The Chief of Staff of the Army (Marshall) to the Chief of the United States Military Mission in the Soviet Union (Deane)68

War 47058. Please deliver the following message from the President to Marshal Stalin69 at once and also deliver a copy of it to Admiral Archer70 for transmission by him to Mister Churchill.71

I have reliable information regarding the difficulties which are being encountered in collecting, supplying and evacuating American ex-prisoners of war and American aircraft crews who are stranded east of the Russian lines. It is urgently requested that instructions be issued authorizing ten American aircraft with American crews to operate between Poltava and places in Poland where American ex-prisoners of war and stranded airmen may be located. This authority is requested for the purpose of providing supplementary clothing, medical and food supplies for all American soldiers, to evacuate stranded aircraft crews and liberated prisoners of war, and especially to transfer the injured and sick to the American hospital at Poltava. I regard this request to be of the greatest importance not only for humanitarian reasons but also by reason of the intense interest of the American public in the welfare of our ex-prisoners of war and stranded aircraft crews. Secondly on the general matter of prisoners of war in Germany I feel that we ought to do something quickly. The number of these prisoners of war, Russian, British and [Page 1073] U.S., is very large. In view of your disapproval of the plan we submitted72 what do you suggest in place of it?

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.
  2. Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union.
  3. Rear Adm. Ernest Russell Archer, Head of the British Military Mission to the Soviet Union.
  4. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  5. The efforts by Major General Deane to implement a plan to dispatch small teams of American officers to liberated Poland to contact and collect American prisoners of war are described in John R. Deane, The Strange Alliance: The Story of Our Efforts at Wartime Co-Operation With Russia (New York, The Viking Press, 1947), pp. 194–201.