Memorandum by the Acting Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Atherton)

Please note the attached telegram to Kuibyshev.49 It is doubted that the Soviet Government will permit Major Szymanski to enter the Soviet Union as Liaison Officer between the Polish forces in the Soviet Union and the American Army. We know from experience that the Soviet Government is suspicious of any project which involves an American Army officer engaging in any traveling in the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, since the Army is anxious that Szymanski should spend some time with the Polish high command in Kuibyshev and the Polish troops in the Soviet Union, we have decided that we should not refuse to refer the matter to the Soviet Government.

The draft of this telegram has been read to Colonel Guenther50 of Military Intelligence who has been handling the matter in the War Department and he has approved of the proposed status defined in it of Szymanski.

It is believed that formal permission should be asked of the Soviet authorities in a matter of this kind before an application is made for a visa.51

R[ay] A[therton]
  1. Supra.
  2. Col. Gustav B. Guenther.
  3. Efforts to secure an entry permit for Major Szymanski to enter the Soviet Union were unsuccessful, and in telegram No. 231, May 16, 9 p.m. (not printed), the Department concurred in the Ambassador’s proposal in telegram No. 393, May 12 (not printed), to inform Molotov that “we have withdrawn our proposal to assign Szymanski as liaison officer with the Polish forces in Russia in favor of his suggestion that such liaison be maintained by the American and Polish Military Attachés, adding that in this connection we assume that our Military Attaché will be permitted to accompany his Polish colleague from time to time When the latter visits the Polish forces.” (740.0011 European War 1939/21561)