740.62114/7–2545: Telegram

No. 1165
The Ambassador in Italy (Kirk) to the Acting Secretary of State

secret

3062. We have read telegram in Broad’s office from British Delegate Potsdam stating that at close July 23 [22] session Big Three meeting, Molotov complained to Eden about British POW camp Italy at Cesenatico near Ravenna where British had informed Russian representatives there were only 150 Soviet citizens held as POWs. Soviet ForMin added that when Russian officials arrived visit camp they discovered there were 10,000 Ukrainian citizens there who were being interviewed by Polish consular officials in Italy while Soviet officers were kept out. These Ukrainians were men who [Page 1164]had been organized into division of 12 regiments under officers who had served German Army. 665 of them indicated to Russian officers they wished return Soviet Union. Understood that both Eden and Churchill expressed doubt these were facts of case but promised Molotov they would have report made immediately and inform him soon as complete information received.1

General Morgan cabled Potsdam in following sense: Approximately 10,000 personnel in this camp present in process being screened by USSR Mission Rome who have full access to camp. People involved mostly non-Soviet Ukrainians and include numbers Poles who, so far as can be ascertained, were not domiciled east 1939 USSR frontier. He added negotiations already under way return to Russia 665 persons referred to and be ready hand over to Russians any more who will go without use force. Morgan reminded British Delegate Potsdam he has sought urgently required ruling by British War Office as to what to be done with those people for whom use force would be necessary. He also explained that British had retained original regimental troops under their own generals for administrative reasons only.2

Kirk
  1. See ante, p. 259.
  2. Churchill made a statement along these lines at the Eighth Plenary Meeting, July 24. See ante, p. 367.