711.94114 Mail/40: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman )

267. United States Post Office Department has made arrangements with Air Transport Command of United States Army for American prisoner of war and civilian internee mails for the Far East to be carried by air to Teheran from which point Teheran postal authorities state mails will be forwarded by surface means. (Embassy’s 2236, December 15, 1943).55 This route will now be used instead of the [Page 1160] route via Intercross56 in Geneva which in past has forwarded mail via Basel, Istanbul, Tiflis, and Siberia. Precise route onward from Teheran is not known but presumably it will be via the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

In view of failure thus far of Soviet Foreign Office to implement agreement of postal authorities of United States and Soviet [Union] to carry prisoner of war mails (not relief supplies) from United States West Coast ports to Vladivostok for onward transmission to Japan, the mechanics of onward transmission from Teheran are being left to the postal authorities and should not be discussed with the Soviet Foreign Office unless question is raised by it in which event Embassy should emphasize that exchange of prisoner of war and civilian internee mail has been in accordance with terms of Geneva Convention.57 (Department’s 726, August 20).58

Repeat request for urgent consideration of matters set forth in Department’s 1357, December 7;59 726, August 20; and 617, July 28.60

  1. Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, p. 828.
  2. International Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland.
  3. International convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, signed at Geneva on July 27, 1929; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1929, vol. i, pp. 336367, particularly section IV, articles 35–41, pp. 345346.
  4. Ibid., 1943, vol. iii, p. 814.
  5. Ibid., p. 826.
  6. Ibid., p. 807.