740.00116 European War 1939/1409a: Telegram

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

937. From War Refugee Board.51 With reference to the statement made by the President52 (Department’s 699, March 2450) the British Government, in a reaffirmation of its attitude toward the Nazi war crimes and atrocities, directed that the BBC report the President’s statement fully in all languages. Subsequently, on March 30, Mr. Eden, in the House of Commons,53 reiterated the position of the British Government with regard to these crimes.

You are requested to approach the appropriate authorities of the Soviet Union and ascertain whether, in view of the positive action taken by the British Government, the Soviet Government would take similar action and issue a statement expressing its attitude concerning the crimes and atrocities of the Nazis. It is felt by the Department that such action on the part of the Soviet Government would have a most profound and important effect upon the leaders and peoples of Rumania and Hungary.

Please report the result of your discussions concerning this matter.54 [War Refugee Board.]

  1. Established on January 22, 1944, by Executive Order 9417 (see 9 Federal Register 935, and Department of State Bulletin, January 22, 1944, p. 95), composed of the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, and of War, and a full time Director of the Board.
  2. March 24, 1944, vol. i, p. 1230.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th series, vol. 398, col. 1562.
  5. Ambassador Harriman informed the Department in telegram 1395, April 22, 1944, that he had inquired of Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyshinsky on the day before “whether the Soviet Government would issue a statement expressing its attitude concerning Nazi atrocities.” Vyshinsky had replied that his Government “had frequently expressed its position on this subject,” but that he would personally study the matter. (740.00116 European War 1939/1406) At this time the Soviet press was often publishing in detail the reports of the Extraordinary State Commission of its investigations of Nazi atrocities found in regions being regained by the advances of the Soviet Armed Forces.