Council of Foreign Ministers Files: Lot M–88: CFM London Documents

Memorandum by the Soviet Delegation to the Council of Foreign Ministers

C.F.M.(45) 10

Acceleration of the Repatriation of Soviet Nationals

The Soviet Government deem it necessary to point out that the Repatriation Agreements concluded between the Government of the Soviet Union and the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Provisional Government of the French Republic have played a positive role in the matter of repatriation.84 [Page 152] The Soviet Government feel bound also to mention the great help and assistance received from the Allied Military Authorities in repatriating to the Soviet Union a large number of former Soviet prisoners of war and persons forcibly deported by the Germans from the Soviet Union. At the same time the Soviet Government cannot but point out that, according to reports from the Soviet repatriation authorities, cases are occurring of breaches of these Agreements which are giving rise to numerous complaints from Soviet nationals due for repatriation (see Annex). The Soviet Government consider they should once more draw the attention of the Governments of the United Kingdom and United States of America and also of the Provisional Government of France to this situation and to the need for urgent action to accelerate the repatriation of Soviet nationals.

Furthermore, the Soviet Government consider it necessary to draw attention to the following. There are under the control of the British and American authorities a considerable number of Soviet nationals from the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Soviet Socialist Republics and also from the Western provinces of the Ukraine and Byelorussia. The repatriation of these Soviet nationals has been hampered by a number of difficulties, primarily by the obstacles encountered by the Soviet repatriation delegates in visiting these camps.

The Soviet Government would point out that the persons kept in these camps are Soviet nationals to whom the Anglo-Soviet and American-Soviet Repatriation Agreements of 11th February are fully applicable. Quite apart from this, however, the Soviet Government insist on the right of Soviet repatriation delegates to be given unhindered access to these camps in order to clear up with the above-mentioned persons the various points connected with their repatriation.

In order to put an end to the breaches which have occurred in the execution of the Repatriation Agreements and to accelerate the repatriation of Soviet nationals, the Soviet Government suggest the adoption of the following resolution:—

“Having considered the question raised by the Soviet Government of accelerating the repatriation of Soviet nationals, the Council of Foreign Ministers agree that:—

Delay in supplying Soviet repatriation delegates with information about camps in which Soviet nationals are held should be avoided.
Soviet repatriation delegates should be afforded unimpeded access to the above camps.
Soviet nationals should not be kept together with German prisoners of war or under guard of German officers and soldiers.
The anti-Soviet activities conducted in certain camps by White emigres and other persons who have collaborated with the Nazis during the war should be stopped. In particular no toleration should be given to the activities in some camps or groups of Fascists aimed at forcing Soviet nationals to refuse to return home by intimidation and threats of the punishments alleged to be awaiting them on their return to the Soviet Union.”


Annex to the Memorandum on Acceleration of the Repatriation of Soviet Nationals

Zones Controlled by the British Authorities

1. There are some 20,000 Soviet nationals in the territory situated in the area of the British Eighth Corps in Germany in the western restricted zone on the Eiderstadt Peninsula, and some 10,000 Soviet nationals in the eastern restricted zone on the same peninsula north of Neustadt. These Soviet nationals are regarded as prisoners of war and guard duties in these camps are carried out by Germans. Soviet repatriation delegates are not allowed into the camps where these people are kept. Living conditions in the camps are very harsh. There have been cases of armed attacks by Germans on Soviet nationals and anti-Soviet propaganda is carried on.

In a Note of 22nd August, 1945, the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R. made representations to the British Embassy on this subject.

2. In Italy, in the territory under the control of the British Eighth Army, anti-Soviet activities are also being carried on at points where Soviet nationals are concentrated. Numerous examples of such activities were given in the Notes of the Soviet Ambassador in London, dated 3rd and 7th July and 31st August, 1945. Several illegalities committed against nationals of the U.S.S.R. in the territory under the control of the British Eighth Army were mentioned but so far the Soviet Government have received no reply on the merits of the representations thus made.

Zones Under the Control of the U.S.A. Authorities

For a long time the American authorities failed to inform the Soviet repatriation delegates of the existence in Germany and Austria, in the zones controlled by the American authorities (in Landau, Munich, Nuremberg, Salzburg and other towns) of 36 camps containing over 48,000 Soviet nationals—Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, [Page 154] Ukrainians and Byelorussians, who are being subjected to propaganda conducted by various groups hostile to the Soviet Union and aimed at inducing them to refuse to return home. Up to the middle of August, 1945, Soviet representatives had no access to these camps.
For a long time the American authorities in the United States of America failed to inform the Soviet repatriation delegates of the existence of a camp for Soviet nationals at Fort Dix. Soviet representatives only learned of the existence of this camp in connection with an incident which occurred there, in the course of which the camp guards used tear-gas and fire-arms against Soviet nationals with the result that several of the latter were wounded. Despite repeated approaches on this matter made by the U.S.S.R. Embassy in Washington to the State Department, Soviet representatives were not allowed to join in investigating the circumstances of this incident.
It has recently been learnt that in Mond See near Salzburg, in the American-occupied zone of Austria, there is a so-called “Committee of Non-Return”, the purpose of which is to prevent Soviet nationals from returning home. This “Committee” furnishes Soviet nationals with “Stateless” documents issued in the office of the Burgomaster. These documents are stamped by the American Commandant.

Zones Under the Control of the French Authorities

On 20th August, Major-General Vikhorev, Soviet repatriation delegate, in conjunction with the Military Attaches in Switzerland of the United Kingdom, the U.S.A. and France, discovered the existence of a camp of Soviet nationals in the area of the First French Army near Felke on the border of the Principality of Liechtenstein. The French authorities had not informed the Soviet repatriation delegates of the existence of this camp, and, further, Lieut-Colonel Fichelier, the officer in charge of camps in this zone, refused General Vikhorev’s request for admission to the above-mentioned camp on the grounds that he had no instructions from Paris.
In the First French Army area in Germany, individuals and groups of White émigrés hostile to the Soviet Union are engaging in activities designed to prevent the return home of Soviet nationals. The local French authorities are doing nothing to stop these activities.
In spite of repeated protests from the Soviet repatriation delegates, the French military authorities continue to retain Soviet nationals in the service of the French Legion. Thus, the Soviet representatives removed 19 Soviet nationals from the 13th Brigade de Legionnaires stationed at Meaux (44 kilometres east of Paris). Their evidence shows that in this Brigade there are over one hundred Soviet nationals registered as Poles, Czechs, Yugoslavs, etc. In Bordeaux in another French Legion unit there are from 15 to 20 Soviet nationals. On 23rd May, 1945 a Soviet national, Ivan Snigir, having [Page 155] no desire to serve in the Legion unit which was quartered in Fort St. Nicholas, Marseilles, attempted to escape but was caught and beaten up by a Legion guard. When a Soviet officer, Major Shakhov arrived at the Legion barracks to examine Ivan Snigir and draw up an affidavit, he was refused these facilities by the officer commanding, Captain de Lacourienne and the Legion medical officer.
  1. On February 11, 1945, at Yalta, representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union concluded an Agreement Relating to Prisoners of War and Civilians Liberated by Forces Operating Under Soviet Command and Forces Operating Under United States Command; for text, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 985. Similar agreements were concluded between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union on February 11, 1945, and between France and the Soviet Union on June 29, 1945. For additional documentation regarding the treatment and reciprocal repatriation of American and Soviet prisoners of war and interned civilians liberated by Allied forces, see vol. v, pp. 1067 ff.