711.94114 Mail/5–345: Telegram

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

1451. ReDeptel 913, April 19, 6 p.m. Clubb reports following data regarding routes used by Soviets in forwarding POW mail to Japan:

All available information indicates that since November 9, 1941, there has been no traffic by sea between Primore (district of which Vladivostok is capital) and Japan. Only exceptions are cases such as trip last March of Soviet SS Bistri to Japan to take off survivors of wreck [“] COZ–28,” and visit last November of Jap SS Hakusan Maru to Nakhodka to load relief supplies.

Reports also are in agreement that rail traffic into Manchuria via Voroshilov and Pogranichnaya46 was suspended long before outbreak of European war in 1939. To Clubb’s direct question on this subject, diplomatic agent at Vladivostok47 stated there is no mail or other traffic via that route.

Only other route considered is that by rail from Chita and Otpor into Manchuria. When question of forwarding five sacks POW mail was discussed last January between Diplomatic Agent and Clubb (reEmbtel 512, February 22, 6 p.m.) Agent indicated the mail would probably go via Chita and Otpor unless taken by another vessel [Page 1062] designated to load relief supplies. When no such vessel arrived subsequent inquiry elicited information the mail had been forwarded but the agent did not know by what route. He presumed however it had been shipped by rail via Chita.

The agent has given impression there naturally would normally be no regular mail except diplomatic handled via Chita–Otpor route. Clubb states it seems reasonably evident that this route which was used in previous shipment of POW mail would be used again for any future shipment.48

  1. Pogranichnaya (Suifenho), at the eastern end of the former Chinese Eastern Railway, was near the Manchurian border opposite Grodekovo in the Soviet Union.
  2. Semen Petrovich Dyukarev until July 2 when he was replaced by Dmitry Mikhailovich Ryzhkov, Representative of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union at Vladivostok.
  3. In telegram 2954, August 18, 6 p.m., Ambassador Harriman reported that the Foreign Office had notified him that 15 tons of POW parcels were delivered on August 3 by the Soviet Conshil at Manchuriya station to the Japanese Consul there, delivery being made on the basis of a warrant issued to the latter by Dr. Marcel Junod, the International Red Cross representative at Otpor. (711.94114–Supplies/8–1845)