711.94114 Mail/3–345: Telegram

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

617. ReDepts 2694, November 17, 8 p.m.42 We have finally received a reply from the Foreign Office dated March 1 to our request [Page 1058] that prisoner of war mail be transported by plane via Alaska. The Foreign Office note states that the appropriate Soviet authorities are prepared so far as possible to meet the desire of the American Government for the transmission of mail for American prisoners of war and civilian internees in Japan by airplanes dispatched from the United States to the Soviet Union through Alaska. Unfortunately, however, the interested Soviet authorities do not think it is possible at present to forward such mail “more or less frequently” since these planes are used primarily for the transportation of urgently needed military supplies and Government mail. In these circumstances and in view of the fact that flights on this route are made irregularly, mail for American prisoners of war in Japan from the United States can be transported on these planes at irregular intervals only, and by agreement in each individual case.

The note makes no reference to our parallel request that prisoner of war mail from Japan to the United States be carried by eastbound planes which transport Soviet ferry pilots to the United States.