840.48 Refugees/1–2645: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State

238. In accordance with the wishes expressed in the Department’s 134, January 22, 9 p.m., I have reminded the Foreign Office of the existence of these concentration camps and of the possibility that they may still contain victims of Nazi persecution. I have expressed the War Refugee Board’s interest in the welfare of these persons and in such measures that can be taken for their protection. The Soviet Government has not yet released any information concerning the civilian populations of the areas covered by their recent advances and it is obvious that this question is regarded for the time being as a military secret. In no case furthermore has the Soviet Foreign Office been willing to my knowledge to divulge information of this sort. I doubt whether the Soviet military authorities make any discrimination between Jews and others in such records as they may make of civilians liberated by their advance. Furthermore when we inquired last September about the Jews in Lodz, the Foreign Office replied that it was unable to give us any information on that question and referred [Page 1128] us to the Polish National Committee of Liberation.23 I have no doubt that a similiar attitude will be taken in the present instance.

As the Department will note from the Embassy’s 4730, December 9, 11 p.m., and 5059, December 30, 2 p.m.,24 the Embassy has made every effort to obtain information on the fate of the Jews in Russian controlled territories. As soon as the Polish authorities have had an opportunity to establish their administration in the recently liberated territories and to find out what has gone on there, we will not fail to exploit every possibility for obtaining similar information with regard to those territories.

  1. By a decree of July 21, 1944, a Polish National Committee of Liberation was formed which subsequently became known as the “Lublin Committee”. Regarding the establishment of this Committee, see telegram 2736, July 24, 1944, from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 1425.
  2. Neither printed.