Memorandum by Mr. Richard W. Flournoy of the Office of the Legal Adviser to the Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Bohlen)

Proposed Deportation to Russia of Victor A. Kravchenko

Mr. Bohlen: There seems to be nothing to show that Kravchenko has committed any offense against the United States which makes him subject to deportation under the Immigration laws. As to the question of his deportation to Russia on account of the recent termination, through his resignation, of his status as a Soviet official, attention is called to the provision of Section 15, Immigration Act of 1924, as amended by the acts of July 1, 1932 and July 1, 1940. This provision is quoted in the second paragraph of the attached letter of April 8, 1944 from the Attorney General.12 As stated therein, Kravchenko cannot be required to depart from the United States (i.e., on account of the termination of his official status) “without the approval of the Secretary of State”.

In his annual message to Congress of December 2, 1851, President Fillmore, referring to the Hungarian patriot, Louis Kossuth said: “This country has been justly regarded as a safe asylum for those whom political events have exiled from their homes in Europe.” (6 Moore Digest of Int. Law 49) This attitude is reflected in the various extradition treaties to which the United States is a party, which contain provisions, with qualifications in some cases, that there shall be [Page 1229] no extradition on account of political offenses (4 Moore Digest of Int. Law, 332, et seq; 4 Hackworth Digest of Int. Law, 45 et seq.)

The above mentioned policy was followed by this Government after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia when it refrained from deporting white Russians to their own country, even though they were subject to deportation thereto under the laws of the United States.

It is inferred from your memorandum of April 17 that you apprehend that Kravchenko would be punished for political reasons if he should be sent to Russia, and the accounts in the newspapers of his resignation appear to support this belief.

Whether, in view of the above, the Secretary of State should inform the Attorney General, in reply to his letter of April 8, that he does not approve of Kravchenko being required to depart from this Country appears to be a question of policy. Considering the plain language of the law, there seems to be no question as to his authority for so doing.

  1. Ante, p. 1224.