any favorable results would be obtained by requesting information from the Soviet authorities concerning the charges upon which Mr. Nordeen is being detained or for permission for an officer of the Embassy to interview him as suggested [Page 723]in the Department’s telegram No. 187 of December 3, 1937,50 since Mr. Nordeen is considered by the Soviet Government to have acquired Soviet citizenship in conformity with its citizenship laws.

However, the Embassy is endeavoring to assist Mr. Nordeen by including his name in lists periodically submitted to the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of Soviet spouses of American citizens who desire to depart from the Soviet Union and proceed to the United States in the company of or following to join the American spouse.51

Respectfully yours,

For the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim:
A. I. Ward

Chief of Consular Section

[See despatch No. 1613, August 31, 1938, from the Chargé in the Soviet Union, page 660, for the disappearance and presumed arrest of Elmer J. Nousiainen, and for the questioning of other persons by Soviet authorities after leaving the American Embassy in Moscow.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Ante, p. 497.
  4. In despatch No. 310, February 13, 1940, the Chargé reported to the Department that the Embassy had been unable “to obtain any definite information from the Soviet authorities regarding the detention of Mr. Nordeen until a representative of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics informed a member of the Embassy staff orally on October 27, 1939 that Hjalmar Sixten Nordeen died on October 25, 1938 in one of the northern regions of the Soviet Union” (361.1121 Nordeen, Hjalmar S./6).